To make a graduation film is a huge challenge, but there’s an equally significant challenge that comes after and that is to find work in the animation/VFX industry.
At most schools, when a student graduates, he/she is left largely to his/her own devices to establish a foothold in the industry, and it requires a lot of hustling, knocking on doors, and cold-calling companies. But what if a school could help students understand how to network and connect with the industry before they graduated?
That thought is the inspiration for Vancouver Film School’s Fresh Meet, an innovative program designed for 3D and VFX students who attend the entertainment arts school, allowing them to network early with the right people from major studios.
The idea for Fresh Meet was conceived by Sarah von Fersen, who joined the Vancouver Film School (VFS) Animation program as its mentorship and industry relations lead after having enjoyed a fulfilling career as an artist at Framestore, Electronic Arts, Jim Henson Creature Shop, and Pixar. Her goal was to ensure that VFS’s students had greater opportunities to network with animation and vfx studios before graduation than she had had when she was in school.
“One of the mandates I had when I started at VFS was to begin working on the concept that would eventually become the Fresh Meet event,” said Fersen. “Other programs at the school, like Digital Design and Game Design, were doing industry events, so I started researching their events and seeing how they were created and what happened at the events… then I adjusted it to meet the needs of our animation students,” she added.
The Fresh Meet concept takes a common sense approach to helping students. While VFS 3D animation students are still in session and hard at work in their one-year immersive programs, they are introduced to industry contacts during the Fresh Meet event, which allows them to showcase their works-in-progress.
Through Fresh Meet and additional mentoring, students learn how to present themselves and their work in the right way to prospective employers, which is a critical step for landing a job after graduation.