Spotlight on Special Effects Creator, Stan Winston
06 May 21
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Categories: Film FX, Undergradute
Rebecca Albrecht, 25, graduated from the Special Effects (SFX) for Film and TV degree in 2019. She is currently working for Inovus Medical® , where she is a product designer creating simulation body parts for surgical procedures.
Her goal is to eventually make props for film and TV, but Rebecca tells us about her time on the course, what she learnt and how it helped her land her current job before she had even graduated.
What were the best things about your course?
I started with no knowledge or idea of where I wanted to end up in the long run, I just knew that I wanted a career change from office work and to go into something I loved to do which is crafting.
The Special Effects (SFX) for Film and TV degree has such a great variety of modules on offer, that it gave me a broad and diverse skill base in many different areas, including mould-making, sculpting and 3D modelling.
What are some of the things you learnt?
Each module helped me explore different areas and gave me the freedom to not only personalise the project to make something cool looking for my portfolio, but also to experiment with techniques that I’ve gone on to use in industry.
Each project I found myself leaning more to the digital side of SFX, with me specialising in a module on digital sculpting and 3D printing. A lot of self-exploration was used to really hone in on this, but the portfolio module gave me the opportunity to make many mistakes and more importantly learn how to fix them, all with the support of lecturers.
Ultimately, I found a great workflow for taking sculpts to 3D print, with some dabbling in digital mould-making using my practical knowledge learnt on the course.
How did the degree help you secure a job?
I managed to get a freelance project during the start of third-year, making an appendix model for Inovus Medical®. Once I’d completed the project, they agreed to take me on full-time before I’d even finished the course and held the job for when I graduated.
There was no way I would have got this job without having a diverse range of from the modules and the willingness to go even further with self-learning and experimentation, using the workshops and materials provided.
Material knowledge learnt on the course was vital when I first started the role, I was able to order lots of new products to really help improve production. Although being a product designer as my first job was daunting, my experimentation in University projects meant I had the toolkit to improvise and adapt quickly to medical simulation.
Nearly two years on, I can really see how those initial skills helped me and I’m thankful that Inovus Medical® has given me the opportunity to really work on and level up those skills.
What would you say to students who are considering a degree in Special Effects for Film and TV?
If you want a practical career in making things, this is a great way to go about it. You have dedicated time to explore, as well as access to an abundance of materials and facilities.
Being able to use these industry materials and really learn to understand how they work and behave is such a great benefit of this course, along with the support from the team.
When you’re on the course, work hard and take the opportunity to try new things, even if it’s not strictly taught. Experiment and take calculated risks, as these will help you stand out and land your first job.
Also, be pleasant to everyone as you never know who might be able to help you get a job later down the line!
What are your hopes for your career?
I really enjoy working for Inovus Medical®, as it allows me to use all of my skills and pushes me to find new ways to engineer simulation body parts for large scale production.
I also hope to take this knowledge into schools to create workshops for children to open their minds up to artistic careers they may never have thought of.
Ultimately though, my long-term aim is to have my own business and workshop team creating props in the North West, as I’d love to give back to my local community and help improve the northern film and TV industry.
Find out more about Special Effects for Film and TV at the University of Bolton, which is ranked in the Top 50 best UK universities in The Guardian 2021 league table. We’re proud to be known for our teaching quality, supportive learning environment and award-winning Student Services; welcome to #UniAsItShouldBe in Greater Manchester.
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