17 February 2016

Meet the alumni: Callum Ashton, VFX graduate, on his experience studying at Met and new role as Junior Compositor.

By Cassio | Categorised in News, Alumni Interviews, Student Stories

This month we caught up with Callum Ashton, who recently completed his six-month course in visual effects and animation here at Met. As well as working on his showreel post-graduation, Callum has started a contract with Blue-Zoo animation, working as a Junior Compositor, a really great role straight out of film school!  In the below interview, Callum tells us about his experience at the school and his plans for working as a generalist animator:

Callum Ashton copyWHAT DID YOU STUDY BEFORE MET FILM SCHOOL?

To be completely honest, nothing specifically film related! Before coming to the Met the only education I have is from school and college, I didn’t really study anything film related at either because for a long time my plan was to go into acting and performing. That being said, I’ve always been into computers and gaming and I’m a very creatively minded person (acting/performing/I’m a musician in a band/used to do a lot of drawing, those kind of things) and I am constantly trying to learn new skills, teaching myself as much as I can. So I wasn’t going into it completely blind, just new to film making.

WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR COURSE?

I know it’s a bit of a cop out answer, but just doing the course itself was a highlight for me. Delving into a topic that I’m fairly new to (on a technical, obviously I watch films all the time!) and trying to learn as much as I can from the different tutors, trying to create stuff that looks as good as I can, meeting all sorts of different people was great. To give one specific example, I quite enjoyed the modelling section, being able to see something be created and manipulated into what you have in your head was very rewarding (and then animating it to bring it to life just took it to the next level).

ARE THERE SPECIFIC ATTRIBUTES THAT YOU THINK PEOPLE NEED TO HAVE TO TAKE THE COURSE?

In terms of knowledge of how to make visual effects/animation etc you don’t need to know much to start with, however if you have done some preparation in advance then it can give you a leg up and get you up and running quicker. I think the obvious things like being prepared to work hard, being punctual and awake for lessons (the course can be difficult, I doubt a hangover will help much!) as well as being confident enough to try and network and make contacts will definitely help. Making a good impression and getting on well with people can really help you when it comes to getting a job and being recommended to & by people in the industry!

WHAT PROJECTS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN/ WORKED ON SINCE MET?

The project that I’ve spent most of my time on is my showreel. It’s the first impression that potential employers get of you, so it needs to be good! I’ve also joined a project helping with some compositing work for someone that I met while on the course. The main thing now, though, is that I’ve been hired at Blue-Zoo as a Junior Compositor. As is to be expected when first getting into the industry, and in such a small company, it’s only on a temporary contract but I’ve been having an amazing time, learning loads and loads of stuff and meeting some great people. It looks like I’ll be able to stay here longer and if not I’d definitely love to work here again, it all depends on what work they have at the time!

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

A good question, unfortunately I don’t have a great answer! I enjoyed so many of the different aspects of the Visual Effects for Film course that I haven’t been able to decide on where I want to specialise. As I mentioned before, I’m hired at Blue-Zoo as a Jr. Compositor but I also really enjoyed the modelling, texturing, animating, simulations and even rigging aspects of the course, so I may follow any those paths! I’m trying to keep learning and maintain a generalist knowledge for the time being and see where I end up.

Watch Callum’s latest showreel:

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Find out more about studying VFX and Animation at Met Film School here.

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