Siggraph is back this year and as always, the conference will be a hub for all the latest technologies, innovations and ideas in computer graphics and interactive techniques, with the VFX and animation industries standing to benefit from it. But Siggraph is also a hub for talent.
The Focus, the recruitment brand of Technicolor’s award-winning film feature and episodic studios, returns to Siggraph’s recruitment area this year to talk to candidates interested in jobs and opportunities within the VFX and animation industries. The team, which will include Global Head of Executive Talent Acquisition Jeremy-del-Guidici as well as Talent Acquisition Manager Sylvie Tehbelian, will also be available to review and offer advice on demos and resumes.
In the interview below, Sylvie discusses animation trends as well as tips for candidates keen to join one of our studios — MPC Film, Mr. X, Mill Film and Mikros Animation Montreal — or Technicolor Academy.
The Focus: How was your experience last year at Siggraph?
Sylvie: Last year, we had a booth for two days at the Job Fair section. A lot of people came to talk to us, asking which shows we were working on, (lining up) to show their demo reels. It was really nice!
TF: What do you expect to find at Siggraph this year?
S: Siggraph is a huge event, and it has a lot of sessions and panels that are really interesting. At the booth, I have the chance to meet a lot of juniors and students who are approaching graduation and looking for a job. At the end of the event, I always hire people that I’ve met there, so I hope this year that continues!
TF: What do you look for in a candidate besides talent?
S: It all starts with what I read in their resume and what they show me in their demo reel. Then the personality, of course, is also really important. Some people come to the booth and they are super enthusiastic because they want to show me that they could be a good team member. However, we hire the best artists in the world so the work has to be really impressive.
TF: So, you think that trying to create a perfect image can be bad?
S: If you are an artist, your work speaks volumes for you and then your attitude comes along with it. Everyone who is starting out in an industry should be eager and willing to learn, as well as having the talent
TF: In your opinion, what would an ideal demo reel look like?
S: There is no perfect demo reel. Art is subjective. One eye can look at something and think it is pretty while another eye can look at it and think that it is not enough. When I’m looking at junior or recent grad work, I want to see if they have potential based on their school projects. However, if I’m searching for (someone) senior, my criteria are not the same.
TF: How should a candidate prepare for Siggraph?
S: Usually, they bring their computers or iPads, business cards and resumes. Everyone is usually eager to show their work to get critique or advice. Sometimes, there are some unqualified work, but I do take the time to look at it. I’m happy to help if their work is related to my department, which is animation.
TF: What should candidates know about animation trends?
S: It is hard to say because it depends on the project and studio. Today, I’m looking for people who are able to animate bipeds’ and quadrupeds’ creatures. But if the person wants to follow another path, that’s totally fine because the animation world is big. And if the person shows me a demo reel and I can find something interesting, I send them a test — which they love to do — to see if the person is a good fit for the job.
TF: Can you give advice for anyone starting out and looking to break into the industry?
S: My advice would be: figure out what you want to do. You cannot be an expert in one department and say you do everything. Take time to know where you want to go and make sure your demo reel follows the same direction.
On July 29th, Sylvie will be on the panel “Preparing Students to Take the Next Step: School to Work Transition (Demo Reels and Beyond)” at Room 406A at 9am. On July 30th and 31st, she will be at our booth at the Recruitment Exhibition.-thefocus.com
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.