I had to go freelance as a VFX (visual effects) artist in Hollywood if I wanted to go far. While having a full-time job means stability, that’s not the working culture in Hollywood’s VFX industry. I got my “break” in Hollywood via a VFX internship in 2013 to work on Stargate Studio’s shows like NBC’s Dracula and The Walking Dead.
I chanced upon the internship flyer at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), where I studied visual effects. After rounds of interviews, I was selected.
As a project-based freelancer, the flexibility gives me access to more job opportunities than a full-time job. Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Effects from SCAD in 2014, I’ve worked on films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy. I was in charge of making the 3-D effects. Last year, I worked on the visual effects for movies like Aquaman and The Tax Collector. The teams I work with can be as small as three people to as big as working with multiple VFX studios in the US and globally.
Sometimes, I work 80 hours a week. Freelance VFX artists make at least US$40 ($55) per hour, more than a full-time employee. You can choose how much work you want to take on, and when you want to take a break.
After a few projects, the studios asked me to take on more work. But the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen fewer jobs, although I still have projects to work on during this period.
My interest in film started when my dad gave me a camcorder. I found my creative outlet at 14. In 2011, I graduated from Singapore Polytechnic’s Digital Media course, specialising in computer-generated effects. The VFX and animation industry is male-dominated but I’ve not faced any discrimination as a woman. I’m now back in Singapore and I’m making use of the time to teach visual effects production on online learning platforms like Udemy.
I want to introduce people to the world of visual effects. It’s really fun and I enjoy sharing the knowledge with those living outside the US or others who don’t have access to such opportunities in their countries. I hope to encourage more Singaporeans to venture out to pursue their passion and expand their horizons.
This article was first published in Her World’s July issue. Grab a copy today!