On Thursday 11 October Framestore held live interviews with a range of its staff on Twitter. Some of the answers may be of interest so we have placed them below. Answering the questions were:
Mike Woods, Digital Creative Director. Mike was a founder of our Digital team here in London and has a vast creative and technical knowledge of all things gaming, social, web and experiential. His projects in 2012 have included real-time CGI for Coca-Cola Polar Bowl and the BA Street View app.
William Bartlett, Head of 2D (Commercials). William studied Mathematics at university but spent rather more time with a super-8 camera and some plasticine than with books on Fermat's last theorem. Good job he did as he's supervised some of our greatest work, from iconic adverts such as Guinness noitulovE, to Bond title sequences such as Casino Royale.
Sirio Quintavalle, VFX Supervisor. Sirio has gone from working on ground-breaking TV such as Walking with Dinosaurs to Hollywood, recently as VFX supervisor on Sherlock Holmes, a job that involved perilously dangling out of a helicopter in Switzerland in search of the perfect waterfall. He is currently hard at work on Samurai epic 47 Ronin.
Simon French, Deputy Head of 3D (Commercials). Simon gets to work on a huge range of projects, from Chemical Brothers promos, to award-winning Super Bowl ads such as Coca-Cola Siege. His brilliant creature work can be seen in Specsavers Koala and Lotto Monkey Sanctury.
Our recruiters, Anna and Celine, and Runner Team Leader Sonia were also available to answer any careers or runner-based questions, in fact they did most of the work!
Questions and Answers
Joshua Shepherd: How do you feel about the jump to 48fps film? (Following The Hobbit's example)
Mike: Bigger render farms…yikes!
Chris McQuillan: Whats the average life expectancy of a Framestore employee?
Mike: Well there's no one here over 50 it seems...
Juan Moore: What would be the average entry level salary at framestore?
Anna and Celine: depending on experience but competitive.
Mike: a bag of chips and a pint.
Aparna Jang: What current projects are you working on?
Framestore: RoboCop, Paddington Bear, Iron Man 3, Gravity, 47 Ronin and more McLaren Tooned. In NY Secret Life of Walter Mitty and more.
Steve Garry: Say I wanted to go into film but wanted a specialisation that was sought after what would you suggest?
Anna and Celine: Technical Directors, Shader Writers, MEL and Python scripting all highly sought after.
Yen Shu Liao: What level of skills do you look for in an animator or model artist?
Anna and Celine: We look for people with traditional skills such as life drawing or 2D animation as well as a relevant degree. Mainly potential.
Karen Morris: what's the key qualities you look for in a runner/new to the industry?
Framestore: Common sense, enthusiasm, ability to learn and makes a good cup of tea!
Daniel Sidi: be honest, do you ever look at show reels, or do you just employ people you've worked with before and their mates?
Framestore: OK, we'll be honest, we DO look at show reels!
Shane Griffin: Is it common for people to loose the will to live at your studio also?
Framestore: There is no looseness at Framestore, everything is very tight.
Fake H Kovalainen: who's your fave Man U player? (current and all-time)
Mike: Current: Bebe. All time: Cantona
Juan Moore : how many people do you have working for you at any given time? and which is the largest department?
Framestore : It fluctuates with projects. Right now we have 786 worldwide. Biggest department is film.
Ashraf Ghori : How do you budget for your projects - man hours, days, talent, machines?
Framestor e: Spot on ! The quote is based on all those things.
Arthur Nakkaka: How old are you?
Framestore: Ben Cronin is 34, but as a company we add up to more than 28,000 years!
Ashraf Ghori: Does most of your work happen in one location or divided over many offices or countries?
Framestore: It happens across both Europe and North America. We have four offices in Soho alone!
Michael Wilde: do you take graduates into film and if so what are you looking for in an applicant?
Framestore: Yes we do, we're looking for great talent. Your internship here will have really helped.
Duncan Kendall: How important is employee engagement to you? What do you do to encourage random interaction and collaboration?
Framestore: Pretty important! We've had 15 engagements and 8 children. Plenty of random interaction at the Christmas parties.
Roberto Raio: What kind of shots would you want to see in an Animator's showreel who is applying for a job? Realistic? Creatures? Acting?
Frametsore: we want to see all of those! But different departments have different requirements, but we love photo-real.
Che: Do you only hire humans? I was born a #zombie
Frametsore: Well, we do have night shifts #thriller
Daniel Sidi : Sirio do you have dedicated Realflow / fluids crews or is that outsourced? Also, anyone going to Realflow gig at MPC tonight?
Sirio: mainl y Naiad for f luid sims, don't outsource, are you coming to my Sherlock talk at Framestore tonight? Lots of fluid stuff.
Ibo Kalan: what do you look for in a Roto/prep reel? How big is your Roto film department?
Framestore: We currently have 35 in the team (including at Bournemouth outpost) check this job ad for what we look for: http://careers.framestore.com
Samantha Roper: would you employ someone as a junior from outside the company or would they have to work up from a runner with you?
Framestore: We employ runners, juniors and graduates. Depends on the strength of you reel and the stage of the project.
Mickey Bowen : Were any new tools written for the pipeline on Sherlock Holmes 2?
Sirio : yes, we had to develop some new tools to deal with the huge volume of data in the waterfall shot.
Alex Jevon : Does your commercials dept hire Softimage types or should I give in and learn Maya?
Simo n: We work in Maya and Houdini, but if you're talented your skills would be transferable.
Sander Van Dijk: how long should a compositing showreel be? Is 2 minutes too long?
Ben: Two minutes is fine, but only put in your best work.
Dusmus: do you hire foreigners in your NYC office ? If so do you provide visas, etc ?
Framestore: A lot of the people in the New York Office aren't American, but the Visa depends on your skills!
Josh Curtis: what do you look for in a FX TD?
Framestore: Long hair! (Also scripting skills, and proficiency in Maya/Houdini)
Sander Van Dijk: Is it mainly Nuke that is used for compositing, or Fusion as well?
Framestore: Just Nuke in film. And in Commercials it's Smoke, Flame and Nuke (Flame if you're cool says Sirio).
Mickey Bowen: What's the longest render time you've ever had and for which project? #askframestore
Framestore: We don't know, it's still rendering...
Chris Page: Do you still have random people coming into the noel street office thinking they can buy a coffee from the kitchen area?
Framestore: Yes, yes we do!