Double Negative Visual Effects talk at Exeter Phoenix for Animated Exeter Festival
Enthralling an audience of budding visual effects artists, Alice Tuxford (recruiter for Double Negative, Europe's largest visual effects company) spoke to an audience at Exeter Phoenix last Friday as part of the Animated Exeter Festival.
Amidst 'behind-the-scenes' footage and fascinating trivia about costly mistakes in the latest blockbusters (including the last minute CG to remove Daniel Craig's gloves in countless scenes when using his touch-sensitive gun in the latest Bond film), the speaker was keen to emphasise the opportunities available in the industry for those with passion and talent. The audience of young enthusiasts were told the inspiring tale of a runner for the company who was ten years later picking up an Oscar for the film Inception, and educated on the importance of working your way up steadily to roles such as Compositor, 3D Generalist and Producer.
Speaking afterwards, Tuxford said, "I hope that people will understand that there is a career in visual effects. If you're slightly arty, or if you prefer maths or science, there is actually something else you can do besides banking or going into the city - there are some really fun things you can do and you can work on films doing that kind of thing. I hope people will be inspired to see that loads of the films are made in London, rather than out in Hollywood."
Some of Double Negative's London-based work includes visual effects for the Dark Knight, Les Misérables and Man of Steel. And the audience were treated to glimpses of the 'pipeline' production processes in many recent iconic films, including intriguing snapshots of elephant and rhinoceros skin used to model texture for the dragon in the latest Harry Potter film. But, all this was a sideline from Tuxford's main theme: sound advice about application procedures in the industry. The basic things like sending in a good reel, knowing your stuff about the company you apply to and being determined were all key to Tuxford's message.
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Expressing love for her job, Tuxford explained, "My role is trying to recruit artists: the juniors who have come straight from university that for them it's their dream job. We're one of the best companies in the world at what we do and if I can employ someone that this is their dream… that makes me feel really good. I like coming round and giving talks because I think it can give lots of people - in one go - the passion and the insight that they can come into the company like ours and work."