About getting a job in CG - VFX - Games

Posted on October 22nd, 2007 in Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

A few quick pointers from my presentation at ADAPT 2007 about careering in digital media; especially since we’re going through demo reels and resumes:

  • The resume

Short, brief and to the point. Employers first want to know where you’ve worked, what you’ve worked on, and to a lesser extent, what training center or school did you attend. Never mind the part-time job in a hardware store, we don’t care. At least do not waste precious resume space by explaining that your duties included “keeping the lawnmower inventory up to date”.

  • The reel

Again, short and to the point. If you have enough material to leave out your less than stellar work, do it. An employer will decide in about 10 seconds if he/she wants to continue watching your reel, so you better have the best 10 seconds of your professional career right at the start.

  • The Interview

If you’re up to the interview part, then you have enough experience and talent for the job. Now they want to know if you’re ok to work with, period. Just be nice. Be interested in the company. Have stories to tell. Prepare good answers for common questions (see link below). Show you’re a great person to work with and the job is yours. I know it sounds corny, but nobody likes to work with jerks, no matter how talented they are. This business is about teamwork, creativity and long hours.

A few links on getting a job:

VFX Hack : Making a Demo Reel That Doesn’t Suck

The Career Gamer : Part I – Getting The Job
(4 part editorial)

50 Common Interview Questions Q&A
(one of my favorites)

ADAPT 2007 : Day 5

Posted on October 1st, 2007 in CG Community, The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

I finally got through my presentation on Friday morning. I was afraid I would not get a big turnout with the Halo 3 party the night before, but the room was actually quite full. I have to admit that another presentation scheduled at the same time was postponed a bit, so it probable helped my attendance numbers…

The session went smoothly and I got positive feedback right on the spot by quite a few attendees. I’m used to giving presentations on VFX productions with lots of pretty pictures and making-of videos. This time it was all talk, giving the best advice I had on careering in our industry. I’m glad it went all right because I’ll be participating in something similar this week in Boston.

Right after my speech I walked across the Complexe Desjardins (where ADAPT is happening) to the offices of Revenu Québec, to get a plethora of corporate numbers for our business. Even during the week of ADAPT I’m still a company manager.

Early in the afternoon I caught the presentation by Pierre Raymond, with a great recap of Hybride’s productions since Mimic in 1996 right up to 300. For me it was a trip down memory lane and the vast amount of versatile and remarkable visuals presented was indeed impressive.

And what a finale; Dreamworks, Disney and Sony Pictures sharing the stage and going through the numerous production aspects in creating a CG film. Having three different points of view on the creative and production process of major CG films was nothing short of amazing. Too bad some of the slides were unreadable; but it was a very exciting presentation by key people from the industry.

And for ADAPT 2007, that, as they say, is a wrap.

ADAPT 2007 : Day 4

Posted on September 28th, 2007 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais

I finally had some free time during the day to check out some of the presentations at ADAPT. I dropped in the session by Janimation’s Greg Punchatz. He talked about his career change from practical effects to digital effects, similar to what Phil Tippett had to go through in the 90s. Great footage of his work as a make-up and effects artist.

Syd Mead delivered a top-notch speech as always. I’m always mesmerized by his work. The way he explains his thought process is very entertaining. Let’s hope he’ll be back a third time for ADAPT 2008.

I really enjoy the more personal presentations at ADAPT, it is a nice change of pace from the more corporate and technical speeches we see at Siggraph.

For the rest of the day I was busy in my hotel room adding the final touches to my own presentation tomorrow morning. Now I’m wondering if it’s good enough so I can go to the Halo 3 party a few blocks away…

ADAPT 2007 : Day 3

Posted on September 27th, 2007 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

Hey, what happened to day 2?

I was just too busy at the office. I had financing business to take care of, meetings with building engineers for our studio and fun accounting stuff to take care of. To top it all off we are in the middle of sealing off part of our studio floor to start production in October, while the construction takes place on our main space for the next few months.

I finally got to Montreal late today, too late for the presentations but I was able to see old friends and meet new ones. A big hello to VFX World, Dell, Full Sail, Stage 3 Media, Ubisoft, Buzz, Janimation and of course, Softimage.

It’s just like Siggraph; lots of handshakes, swapping production stories and business cards. The big difference is that I feel like everyone’s host since this is my home town. I always wonder, should I point people to Old Montreal? The Olympic Stadium? Schwartz? Mount Royal? St-Denis Street? St-Laurent Street?

ADAPT 2007 : Day One

Posted on September 25th, 2007 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

The 2007 edition of ADAPT kicked off on Monday with a fine keynote address by Phil Tippett. I remember seeing him for the first time at Siggraph a few years ago; he was doing a very informative and pretty funny presentation about his studio’s work on The Haunting.

This time it was about his career and views about his work, from early stop-motion shorts to CG work on Jurassic Park and many others. His talk was very inspiring and he’s a very entertaining speaker. It’s always exciting to see the early work of pioneers in the field, and we were lucky to see some pretty funky shorts he worked on before his professional career. I liked the G.I Joe doll getting jabbed to death by a slithering clay creature…

We were also treated to some before-and-after VFX scenes of The Spiderwick Chronicles, that Tippett Studio is just wrapping up. The shooting for the movie was completed about a year ago right here in Montreal. The designs and model work of the goblins we saw were amazing, and we were privileged to see a rough cut of a completed short scene. Good stuff.

So the week started off on a terrific note. And hey, looking to my right there was Syd Mead sitting in the audience. Great times ahead…

It’s //ADAPT 2007 week!

Posted on September 23rd, 2007 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais


The next few days will be busy. The second annual ADAPT conference starts on Monday in Montreal with the Keynote Address by Phil Tippett. I have a presentation of my own about CG careering on Friday morning. Two of my old colleagues, Robert Moodie and Jessy Veilleux, will also be guest speakers as well as Pierre Raymond, my ex-employer and CEO of Hybride. Just like last year there is a lot of fantastic material to check out and every night has its own cocktail, event or party.

I’ll be busy adding the final touches to my presentation all week. 1:45 hours is a long, long time and I want to give a good show.

I’ll try to have a few reports throughout the week…

See you in Montreal!

Speaking at //ADAPT 2007

Posted on August 17th, 2007 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais


I’ve had the honor of being invited to be a speaker at //ADAPT 2007 in Montreal, in the 2D/3D+ program. This conference is about artists and their craft; since I’m becoming more of a manager/producer, my presentation will focus around CG careering. Not just about getting a job in our industry, but also networking, career advancing, production best practices and yes, entrepreneurship.

I’ve got the key points I want to talk about, but I’m still polishing the details. Feel free to make any suggestions on what would be interesting to add in my 90 minute talk.

Hope to see you in Montreal this September.