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September/October 2021

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then, but those people I met the first day would turn out to be my role models and life-long friends. CVD VFX continued to grow, and we eventually made the move to a larger studio space. From there the team ex- panded, and so did the scope and quality of the work. It wasn't long before we'd once again outgrown our new studio space and made yet another move. At this point, we were beginning to feel like a real VFX studio, but the com- pany still maintained its small-family feel. Not only was the studio growing, but I was also growing as an artist. Working in this tight-knit environment allowed me to not only learn a ton from those around me, but also to showcase some of my own abilities and work my way into a compositing lead position. The little CVD VFX team had grown into an amazing studio and managed to maintain almost its entire core team along the way. During this time I had the opportunity to return to Think Tank Training Centre, only this time I was the one teaching the students. Through teaching and mentoring at TTTC, I could tell I was growing not only as an artist, but also learning the skills to be a better leader and guide for newer artists just entering the industry. I truly believe that teaching is the best way to learn. It defi- nitely forced me to be better. I was steadily working my way towards a supervisor role and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be asked to supervise a small team and project. I was really excited about the opportunity and extremely motivated to do the best job I could. Then March 2020 happened. The COVID-19 pandemic brought not only the film industry, but the entire world to a halt. Within a few days we went from collaborating and creating in the studio all together, to being stuck at home and trying to sort out a work/life balance when our work was now in our home and ever present in our lives. The first project I had the opportu- nity to supervise ended up being done entirely remotely, making it an added challenge and definitely more stressful and consuming than I imagined it would have been in-person. Luckily, we'd built a great team at CVD VFX and were able to successfully deliver the project. Just prior to the work-from-home tran- sition, our CVD VFX family had also been going through a transition. The studio had grown and we were being looked at for a possible acquisition. Eventually, the US-based VFX house Crafty Apes brought CVD on-board to become their Vancouver-based location. Transitioning the entire studio to a new pipeline and studio environment that was entirely remote certainly had its share of challenges, but the teams both worked to create a great environment. It was amazing to look back and see that our tiny janitor's closet office had now grown to become part of an international, multi-studio team. I think back to my first day at CVD and it feels like an entirely-dif- ferent person to who I am now. With all things, growth does not come without change. In this industry it's unusual to stay at one studio for such a long time, and I was feeling like it might be my turn to see what else is out there. My two closest friends at the studio, Camil Adell and Erik Jensen, who I started with at CVD, had both grown into incredible artists and leaders, and were now making the leap to starting their own studio — Outlanders VFX — similar to how Chris had done so in the past. With Erik and Camil moving on, I started to realize the only way to continue to learn and grow in the way I'd hoped to would be to leave the comfort of our team at Crafty Apes. I had been receiving some really-enticing offers, and for the first time in my career, figured I should actually cut together a showreel. Eventually, I ended up having the opportunity to sign on with the incredi- ble team at Weta Digital. Truly a dream come true for me, and an amazing op- portunity to continue to learn and grow as an artist. In writing this piece, I've found myself so thankful for all of the people that have helped mentor and guide me along the way. I truly believe that taking those smaller, albeit riskier positions at smaller, more boutique studios, can allow for incredible opportunities, and I always encourage my students to take the time to seek out something small that aligns with their own wants and needs, rather than chasing the biggest project. You may just find that diamond in the rough. CAREERS 31 POST SEPT/OCT 2021 Conceptual render - shelter - for Jetsam (working title). Conceptual render - Pemberton Station - for Jetsam.

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