That’s right! Not only did I move from Brisbane to Vancouver but I got a job at the exact company I was aiming for – Double Negative Visual Effects!
I’ve been interested in working for them ever since I saw their work on Inception (2010) and then Eva in Ex Machina (2015).
Click here to see what is in production currently.
Currently I’m in my third week there working on a film (oooh mysterious!). It’s a much bigger facility than I’m used to with about 400 employees in the Vancouver office but everyone I’ve met there is totally lovely.
They’re teaching me how to use Linux and how to handle viewing my shots on a bigger screen without cringing.
Bit by bit, I will teach them about my punny sense of humour. I don’t want to PUNish them too quickly.
2:30am – for whatever reason, I can’t sleep. Then like a little Dobby that appears out of thin air, the thought hits me: “Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts! Oh and Stephanie, DID YOU CHECK WHO WON THE SCHOLARSHIP?”
Yeesh, the winner’s been announced since yesterday and I’ve been too busy with animation and this “new” restaurant –
Yes. That is the yellow KFC we pulled into.
– to have even checked!
Fumbling in the dark for my phone, I flick to the World Nomads Travel Film Scholarship page. Here it goes, the first scroll down.
WINNER peaks out…….don’t bring your hopes up…read part of the name…”Andr-” – DANGIT. Not us.
The first thing you feel is this guy:
Just your typical AA meeting.
– but then you watch Andrés’ video and read his story and realise he’s a real travel go-getter. Like long-hair-part-beard citizen of the earth. He totally deserves it!
But still – dangit. Then begins the slow scroll-down through the RUNNER’S UP (in no particular order). Where are we, where are we, well we didn’t get a bloody email so we’re probably not here……nothing.
Shoot. Then it’s the mad scroll of insanity through the final group: Shortlist (again, in no special order). Quick scan…come on!…nothing, nothing, noth- AHA!!! In small beautiful letters:
Doth my eyes deceive me??????
Ok, so they spelt the name ‘Brisbane’ incorrectly and we didn’t win but WHO CARES!? WE DID IT BABY!
We (my boyfriend Jonathan and I) had entered the competition at the beginning of November. Get this – if your 3 minute film entry is chosen, not only do you win a 10-day trip to New Orleans, you get to make short travel films about the city and events like Mardi Gras. Our thoughts: Umm, making films, free trip AND huge party? Where do we sign up!?
This was our film:
– and out of 224 entries from around the world, we’re ecstatic we beat 200 other films to make the top 24 films!
Last year, we received a brilliant graduating speech from a ballet dancer who imparted wisdom that went something like:
As artists, we should not seek recognition for what we do. Often we will work hard and achieve something great but it will go unnoticed. We should do what we do not for the accolades and recognition, but because we are passionate about our art.
I agree with him 100%.
However I do have to say, for someone like myself who has thought they could only excel in academia, has watched friends enter Cannes Film Festival, seen her brother bring home piles of plaques for cinematography and in general is surrounded by AMAZEBALLS human beings, being recognised for your passion with a silly little duck film feels preeeetttyyy damn good.
STEPHANIE and A CRAZILY WELL-INTEGRATED KEY-FRAMED CG ROBOT FROM ELYSIUM request the pleasure of your company at:
Saturday, 24 August 2013
2. Ceremony and Reception Venue:
18 Paradise Rd
Third Arm of the Star
Elysium Habitat, Outer Space.
It’s a stunning environment, partly created by digital sky replacement over Miami. If you’re commuting from the shockingly dirty slums of Earth, please remember to wipe your feet. We don’t want your diseases clinging to our impeccable doormats.
3. Finally, please ensure that all +1 guests are agreeable with the fact that the film Elysium is in fact AWESOME because of its story that doesn’t stuff around, solid character performances and partially in-cameraVFX/SFX elements that support the film rather than bore you to death with CG. To all those who don’t agree, please remain on Earth and continue to compare it to your VHS of District 9 (an equally awesome film), while Stephanie lives it up in a elitist habitat watching Elysium on her Super Hi-Def Awesome-Ray.
RSVP by seeing this movie immediately. Hope to see you there!
Ted’s ballin’. DON’T FORGET IT. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Ted himself is balllllllin’! That’s what the rapper 50 Cent would say. That bear is brilliantly composited into the shot. Then Fiddy would invite Mark Wahlberg to his Candy Shop to tell him –
2. “Yo Marky Mark, you’re bear-ly making eye contact”. Seriously Mark, haaaavveee you met Bob Hoskins? He could make “eye-contact” with a 2D Roger Rabbit, why can’t you make eye contact with Ted? I mean, he’s right next to you on the cou- what? Whadda ya mean Ted’s not really there? He’s a mo-capped CG character?! THAT’S IMPAWSIBLE!
3. Ok, not to have a grizzly view on everything, but the sound is tinny and the plot is bear-ly there. It’s one of those stories where you can’t totally identify the obstacles. You start losing focus and thinking about what’s for dessert. Pretty claw-ful right? If MacFarlane had just thought about building a paws-ible climax, I wouldn’t be stuffed from my distracting brownie dessert; I’d be all stitched up from paying attention to the jokes along the way.
“Hey Stephanie, hit us with one more terrible teddy bear pun.”
Someone maul her. Make it stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Star Trek: Into Darkness (J. J. Abrams, 2013) *SPOILER ALERT*
1. “Captain Zulu, proceed to new and improved warp speed.”
