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November 2011

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tips One of Divya Gupta's first projects at Pixomondo is the upcoming Hugo. bank's AlphaDogs (, he jumped at the opportunity and began in May 2010. He says, "You learn one thing in the classroom, but seeing the real-world application of those principals solidifies it, and interning did that for me." Intern-friendly AlphaDogs was a perfect place for him to start his journey "It's a small company where you learn the lay of the land while they pick your brain and see what it is you are interested in," explains Morelli. "Then you have the opportunity to shadow people who are working in those aspects of the busi- ness, whether it's sound, graphics, color correcting or editing. That is one of the best ways to learn: following someone who knows what they are doing and who has been doing it for awhile." Morelli points out that he wasn't editing projects on day one… there were some typical intern/gofer requests, which he carried out with a smile. "You do the housekeeping, help maintain the facility and make sure clients are happy. This shows people you have a positive attitude, and you'll gain their trust and be allot- ted greater tasks, like patching and signal flow, or prep- ping items for the editors. We are pretty busy at AlphaDogs, so if you are able to prove yourself, you are presented with plenty of opportunities to learn." Morelli says as you learn the workflow, and it is a gradual progression, you are afforded more and more responsibility. "It's crucial to know the other workflows involved; it helps to facilitate a smoother outcome. If you want to get involved in creative editing, under- standing what goes on in the finishing world saves a lot of money and headaches, and gives you insight into how to prepare your materials." Morelli was hired on full time in September 2010. So after a little over a year as a full-time pro, he recog- nizes that learning is an ongoing process. "Software is always changing; you need to keep learning and read- ing about developments in the industry, following podcasts, attending user groups, doing anything that helps keep you updated in the field. Becoming too comfortable in what you know can lead to stagnation, and holds back growth." His advice for current students: "Never lose focus. If you really want something, you have to be relentless in your pursuit. Rejection will happen, but stay motivated if this is something that you want. Take the time to sharpen your skills outside of your immediate focus, because having a vast understanding of other areas will make you more appealing. Talk to people in the indus- try about how they got to their position. Adding all these things together will help you. And when you are given the opportunity, be prepared to deliver. Remem- ber, people like working with those who not only know their stuff, but also have a great attitude and are nice to be around." DIVYA GUPTA — PIXOMONDO Divya Gupta is currently working as a junior com- positor at Pixomondo ( in Santa Monica, lending her talents to such big-name and diverse titles as Red Tails and Hugo. But her path to this job started a very long way from here. After getting her Bachelors degree in Mass Com- munication from Delhi University in India, she was a production assistant for two years at commercial pro- duction house Elements Production Services in New Delhi. That is where she developed an interest in post. "I did some freelance work and learned 3D and applied for my masters in the United States," she explains. Gupta received her Masters in Animation and Visual Effects from San Francisco's Academy of Art University. After her December 2010 graduation, she applied and received a job at Pixomondo in March of 2011. "When I studied Mass Communication it pre- pared me for what the entire production is all about. We learned everything to do with media and media communications, and when I did my post graduate work, my teachers were professionals working in the for those just starting out It takes more than talent to make it in today's indus- try. You are often in close quarters, on tight dead- lines, with long days and working for those demand- ing the best you can produce. Being able to navigate through the various personalities in a studio and knowing how to deal with clients professionally is just as important. Some recent pros offer up tips from their experiences: KIRILL SMOLSKIY Lighting Technical Assistant DreamWorks Animation, Glendale, CA FILMS: Puss in Boots, currently Madagascar 3 SCHOOL: NYU-SCPS: CADA, Master of Science in Digital Imaging and Design • You you have to fall in love in what you are doing. This will help you to enjoy every moment of the tough studying process. Whether it's late nights, early mornings or even sleepless weekends. • We had an amazing teaching staff at NYU SCPS-CADA. They were great mentors who guided me in the right direction in develop- ing my skills. Still, this time you spend with CG professionals in school is not enough and you can't cover all the aspects of pro- duction pipeline. You have to study a lot yourself. Luckily, there is a limitless resource of tutorials provided by Digital Tutors, Gno- mon Workshop, etc. You can literally study 24/7 either at home or anywhere else. • Being technical is a very big plus for you. All modern production studios are Linux-based and have proprietary tools. So knowing shell scripting and some basic programming will make you stand out from the crowd. • Every major studio requires working experi- ence. You have to find a job related to your field of study as early as possible. It can even be unpaid internship, but this will go as working experience in your resume. This job will also help you to build a professional portfolio and make valuable connections that someday can help you to find a job. • Always set the bar at the maximum height. It may seem crazy, nobody will believe that you are ever going to make it. I bet it would feel good when you exceed everybody's expectations. Post • November 2011 41

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