The Scope of Sarah Hill

Walt Disney once said that “animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.” It can be a window into the mind of its creator. No other medium has quite the same ability to capture and bring to life the infinitesimal space of the imagination. For Sarah Hill, recently hired as Animation Supervisor in the 3D Department, this is exactly one of the aspects that originally attracted her to this art form.

“What excites me about computer animation is the ability to express emotions and personality in limitless ways, in making things come alive and giving them character,” says Hill. “The potential for the medium always amazes me, and keeps me interested and curious. In every different style of animation that I have worked in, the mix of technology and art is constantly inspiring.”

Hill brings an exciting pool of knowledge, both professionally and culturally to the job. After completing a degree in English Literature and travelling to Australia , Asia, and South America , she knew that creativity needed to be a fundamental part of her future and decided to focus on the two things she loved most – words and pictures, a natural springboard to animation. With this is mind, she studied 3D Animation and, shortly after graduating, landed a job animating for a TV show at Klick Animation in Montreal.

Continue reading

Anthony Michael Hall Visits VFS

For Acting students immersed daily in the process of becoming an actor, it is easy to develop the sense that actually being a working actor is a distant, even unattainable, fantasy. But Anthony Michael Hall provided a much needed antidote to this fear by offering a view from within the industry that students found accessible and approachable.

“He’s been in this business for 20 years, and it’s so nice to see somebody so humble and not jaded,” says student Magda Apanowicz . “It was something of an epiphany for me to realize that I’m really doing this for myself, not for anybody else.”

Continue reading

Film Grad is Assistant Director for Major Korean Studio

The Korean film industry is booming. And with the recent critical success of features like Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.and Spring, and the Cannes Grand Prix and Best Director winner, Old Boy, the world outside Asia is beginning to take notice.

Jin-Yong Cho knew he wanted to be part of this growing film industry. After studying Cinematography at Kongju Communications Art College, he worked as a gaffer and grip on Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors ( Oh! Soo-Jung ), a feature screened at Cannes and directed by internationally respected Sang-Soo Hong.

Still, he felt like he could be doing more. Jin knew he needed training and skills to climb the notoriously long ladder to becoming a Director. So he packed his bags and moved from his home near Seoul to study Film Production at VFS.

Continue reading

The Art of Integration

Sound Design VFSIt is one thing to talk about integration, quite another to practice it. Sound design – and post-production in general – is now a more important part of filmmaking than at any time in the history of film. Certain genres, for instance horror, have always relied heavily on sound or sets of sounds to create characters. But technological progress in areas like dialogue recording now allows post-producers to change the direction of a piece long after on-set shooting is complete. In the film industry, this means that sound designers and directors work more closely than ever during the production process. As much as sound specialists remain very much behind the scenes, they have essential roles needing to be understood by students of both Film and Sound. But integrating the institutional cultures and curricula of distinct programs is not always easy. Pulling together staff, students and instructors, coordinating meetings, work plans and deadlines can be a nightmare if it is not handled properly. For this reason, the Sound Design campus and Film department have been steadily normalizing relations over the past year, to the point where the two programs are now able to harmonize their efforts and produce short films with superior soundtracks.

“Having quality sound is an essential part of any good film,” says Sound Design instructor Alex Macfarlane, who is responsible for orchestrating much of his department’s collaboration with Film. “Sound designers play a very specific role in the development of a film, which often involves creating a soundtrack that matches the vision of the director or producer. Because of the integration we’re doing, our students are experiencing this now in a way that could never have happened before.”

For Film students, working collaboratively with colleagues in the Sound Design program gives directors a chance to interact with sound editors, emulating the relationship professional directors have with sound studios. “Before we started doing this, sound production tended to be tacked on to student film projects as something of an afterthought,” says Trent Hignell, Post-Production Supervisor in the Film department. “The sound production for most films would be sent out of the school, where a generic soundtrack would be added. Now, our students get a genuine feel for what it’s like to work with a sound studio.”

Contact between departments generally begins with a spotting session , where the director leads a Sound team through a frame-by-frame analysis of the film. After this initial attempt to communicate the film project’s soundscape, directors work closely with sound editors during the next week to ten days. “The way it works the Sound Design campus serves like an outside post-production studio whose client is the Film department, says Hignell. “It’s a great training ground for the students, and the people at Sound have been great about establishing the relationship.”

For film students – who have generally been working on their projects for at least two months before they interact with sound designers – being able to hand the film over to completely fresh sets of eyes and ears allows the film to be taken to an altogether new level. “It gives our students a tremendous advantage in the professional world,” says Macfarlane. “Having technical skills is one thing, but there is no substitute for experience, and students here are getting that.”

While the complexity of resolving scheduling and technological conflicts at times poses difficulties for instructors and students, those involved agree the benefits of integration are well worth the occasional headache. “There are definitely going to be bumps along the way as we do this,” says Hignell. “But there is no question this integration is beneficial for our students. They are coming out of the program already sound-savvy, so that by the time they start to work in the industry they already know how to collaborate with, and give direction to, sound editors.”