“I do see that the trend is getting better but there's still some work to do.”
This was how Mai-Ling Lee, CG Supervisor for MR.X, described the state of diversity and inclusion in visual effects from her perspective during the virtual event, Focus On Change: Diversity in VFX.
Lee was one of three speakers during the event that fostered a lively and fruitful discussion about diversity in the industry and how lasting change can be achieved.
Lizzie Horsburgh, Head of Studio for MPC Film & Episodic London, was also a speaker at the event, which was the second in our Focus On Change event series that aims to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, and promote the idea of creating a network of diverse talent to attract and inspire others to pursue a career in visual effects.
Colourist Brian Krijgsman wrapped up the event’s line-up of speakers – all of whom also answered a number of questions as the discussion was opened up to attendees.
The speakers answered a variety of questions ranging from how to handle handle discrimination when applying for jobs in VFX and how women of colour can be encouraged to apply for more jobs, to navigating motherhood in one’s career and whether it is appropriate to mention one’s race or ethnicity in a cover letter.
All three speakers shared their diverse life and career experiences that led them down the path to visual effects, inevitably offering up a diverse range of perspectives as it relates to diversity and inclusion.
The speakers emphasised steps currently being taken within the industry to facilitate change and what else can be done.
Lizzie spoke about initiatives within MPC Film and Episodic particularly at the recruitment level with The Focus, as well as the vision for partnerships with schools and universities to give more exposure to visual effects, provide mentorship opportunities, and conduct outreach programmes.
Brian, who also mentors artists coming up in the industry, emphasised the value of mentorship to empower the next generation of visual effects professionals.
Mai-Ling shared the advantages of working on a show at MR.X as part of a very diverse team, the most diverse she’s ever been a part of.
The Focus will continue to hold future Focus On Change events to serve as a space for discussion and engagement around making visual effects, and the wider entertainment industry, more inclusive and diverse.
“I honestly feel like bringing that diversity in the workplace and bringing those ideas,” said Lizzie, “that's when creativity flourishes.” – thefocus.com