By NAOMI GOLDMAN
The award-winning definitive authority on all things visual effects in the world of film, TV, gaming, virtual reality, commercials, theme parks, and other new media.
Winner of three prestigious Folio Awards for excellence in publishing.
By NAOMI GOLDMAN
Thanks to our regional VFX communities and their work to advance VES and bring people together, the Society’s global presence gets stronger every year. The VES New York Section continues to thrive with 200+ members from New Jersey, Connecticut and all across New York – forming a tightly knit tri-state VFX community, with professionals that encompass the diversity of feature film, television, commercials, gaming and art installations/special venues.
“The visual effects landscape here feels like a small town within the fabric of a big industry,” said Jose Marin, VES New York Section Chair. “Our region is home to a lot of small studios and many artists need to do multiple jobs, which creates both a bench of good general artists and a rich collaborative environment. And with our public transit system, it’s easy to take advantage of opportunities across New York and the rest of the region and further build that sense of camaraderie and shared experience.”
“The industry is healthier than ever, and our members and colleagues have never been busier,” said Tara Marie Jacobson, former VES New York Section Co-Chair. “The downside of the shift to more virtual work during the pandemic, is that new graduates entering the field don’t get as much time in the studio and the important learning that comes from face-to-face relationships. And so we are working to help bridge that gap in on-site mentorship and support the next generation of VFX talent.”
VES New York launched their virtual program, Live At 5, to great success. “Live At 5 started as an online space to hangout with fellow members and friends, where we would talk about everything from VES benefits offering support, like the Member Assistance Program, to interviews with studio representatives,” said Jacobson. “What started as a substitute for live events [during the pandemic] evolved into a rich ongoing discussion forum where people could gather and talk shop, like R&D on projects, and non-shop talk. Sponsors started joining the mix and get to know our members in an informal space, which has only strengthened our relationships to benefit the Section and our local industry. So Live at 5 keeps going!”
VES New York hosted virtual events on topics ranging from sessions on VR 360 light field captures and LED walls and primers on a number of evolving virtual production technologies, resources and opportunities for hands-on learning. The Section’s roster of programs also included virtual events that reached across the world to forge connections and partner with a shared vision of bringing VFX education to new and emerging VFX markets. The Section hosted a forum with Action VFX and GridMarkets that led to networking with communities in South Africa, Taiwan and Azerbaijan, and a burgeoning relationship with Afro FX and CG Africa to share ideas and extend opportunities for outreach and education.
As restrictions opened up to allow for in-person events, the Section has hosted a strong line-up of screenings and panel conversations, in partnership with the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City, and festive summer and holiday parties in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Section is continuing to plan and partner with other allied organizations, including the Producers Guild of America, to join areas of expertise to recruitment forums, reel/portfolio reviews and other ways to give guidance to professionals seeking to enter, transition or advance in the field.
The new Section Board of Managers has hit the ground running with an exciting slate of goals and initiatives. “With a larger number of Board members, who bring a spectrum of expertise and their passion projects, we are well poised to serve our members and the greater visual effects community,” said Marin. “I am grateful to work with such a dedicated group of professionals, who give of their volunteer time and talent. We have a lot of ideas to innovate our approach to programming and member services, so 2023 and beyond will be a great time to be a part of VES New York.”
One focus is to pilot educational programming with the global VES Education Committee to reach students and recent graduates and help build the pipeline of VFX professionals. This includes speaking engagements at both colleges/film schools and K-12 classrooms and building a database of VFX-oriented lesson plans.
The Section aims to recognize and profile its members – to shine a light on the exceptional talent in the Section and showcase them as role models to inspire new artists and innovators. This spotlight initiative will harness the Section’s social media and direct e-blasts to members, as well as some videos/webcasts in the spirit of the VES luminary interviews and Ask Me Anything; VFX Pros Tell All webcast series.
Last year, the Section surveyed members to take its pulse, and saw the highest demand for educational courses and tutorials, panels with industry leaders and content to learn fundamental business skills – from contracting and taxes and tips for freelancers. They are building out programs to meet the needs and interests of the members.
The Section is also committed to amplifying the benefits of VES membership, both to existing members and prospective members they plan to attract. “We are excited to personalize and reinforce the reasons why the VES is such a valuable asset to visual effects professionals, and encourage people to run for positions of leadership and serve on committees to have a hand in shaping the future of the Society as a while, our Section and our regional community,” said Marin. “VES is a great place to be a working professional and share our unique perspectives with one another. We are the sum of our collective experience and offer something really special throughout the world that we can be immensely proud of.”