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Is a Visual Effects Artist career a good choice for a young woman?

Since the birth of the visual entertainment industry (dating back to theatre) women have had an irreplaceable part to perform. Many iconic films around the world are recognized by the face of an actress or singer’s voice, rather than by the producer, studio, or the script.  This year, we were delighted to see many female nominees at the Academy Awards such as Marisa Rom├ín (Klaus), Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Joker), Amy Pascal (Little Women), along with other talented women.  Year after year, there are more female names coming up next to the likes of Scorsese, Cooper and Tarantino.

Looking at the 2020 Oscars nominees, another trend appears: women are severely under-represented behind the camera. There were no female nominees in Directing, Visual Effects, Cinematography and Sound Mixing. These are essential artistic roles that pay well; while they require certain talents, the careers are not gender-specific. 

where does a visual effects artist start? 

Quality media is a huge part of today’s world. Everything is digitally enhanced… movies, TV shows, video blogs, commercials, and even social media stories. In the past, video was reserved for big studios and prime-time TV commercials that did not include diversity; breaking into this world was a challenge. Alongside progress, social media arrived and dethroned television as the king of video content.  With clever clips and brilliant content creators gaining lots of views, advertisers realized that there was a new way to reach audiences while still producing quality content. Those high-quality clips require high-quality skills that can be studied in school and honed on a computer.

A visual effects artist or a sound engineer can work with either a studio producing movies and television series, a big advertising agency producing commercials, a smaller advertising agency producing web/social media video ads, or they can team up with a YouTube content creator. They can even branch into video game design and effects.

An entry level VFX position with a smaller agency could start around $35,00 per year, but a visual effects artist with some experience will make an average salary of $77,000 per year. As she gains experience and advances in her career, a VFX producer can earn over $100,000 per year!

Before Finding a Path

  • In high school, talk to your guidance counsellor about co-op opportunities
  • Choose a favourite effects-heavy movie and watch a “behind the scenes” feature on it
  • Download software trials to try out new programs
  • Watch tutorials or take online classes to learn tips and tricks
  • In post-secondary, look for internships at companies that intrigue you

Schooling

If you are looking to sign up for a VFX-related program as part of your post-secondary career path, here are just some of the schools to explore.

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