8 March 2021
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight the career’s of a few of our incredible artists!
Camela & Amandine
From the Surfacing team Camela Cheng and Amandine Comes had a chat about hearing more female stories to inspire younger people to speak up and share their opinions, how the industry has changed throughout Camela’s career and what women bring to the table.
Amandine: What differences do you feel between 2021 and when you started ?
Camela: I started work in the dot.com era when there were no 3D animation courses in Australia. The people I worked with were recruited from the disciplines of architecture, engineering, industrial and graphic design. It was a male dominated industry and most of them were great. Problematic attitudes were always really due to a lack of exposure to working with more women. The women held mostly production roles and it was rare to see a woman at industry conferences. I love that I see more and more women artists in out teams now, as well as in more technical and leadership roles. The men that I’ve worked with over the last 10 years are much more supportive of women and self-aware of their behaviour, but that is not everywhere. These days, there is sometimes an attitude I encounter where women hires get put down to a token gesture for gender equality, rather than based on their merits… so there is still room for improvement. The important thing is that we are moving forward.
Amandine: Have you met a woman who has inspired you in the industry ?
Camela: All the women! The women who triple check their work before asking questions. The women who work twice as hard and still never think they’re good enough. The assertive women who get labelled pushy, bossy or ambitious but are strong enough to struggle on anyway. The mothers who juggle career and family and still produce amazing work. The women who know how to say no. The women who give you a hand up and give you a push when you need it. They all push themselves forward daily and bring us all along with them! The diverse nature of their situations help normalise the many aspects of being a woman and having a career at the same time. Special mention to Avrill Stark who actively recruited and supported women in my first job. Kit Devine, Queen of the DLF and one of the few female voices in the Australian industry for a long time. Also, Mel Jones, who always pushed for more women in our teams at Animal Logic and actively worked to make their voices heard.
Amandine: What do you think women can bring into a male-dominated industry ?
Camela: Perspective and a view of the bigger picture, not just in terms of bringing diversity to the opinions in our work but also to life outside of work, which is important. I feel the more balanced the teams are, the better the atmosphere and work culture for everyone. Balanced teams bring a calmer working environment and more respect in the way teams treat each other and that’s a plus for everyone.
Amandine: What advice would you give to other women hoping to enter the VFX industry?
Camela: I would love to hear more from you, literally! Everyone has their own journey, but something that would have helped me when I was younger was not to be afraid of asking for help or offering an opinion at the risk of appearing stupid. I’d love to hear you speak up because your ideas are just as valid. You bring a valuable fresh energy and perspective so get involved and contribute to making things better for everyone.
(Special thanks to another lovely lady, Olivia Funnel for the photo and edit)
Amandine Comes (left) and Camela Cheng (right)
Terry Lynn & Lauren
Hear from our amazing production coordinator Lauren Boulet talking with Terry Lynn Massey from her team about how Lauren’s developing interest in cinema and patience to ‘go along for the ride’, powered her career journey in the film industry.
Terry Lynn: When did you become a Production Coordinator, and why that role?
Lauren: I’ve been a PC since December of 2019, so just over three years now. I was attracted to the industry because it requires a lot of proactive thinking, long term planning, fun content, and a tangible thing to show for all the hard work at the end. Prior to this I was working in banking and moonlighting as movie theatre manager. This seemed like a perfect blend of worlds.
Terry Lynn: What’s your art background and how has that influenced how you relate to Animal Logic and the CFX/animation industry at large?
Lauren: I graduated in 2011 from the University of Manitoba with an Honours Degree in Fine Arts. I did my thesis in oil painting and minored in Art History. It has helped so much in this industry because I value and understand the artistic process. Good art takes time and passion. Also, artists can have quirky personalities which can be hard to navigate in a professional environment. I’ve never had to worry much about that though, having a little quirkiness myself,
Terry Lynn: Do you have any advice for folks just starting within the production side of the industry?
