Excelling with Keyframes for Success Panel

BFX were kind enough to host us again for a panel at their Festival in Bournemouth in early October!

For those that don’t know, BFX is the UK’s largest visual effects and animation festival with a range of talks from global studios including ILM, Dneg, Pixar, Sony Picture Imageworks and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Our panellists for the session were Lucy Cooper, MD of Union and director of AWUK and ACCESS: VFX; Lucy Wisada, Assistant TD at Framestore; JoAnne Salmon, 2D Animator and Illustrator at LoveLove Films; Shannon Reeve, Production Co-ordinator at LoveLove Films and Natalie McKay, Talent Co-ordinator at Aardman Animations.

With such a variety of roles on the panel, there were plenty of thought-provoking insights. From challenges to career advice to taking advantage of opportunities and imposter syndrome, the ladies explored it all.

In terms of advice for newbies to the industry, Lucy Cooper noted that there “is value in being a runner and doing it well”, as you end up knowing everyone in the studio and if you are professional and good at the job, you will be remembered by all levels of staff.

Another important tidbit for those wanting to progress was to understand your value and prepare evidence for the next position before jumping into a meeting with your line manager!

Most importantly though, if something doesn’t go according to plan in your job applications, or in your career progression – it’s imperative to give yourself some breathing space and to cut yourself some slack.

We asked some of the panellists what they took away from the panel, and they were kind enough to give us some more fascinating morsels of advice!

Lucy Wisada said: “My advice for anyone wanting to enter or who are new to the industry is to stay inquisitive. Learning doesn't stop after university and if you can show that you are adaptive and motivated to pick up new skills then I think that's invaluable. The industry is so exciting, with new technology being developed constantly, that you'll naturally have
curiosity with what currently exists to push the limits of your creativity.”

Shannon added: “My advice for women just entering the industry would be not to feel disheartened, even if you aren't sure quite what you want to go into yet. When you're first starting out, it's the perfect time to try out a range of different things and find out what clicks for you - I did a master's degree because my first degree didn't quite click for me and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

JoAnne also commented: “I appreciated the variety of career paths among the speakers - this serves as a good example and reminder that there is no set path for anybody. You should just find joy in each job opportunity you can get and make the best of any task you are given. You never know where your hidden or unexpected passion might be. It might not be where you first set out to go.”
Lucy Cooper said: “I really enjoyed sharing my story with the audience at BFX. They were really engaged and full of questions on how to navigate the waters towards their dream jobs.

“I think the most valuable advice I was able to offer was to not be too laser focussed on one end point.

“It can feel like the decisions they are making now will be irreversible, but just about everyone I know has had a very windy road to where they are now.

“Being too narrow in your ambitions can make you feel like you’ve failed if you don’t achieve them and also close the door on opportunities that you never knew existed and may turn out to be really up your street.”

Lucy also added some resources that are available:

“Animated Women UK have AWUK-Ed where you can find all sorts of valuable resources as well as a link to join our Facebook group where you can receive advice from established women in the VFX and Animation industries.

“There are also lots of resources at www.accessvfx.org on available apprenticeships, how to find your first role, cv writing and showreel preparation.  They also have a podcast with lots of valuable insight from employees and employers that is well worth a listen.

“You can also get an industry mentor which is an invaluable way to seek support and advice from someone who really knows via Slack.

Thanks again for having us BFX! See you next year!

Written by Carrie Mok

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