Instead of ye olde lens distortion, there’s a trail of warp particles left lingering behind. And when I heard how you travel through the trail with stereoscopic vision, it’s one of the only times I’ve regretted watching a film in 2D.
What happens when gravity malfunctions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Great action scenes that use VFX appropriately: The “roly-poly” scene (where the ship’s internal gravity malfunctions) wouldn’t work without CG props falling to indicate the direction of gravity. The garbage barge, “can of whoop-ass” scene? Wouldn’t work without awesome keying and flying barges (obviously). Let’s not forget ANY SHOT INVOLVING A SPACESHIP. Shield your eyes people, the rays of awesome are blinding!
3. I wish I had something to complain about, but I don’t. That’s not to say it’s the most amazing film ever, but it’s definitely a safe sequel that ticks the boxes for entertainment.
Storyline/pacing/cast performance: all up to scratch!
Sure some people found the underwear scene offensive, but seriously – who cares? At least it wasn’t a Megan Fox crotch shot. Hmm, need something to poke at…ooh, ooh, I know! Cumberbatch! Great name, huh?
1.Tracking = dayyy-aammnn. Even when the camera pans and zooms, the characters are definitely looking at a fixed position in thin air where the non-jittery holograms exist. And that suit! When Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) walks around with a half-formed suit, or gets out of it, you can’t help but think it’s really attached to him. And in this VFX breakdown, where are the tracking markers on this character? Markerless, you say? DAY-AMN!
Awwnhh, you need a cuddle Flopsy the rotoscoper? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2.The background replacement in the monkey-barrel scene is incredible. Painting around real falling humans? Sounds like some rotoscopers lost some sleep. Someone get those Digital Domain guys 10CCs of sympathy cuddles, stat!
3. I found the pacing to be lacking a bit and frankly, my cat would have been a scarier version of the villain Mandarin (refer above) than Guy Pearce. Hell hath no furry like a kitty scorned. At least in the disappointing Iron Man 2, the villain was slightly better, like – “OMG, I HAVEN’T SHAVED MY LEGS IN TWO WEEKS!–
THE HORROR! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
– kind of scary (FYI, the lovely legs in that link are not mine). As my boyfriend pointed out, everything needed to be a little more “rock and roll”, so let’s speed up the tempo and add some more evil!
The Croods – Give Eep some angst by removing her mother.
The Croods (Chris Sanders, 2013)
1.To the visual effects department: all the simulations were beautiful. The dust clouds were fluffy and the fur had a beautifully ‘sheepskin run’ quality about it.
Deep, man, deep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Character designs = wonderful! This includes fanciful takes on what prehistoric animals could have been, à la flying turtles and land whales. It’s actually a very clever ploy to suck in the audience so that our experience of a new world parallels that of the Croods so that we become Croods ourselves. Woah, analysis = deep.
3. It’s rare to see an animated family with the parents both intact (The Incredibles is one) and I think there’s a reason for it.
The crux of the movie revolves around a father-daughter struggle where the mother’s existence is superfluous. In fact, she hinders a potentially more angst-ridden relationship struggle for the daughter, like Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon or the poster child for angst, Harry Potter.
Now I can have a satisfying movie experience AND ignore Hitler! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I can prove it – squint one eye, raise your thumb and whenever the mother – Ugga – comes on screen, cover her face and block your ears. Wow, the movie continues seamlessly! I honestly think she’s just a baby carrier. How insulting. And on another note, even though I was entertained while watching it, I would have much preferred The Croods to have been the Aardman claymation – Crood Awakening – John Cleese set out for it to be. Hello, I’m a 90s kid, and I will watch anything reminiscent of the cavemen TV series Gogs!
1. What went right: the seamless fusion of the wings to the Pegasi (my plural for Pegasus), the subtly convincing, venom veins (woo, alliteration!) on Perseus’ arm and the kraken. Kraken = money scene. Brilliantly designed creature.
2. What went wrong: unoriginality. A lot of reviews rip on the CG but I think it’s the writers’/director’s fault the plot makes any VFX flaws stick out like a sore thumb. However, I do have to say, why didn’t they design original effects? Why did they choose to pick Hades to materialise like a dementor? He could have entered in a much more evil Lindsay Lohan kind of way. And why is Medusa so humanoid? The design has been seen before, let’s think for ourselves people!
3. My remarks throughout the whole movie:
Hades needs sex-ifying. Get Draco to slap some tan on him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
‘Hey, isn’t that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) playing Hades?’
‘Hey, isn’t that Mr Tough Danish Bond villain (Mads Mikkelsen) playing Mr Tough Greek captain guy?’
‘Hey, isn’t that the captain from 300 (Vincent Regan) playing a Greek king?’
‘Hey, isn’t that Dr Jekyll from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Jason Flemyng) playing Greek Dr Jekyll?’
The biggest problem I had (besides bad storyboarding and writing) is this jumble of characters ripped from other roles. It’s like they grabbed every actor who resembles one cast character in another movie, slapped fake tan and eyeliner on them and BOOM! – you’re Greek. Do we have no faith in choosing other actors for a role they haven’t played before?
And on a more important note, I loved the mismatching accents. I REFUSE to watch a tale about Greek mythology UNLESS it stars actors who keep their Downton Abbey English, their Taken Scottish and their rinky-dink Australian accents. True blue blokes.