Artist Spotlight

Connor Harris

Compositor | Lost Boys Alumni 2020

Demo Reel

What inspired you to pursue VFX/Compositing?

What inspired me to pursue compositing was leaving the movie theater when I was a kid and being blown away by the visuals I was seeing on the screen. After I would watch a cool movie like Star Wars that I knew couldn’t exist in real life, I would always be so fascinated as to how the illusion of a visual effect was made. As I got older, I realized visual effects wasn’t just a bunch of computer scientists typing in 1’s and 0’s until a final image came out, it was an art form that anybody with a passion for could pursue. After this realization, I decided that I wanted to help bring the same feelings I had and still have watching movies to other people across the world.

What was the most challenging part of learning Compositing?

I would say the most challenging part about learning compositing is the fact that almost every shot you work on is different than every shot you have worked on in the past. Even though some shots might be very similar, every individual shot you work on is going to have it’s own unique problems that you have never come across before. While this can be intimidating at times, it is also what can make compositing so rewarding. Knowing how tough it was to solve a certain problem, but then seeing your final shot that sells the illusion that what you did is real is one of the most gratifying feelings in the world.

What is something you wish more people knew more about VFX/VFX Artists or Compositors/Compositing?

I wish that people understood the work that goes into creating what they see on screen when they are watching something. Hopefully if the compositor does their job right, the audience will never know that anything was done to that shot, and that it actually looked that way in camera. Because of this, VFX artists never get enough credit when the VFX in a show are good, but get all of the hate when the effects are bad. If more people understood what went into creating the VFX for their favorite show or movie, they would understand just how much work it takes for the audience to hopefully not know VFX even exists in the shot.

What is visual effects to you?

To me, visual effects as a whole is a storytelling. A vast majority of movies today would not be able to be made without visual effects. Even movies that you would never call “visual effects movies” almost always have some sort of visual effects in them one way or another. A good example of this would be a film or TV show that takes place in a different period of time. These are almost always visual effects intensive and have lots of set extensions and different effects in them that help sell the fact that it is set in a different time period. These movies would not be able to be made the way that they are without visual effects in them, even if they might be invisible to the audience, and the stories being told would not be the same.

What was unique about your experience with Lost Boys in comparison to your previous education?

Lost Boys was hands down the best educational experience of my life. I joined Lost Boys right after high school instead of going the traditional route of going to a university to get a degree in film or VFX. Knowing what I know now about the industry, I can easily say this was the best decision I could have ever made for my career. Having a specialized area of study for an entire year is what sets Lost Boys graduates apart from the rest. I learned all of the in’s and out’s about compositing from my amazing instructors at school. What I learned at Lost Boys had me more than prepared to enter the industry as a junior compositor.

What do you enjoy most about working in visual effects?

My favorite part of working in visual effects has to be the payoff of seeing the final version of your shot, knowing just how much work it took you to get it to that point. Aside from seeing your final version on the big screen, the work itself is also very satisfying. No matter what department you are working in, VFX requires constant problem solving. Coming across a complex problem in one of your shots and then solving it is such a great feeling.

If there is one piece of advice you can give to people who want to pursue a career in visual effects, what would it be?

The one piece of advice I would give to people wanting to learn visual effects is to not be too hard on yourself. You are going to make countless mistakes on your journey of learning VFX. That may sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually the best way you can learn something as complex as VFX. If you are too hard on yourself when you make a mistake instead of learning from it, it will slow you down tremendously in the long run. VFX can be difficult yet very rewarding work.

Thank you, Connor! Check out his demo reel.

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