Annabelle Kent graduated from the VFS Digital Design Program back when it was known as New Media (2001), and since then her career has had a lot of great highlights: she’s worked with such Visual Effects studios as Anthem Visual Effects, Zoic Studios, and Rising Sun Pictures (in Australia) on TV shows like Tin Man, Sanctuary, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and V, and on films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2, Red Tails, The Hunger Games and Prometheus. We caught up with her to talk about life post-VFS, her professional success, and her new job as Digital Compositor at Image Engine.
OOMPH : When you first went to VFS in the New Media Program what were your professional ambitions?
Annabelle Kent : I always wanted to get into film and video. At first, I wanted to be a Documentary Filmmaker. But I also really liked Animation and Visual Effects. I went to be a workstudy at the Banff Centre after VFS because they had the Avid there and I was using it to help the artists in residence, while also learning about non-linear editing. It was a natural step from VFS, because I knew I needed to gain experience and learn from that.
O : So, when did you start to think of yourself as a Compositor?
AK : Well, at first, when I started working in VFX, they called me “Secretary” for the first year — I was actually an IO VFX Assistant Editor. I found it a bit boring. But after a year of that, I started to do Rotoscoping and Compositing. I basically trained myself on the job. But for all that, I think I’m just starting now to think of myself as a Compositor. I’m always learning.
O : What do you love about your work?
AK : I love great/epic shots. I love that the work is always changing. It’s always different. I love being a part of something that takes a lot of people, talent and hard work to accomplish. I think people can take that all for granted, but it’s not easy to make a film. I also love that it allows me to travel.
O : Are you still learning new things?
AK : I’m always learning something new — Whether it’s a new node or a proprietary node, a new technique, or just another way to solve or deal with a problem.
O : Can you tell us what you’re working on?
AK : Right now, I’m working on Elysium (aka Baja Dunes -ed.), which is starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. The director is Neill Blomkamp (District 9). Coming up, I’ll be working on R.I.P.D., starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Bacon. The story for that one is pretty cool: “A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department.”
O : How did your education at VFS help you in your professional life?
AK : Although I’m doing something a little different now, my time at VFS has allowed me to have the professional life that I wanted. It taught me how to learn and how to teach myself. Success comes from a lot of hard work and persistence.
O : If you had any advice for new graduates, what would it be?
AK : Not to give up. It’s tough in the beginning. Some people get it right away — they have more experience coming in. But for the majority, it takes time and you have to love what you do.
* * *
Congratulations to Annabelle on all her success! Have a look at her reel and you’ll see it’s all well earned!