This time we travel to Singapore to have a chat with Sara Geimer, Recruiter at Industrial Light & Magic. We hear about the history of ILM in Singapore, their current projects and above all get great advice on how to approach applying for a job at ILM. What do they think is a good application and reel and what do you need to do to stand out and get a job at this fantastic legendary studio.
Can you tell us a little about the history of ILM in Singapore?
In 2006, George Lucas’ world-renowned visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) expanded its operations beyond its San Francisco headquarters, opening a studio in Singapore. The Singapore division of ILM is a full-service effects studio responsible for delivering complete shots and sequences on top-tier Hollywood projects. From asset development and digital matte painting, through animation, creature and effects simulation, to lighting and compositing, ILM Singapore delivers cutting edge work for feature films. At the Singapore studio, ILM veterans work alongside top-level talent from around the world.
What is your recruitment procedure usually like? Who reviews the applications and showreels? What happens to the application once you receive it?
Whether someone applies online, is referred, or we source them ourselves, everything starts with the recruiter reviewing the candidate’s resume and reel. If we feel that someone has potential to work on the current shows in house, we’ll then review with our supervisors and they decide who to interview. The interviews usually consist of all the department supervisors/leads and the recruiter gathering in a conference room with a candidate’s reel on the big screen. In Singapore a great deal of our interviews are done over the phone or Skype. It can be pretty intimidating, but it’s a great way to see how someone performs under pressure. We expect candidates to be able to talk about their experience in detail and explain their work process and problem solving skills. Plus, ILM is a very collaborative place to work, so we need to make sure that people we bring on board are good at communicating and able to share ideas in addition to listening/learning from others. The best interviews are always people who are passionate about their work and excited about the possibility of what ILM has to offer. From there we make our hiring decision – it’s a pretty fast-paced process usually.
What are the perks of working at ILM, Singapore?
There are a lot! We get some really interesting and challenging sequences to work on here (and have even started working on our first show that will be done entirely here in Singapore!). With the addition of our London and Vancouver studios, ILM’s ability to take on a wide scope of work has increased, so we’re seeing more variety come through the studio. This year alone nine different shows will be worked on in Singapore. Another thing that I personally like is that our Singapore studio only has about 250 people, so it has that small-studio vibe, where everyone knows each other. It’s great for collaboration during work hours, but we also have a lot of fun together outside the office. Lots of traveling (for cheap!), exploring, fitness, amazing food, artistic endeavors – in my opinion, the team here is all about getting the most out of life. It’s not just about “the job” – it’s the whole experience.
What is a good job application to you and what are the do’s and don’ts when applying for a job at ILM?
The number-one, best thing applicants can do is to have an up-to-date reel (or as up-to-date as possible providing their most recent show has been released) that is front-loaded with their best work. It’s the best way to show us the quality of work you can produce. Shot breakdowns are really helpful too so that we know what the applicant contributed to a particular shot. Also, they shouldn’t be afraid to keep in touch with recruiters as their career progresses as sometimes it’s just a matter of someone getting more experience. We remember people and I’m always happy to champion someone that is able to demonstrate that they’ve grown as an artist.
What main projects are ILM, Singapore, working on at the moment?
At the moment we are hard at work on Warcraft and, as I mentioned earlier, the first show where ILM Singapore has taken on all of the VFX work for a project, Agent 47. We are also working on a couple more hush-hush projects… This year is the busiest in all of ILM’s history, and the crew is getting to work on (and geek-out over) some awesome shows.
Can you give some advice to potential applicants on how to successfully get a job at ILM?
One of the best ways is be referred directly to our recruiters. We value our artist’s opinions, so if they pass us a former colleagues resume it will definitely be reviewed as soon as possible. If you don’t know anyone that works here, you can find me and the rest of ILM’s recruiting team on LinkedIn. Reach out!
Are you currently hiring, if so, which positions are you looking for?
YES! I’m looking for a bunch of senior-level compositors right now. We are also on the hunt for 3D Generalists, FX TDs, Lighting TDs, Animators, and due to the amount of shows we’ll have going on simultaneously, we are looking for supervisor talent right now too (Compositing, FX, and even an Associate VFX Supervisor). Everything is posted on our website.