In this interview we take you to London for a chat with VFX Supervisor and Co-Founder of visual effects house Nvizible, Paddy Eason. Paddy gives us an insight into the history of the studio, their previous and current work as well as what they are looking for when hiring new talent. He gives some great advice for things you should be thinking about when making your application and show reel.
Nvizible was founded in 2009. What was the motivation for setting up the studio?
Hugh Macdonald and I had been running a small VFX artists collective (called Stranger) for 9 months or so, following the closure of CIS/Rainmaker London. We were approached by Martin Chamney and Nic Hatch of the previs outfit Nvizage, who wanted to expand into VFX. It seemed a great fit – they would bring the CG and animation expertise, while Hugh and I were strong on compositing and VFX. We all wanted to create a VFX company that was small enough not to be a factory, yet big enough to create really interesting work.
What were the first, most difficult, challenges to overcome?
We’ve never had any investment from outside – it’s all funded by us, as individuals. Bootstrapping the company was a challenge, but it’s worked out well. We have no external shareholders to tell us what to do!
Which projects are you most proud of having worked on in Nvizible? and why?
Personally – I’m very fond of our monster movie Grabbers. It’s got some great crazy alien creature work in, it’s scary, and funny, and charming. There aren’t many UK indie movies with excellent VFX. Our next collaboration with director Jon Wright – Robot Overlords – has been even more ambitious. There’s some huge VFX shots in there. I love the process of going from ‘How the hell are we gong to do this?’ to ‘Are we mad?!’ to ‘We did it!’.
Does Nvizible mainly consist of fulltime employees or freelancer and what are the percentages?
I couldn’t say, as it varies. But we have a solid core of employees in every ‘department’ (we’re too small to have departments really, but you know what I mean), and then each individual project has freelance crew selected specifically for it.
How is your recruitment process?
Well, again, we’re small enough that we don’t need to be hiring huge numbers of artists at once. We can afford to be quite selective. I would say that most of our recruitment is word-of-mouth. Social media is useful too. We always like it when people come back, and that happens quite often.
When hiring new crew, what are the main overall criteria that you are looking for in an artist?
Showreel, showreel and showreel. We need to see that someone is capable of doing beautiful work, whatever their specialisation. And as a boutique-scale operation, it’s useful to us if a person has at least two skills. Eg – they can rig and animate. Or light and comp. Being a decent human being is also important!
Do you have any dos and don’ts when sending in a job application to Nvizible?
- Do include a cover letter saying who you are, what you do and why you want to come to Nvizible.
- Do include a link to your reel(s)
- Do include a cv/resume to give us a picture of you, your skills and interests
- Do try to make yourself look intelligent and literate in your letter and cv. Sloppy grammar and spelling doesn’t leave a good impression.
- Do check back in with any updates every few months, if necessary. Getting a job is a matter of timing. One week we may not be hiring, the next week, we may.
- Don’t send your application to a ‘masked’ email address. No talent recruiter wants to feel that they are just the 15th name down in a mass mailing.
- Don’t put work on your reel that you didn’t do (it happens!)
- Don’t send a physical DVD or USB stick. It’ll get lost.
- Don’t exaggerate your experience or skill level. You will be found out!
What is a good showreel to you?
- The best work up front
- Under 4 minutes
- Clear on what you did on any particular shot. Captions at the bottom are fine, no need for a massive shot breakdown, necessarily.
- Good work. We should be able to tell that someone has a good eye from the shots on the reel. Even if they are from a low key, indie movie, the work should still be well executed, imaginative, nicely done.
Which projects are you currently working on?
We are doing VFX for Matthew ‘Kick Ass’ Vaughan’s Secret Service, which is great fun. And we are doing all the VFX on Terry Jones’s (Monty Python) feature Absolutely Anything. It’s a SciFi comedy featuring Simon Pegg, some aliens and a talking dog. And a brilliant period crime movie called ‘Legend’ which features Tom Hardy as identical twins.
Where would you like to see Nvizible in 5 or 10 years from now?
Owning content, at the producing table on some features, and continuing to be fully creatively involved in a variety of great projects.