Meet Christophe Ivins - VFX Compositor/Cinematographer

How to Get a Job in Hollywood Insiders with Insights (New Addition)
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Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome to the new edition in this mentoring cause insider live insights. So what this is basically is that I will be talking to in meeting with some film industry veterans and players in the Hollywood scene and asking about how they got in and experiences when they first got started. Kind of like you guys right now. And you interview in about 15 minutes or so will be released every quarter. So stay tuned for that. And once again, if you have any questions about any of the interviewees or just about the cost in general, feel free to post them on the q&a board.

Happy learning. All right. Hello, and I hope all as well on your end today. We have here Christoph, why don't you introduce yourself and what you do. I am Christoph, Ivan's, and I'm a visual effects compositing. Alright, so very briefly, just tell me how you got involved in visual effects and like how did you Break it basically.

Well, I was always interested in theater and performing and I, I did some of that from my earliest days and and continued through college where I declared major in theater and a second major in computer science double major. My brother Max, Ivan's had gotten a job with a television show as a visual effects producer through a connection that he had a friend who was directing some of the episodes of a TV episodic and say he did not have a background and now but jumped in wholeheartedly and and shortly after he started doing that work suggested that I learned some of the software so I I got on a workstation and learned I learned how to how to make a little butterfly wireframe butterfly fly across the screen and it was the most amazing thing because it was it was three dimensional somehow and, and it was just a tutorial in Lightwave.

And I did I did all the tutorials and and thought this is for me so I move to LA and I started doing internship to my my brother's connections. Okay, so tell me about your most memorable projects and what that was like I know I saw you have a lot of projects on your IMDB page. So tell About the most memorable, but shortly after I did a couple of internships and and then landed a compositing job at one of the companies that I was interning at. We started working on a project that was based on the voyage across the Atlantic of a ship called Titanic. And it was being directed by some some director who was did a lot of visual effects and had directed a visual effects film based on these machines that come from the past the future and try to save the planet, and that was Terminator in Terminator two.

And the film was, of course, James Cameras Titanic. So I heard that James Cameron is very difficult to work with. Is it true? Actually, it's, it's not. And it seems it seems like well, you know, he got upset at somebody or something, you know, but in the reality of it he's the most amazing person to work for. He considers it a collaboration.

And he, he's dealing with the biggest budgets in history for filmmaking. And so that carries a lot of weight and, and that weight can weigh down on one's shoulders. So I'm, I'm sure that at certain times, he is demanding of people work for him. I've never I've never experienced any kind of pressure like that. from him. He took time in very busy schedule to tell me personally how I worked on avatar as well in his office so so he was to explain to me his favorite scene of avatar when you need to fall in love and learn to fly.

And it's it's an amazing thing coming from a director who's directed the Terminator films and you know, he's, he's really interested in beauty and he's, he's very concerned about the life on this planet and, and you can see it obviously in his films. So tell What's life like now for you as a senior compositor compared to back then like in the old days in terms of the industry and how things have changed for you that experience working on James Cameron's films has has changed my life and I and I know it happened very early on. Titanic was 20 years ago and and it's hard to know what my life in business would be like, without that experience. And it's sometimes it's a little overwhelming getting emails from all over the world or you know, not not having time to, you know, for oneself because because so many people interested in in the work and the experience wanting To find out more about it or or, you know, work with someone who's who has had these experiences, it's given me the opportunity to work on on other productions that I wouldn't have been able to work on.

Especially the, the experience with Avatar, everyone knew that that was a 3d movie. I think it was the longest running 3d projection that that people had experienced thus far. And, and so I was, I became a 3d compositor. And, and now, that got me a lot of a lot of work. And that's how I ended up working on Life of Pi as well. So what you say like things have changed now in terms of the kind of work that you get compared to back then.

Yes. After avatar I started working more on on 3d work. And before avatar, I still had I had Titanic on my reel. So I was getting a lot of 2d compositing work on on studio films. Okay, so we're close to the end. Any last words for the students?

Yes, I would say that. When I started in the industry, there were not very many people with degrees in visual effects. And then I started pursuing some interests that I had had in the past for camera work, and eventually branched into Visual Effects cinematography as I was cast. As I was shooting visual effects plates very early on, but after I had already sort of established myself in visual effects and was, was working in camera, someone who, who was prominent writer in Hollywood and wrote some, some big films said to me, You have to have two jobs, one in the industry and one outside the industry. And then I thought, well, you know, that's I got half of it. I've got two jobs.

They're both in industry, but when one's sort of slow, then I'm working the other one. And so I, I didn't, I took his advice, or I had had been in the situation that I was, you know, following his advice, half way, but I didn't. I didn't Take all of the advice and and I, I found later on that that was something that I probably I probably should have reconsidered and figured out something that I wanted to do outside the business. So, so basically you're saying that they should get two jobs like one is inside industry one's outside? Yes, two, I think I think two careers is is a good thing to have because this industry is cyclical even though I've worked in several staff positions at visual effects companies. None of those visual effects companies exist anymore.

And the average life of visual effects companies is not very long and you constantly find yourself having to find a new job and if if you're freelance which I think it's moving more and more that direction as we get more and more visual effects artists and maybe the jobs are decentralizing. You really, you you have to have a fallback. And if you can somehow make it related to what you're, what you're doing and visual effects, all the better because then it makes it makes you just that much better at visual effects. Okay. All right. So, thank you for your time that was Christoph.

And you've been in industry for how long? Well, I was born in 1966. Okay, so Okay, you've been in industry for a while. Alright, so I was over again. Anyway, it was a pleasure speaking to you

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