21 Ways The Rookies Changed My Life as a Digital Artist

I knew I had to move from Italy, yet didn’t know how or when.

That’s when I saw an advert on a forum for The Rookies. It was an opportunity for students to showcase their work, get it judged by a panel of high-end industry professional, and have the chance to win an internship in one of “The Companies” – Framestore, Double Negative, MPC etc…

harry potter

I had to act quickly – by then I had already set my mind on becoming an FX specialist. So I got to work on Maya and some very basic Houdini, and after just very few weeks I finished my first reel as FX TD, ready to enter the Awards.

It’s also a great platform to meet other young creative minds and get very, very valuable feedback to make your work better.

Six Years Later

Looking back at it now, six years later – smiling – it still reminds me how having a deadline for the Awards forced me to take an ‘I need to show I can be useful’ approach. I remember thinking I wanted to show I could do some fire, snow, rigid and soft bodies, water splash, a bit of particle work, a music-driven scene to show basic scripting skills and some very simple Houdini-developed asset for artists to use. The bare basics for a Visual Effects Technical Director. And it was ugly – purely aesthetically speaking.

But, it landed a finalist position in the VFX category and got me in an internship in Double Negative and that started my amazing path into VFX.

In hindsight, it’s an approach I would often suggest to take when possible. If you can show a glimpse of what you bring to the table, people will get interested and see the potential. Always aiming for a hyper polished material is good in some instances, but can also become a bit ot a trap, especially when starting out.

It becomes easier later with experience, and once you’ve worked with some of the best people in their relative fields. It’s something that has been confirmed to me through the years. I have been lucky enough to work with what I consider as being some of the best CG and VFX supervisors around.

This industry rewards hard work, creativity, and lateral approaches. Those things can’t be taught. Always keep in mind when you are building your first reel/portfolio, think smart about how to create your reel and try to direct the attention towards your strengths.

Winning the internship through The Rookies changed my work life forever.

After the internship, I ended up getting hired full time at Double Negative, and then had the great opportunity to work with Framestore, Pixomondo, and other cool companies, on two Visual Effects Oscar-winning projects (with Cuaron’s Gravity and Scorsese’s Hugo). Some other features include Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Always learning new things, incredible workflows, tips, and tricks from the best, making friends, and contributing back to the best of my abilities.

Where am I now?

In the past two years, I have founded a small Virtual Reality studio in East London called Container 21, with a colleague/friend of mine, and that’s what I do full time now. We still work with some of these great companies on very exciting content to this day! (I’m also very happy that you’re supporting VR with The Rookies as well!)

 

It has been quite the wall of text, but I feel it explains quite well how The Rookies helped me immensely to get noticed in the industry and get started.

It’s also a great platform to meet other young creative minds and get very, very valuable feedback to make your work better.

Amazing work you guys are doing to stimulate and reward the young creative industry!