Spotlight on Special Effects Creator, Stan Winston
06 May 21
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Categories: Film FX, Postgraduate
Do you want to turn your creative degree into a film FX specialism? Postgraduate training can help you develop your skills in this unique field.
Film special effects is one of the most exciting and progressive areas of the entertainment industry. There are also some excellent salaries and day rates for those with the right experience and expertise, and a master’s degree is one way to stand out from the crowd.
With so much opportunity for freelance, this career path puts you in the driving seat. The University of Bolton’s MA Film FX Creative Practice is designed to take your knowledge to the next level, through practical training and our strong industry links.
Here’s a look at some of the most in-demand jobs, and tips on how to get them:
According to Prospects.ac.uk, trainee technicians can earn a day rate of £126, rising to £365 after five years. The most senior technicians (with 10 years’ experience) can earn a day rate of £415, while supervisors (with 15 years’ experience) can earn a rate of £756 or more.
While earning potential is high, it’s important for students to remember that SFX is a relatively small and specialised career path in the UK. Despite the prolific use of special effects in film, TV and live events, there are just 200-250 special effects professionals today.
In order to secure a role in this area, it’s important to build up a competitive portfolio. Postgraduate study is a fantastic way to do this.
One of the most sought after jobs in film and television is VFX. Although terms often get used interchangeably, this differs from special effects because it is applied in post-production. While SFX are things that are realised on set, VFX takes a lot of technical ability on the digital front.
From dragons flying through the sky in Game of Thrones to dinosaur attacks on Jurassic Park, this is a field made for creative minds. Visual effects are everywhere in movies, TV shows, games and advertising, meaning there’s a great deal of versatility if you don’t just want to work in film.
But to be successful, you have to be flexible, and a jack of all trades to an extent. Depending on the size of the studio, VFX artists often get involved in doing a bit of everything. So try to embrace a range of modules at university to develop a diverse skillset.
Our MA Film FX Creative Practice degree focuses heavily on interdisciplinary training and collaborative projects, allowing you to gain a breadth of knowledge for any type of workplace.
Compositors are the most in-demand job, according to Magdalena Bisogni, a producer and recruiter who has worked in visual effects for 20+ years.
While many people think about becoming an animator or a modelmaker, compositors are the ones who have the most reach and impact. This is because they are needed for every single project, even when animators and modellers are not required.
By seamlessly integrating different special effects, they play a vital role in bringing everything together and completing that final step of transforming effects into a believable picture.
If you’re interested in this specialism, getting hands-on training is key. At the University of Bolton, students get the opportunity to undertake projects set by leading Film FX industry practitioners, studios or workshops.
Additionally, our programme allows you to build your portfolio as well as your professional network through our industry connections.
To find out more or to apply in September 2021, see our course page for details.
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