Lauren: I think watching A LOT of movies in my past really helped. Working at a movie theatre on and off for 7 years really allowed me to see a ton of genres and develop an artistic eye. After a while, you stop being excited about the big name actor in a particular movie and become more excited about the big name cinematographer! I’d also tell someone starting off to be patient and go along for the ride. I started as a Receptionist in one of the big VFX houses here in Vancouver, moved into the Technology Department, and then found my way into a Performance PC role. It wasn’t a clear path but it taught me a lot about the industry and gave me a wonderful understanding of the pipeline, particularly the behind the scenes software and production operations development teams.
Terry Lynn: What are some of the challenges that come with your role? I see you’re very in touch with your team, your team’s work-flow, and with Regis Schuller (Layout Supervisor). You seem very in control (or rather, that you’re very deft with managing such a big pile of variables.) Are there any particular difficulties you’ve had to surmount to help you get to where you are now?
Lauren: This job is 100% a huge pile of variables, and I think navigating that is part of the fun. Things are just constantly changing and needing to be reevaluated. In the beginning it was difficult to know what was a mountain and what was a mole hill, but that just comes with time and experience. One thing I have learned, which really helps me to keep a supportive outlook, is to not sweat the small stuff. If you make a mistake, don’t worry too much about it. Film projects are SO HUGE that nobody will remember one small thing you did. They will remember you trying hard, being focused, being kind, and being open to others.
Terry Lynn: Is there anything you’d like to chat about for International Women’s Day?
Lauren: I’ve been lucky to have some wonderful mentors in my life, both presenting female and male. I believe the best way forward, to make diverse and interesting film content, is to have as much varying representation as possible in the creation process. New ideas, concepts, and stories will only come when we are open to listen to those different from ourselves.
Terry Lynn Massey (left) and Lauren Boulet (right)
Stephanie & Juliana
Our talented modelling supervisor Stephanie Pocklington had a chat with Juliana Penteado from her team about her career journey and shared some great advice “be yourself and kick ass and don’t let anyone stop you.”
Juliana: Tell us a bit about your role at Animal
Stephanie: I’m a Modeling Supervisor on Magician’s Elephant overseeing the character and environment modeling department, helping to bid, QC and brief the work, while planning resources and workflows and presenting the team’s work to the Director / creatives at Netflix.
Juliana: What was your career journey like?
Stephanie: I studied Visual Arts and Bioanthropology in uni and was a freelance artist creating digital and traditional commissioned artwork and contributed to art exhibitions. I wanted to provide my clients with 3D work so studied at Vancouver Film School (VFS) and took the first job I could get which was a Runner at MPC. They found out I specialized in Modeling at VFS so they asked me to help. During the day I was doing this PA-style job and at night I would model small street props for Man of Steel. I did this for 8 months then moved fulltime into the modeling department. From there I helped out the texturing, environments, matte painting and character fx departments, eventually becoming a lead environment td and from there a CG Supervisor. I wanted to learn how other companies operated so I took on artist roles at ILM, Sony and Weta before being asked to CG/Onset Supervise with Millfilm on Love & Monsters and Mortal Kombat in Australia. I joined Animal once those projects were completed.
Juliana: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Stephanie: Getting to know the artists – in my last role I didn’t have as much opportunity to, so it’s nice to be able to connect directly with the team so I can to better understand how I can help to improve anything and get to know them as creatives as well. I’m also enjoying the project as its uniquely stylized and I love the director’s unwavering passion as she translates her beautiful vision of the story through her creatives and Animal’s talented team. It’s very cool to be a part of it.
Juliana: What advice would you give to a young girl interested in the animation/vfx industry?
Stephanie: Learn everything you can in any way you can and improve relentlessly. It keeps you motivated, passionate and opens more doors. There is always something new to learn on and off the job and every person has something to teach whether its technical, creative or philosophical. I actively try not to think about being a female in the workplace because at the core it’s about the art and the craft and problem-solving together along the way that leads to a powerful creative tool used to tell a compelling story. Whether you are a bush or an alien or a blue fish as long as you create good work and help others to do the same it shouldn’t matter how you are born. Don’t think about it, be yourself and kick ass and don’t let anyone stop you.
Juliana Penteado (Left) and Stephanie Pocklington (right)