Animation and visual effects are global businesses. Companies around the world collaborate to produce incredible visuals for motion pictures, broadcast and games. Whether or not you will work with companies based in other countries is no longer an issue. The question now is, with whom?
For those companies looking for talent or international exposure, the fmx conference in Stuttgart, Germany is ideal. A collegiate, congenial atmosphere pervades the conference conducted by Thomas Haegele, a professor from Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, a university with an emphasis on visual effects, animation and games.
fmx/07, the 12th International Conference on Animation, Effects, Realtime and Content, will take place May 1-4.
Participating companies not only showcase their newest projects, but also meet talented animators and visual effects artists from around the world at the recruiting event. Last year there were more than 5,000 attendees (a 40% increase from the previous year). Recruiters had a wide range of talent to choose from. This truly international conference attracted attendees from more than 32 countries, including China, India, Canada and the U.S. I was one of more than 300 international presenters at last year's conference in Stuttgart. Fortunately for me, all presentations were in English.
The Recruiting Event is a first class job market for young talents. Last year many attendees in the recruiting event received job offers. There are recruiting sessions in the morning where HR managers from 22 international companies will outline their needs, and talk about their projects -- from industry giants such as DreamWorks to smaller, boutique companies from Europe.
Rebecca Guymer, HR assistant, Lionhead Studios, a division of Microsoft Games Studio, is looking forward to her first visit to fmx this year. She hopes to meet "a good range of animators interested in working in the U.K. games industry." She decided to participate in the recruiting sessions because "fmx has a great reputation as a European answer to SIGGRAPH. Generally, it's difficult to find a few good people at a time; we hope the fmx recruitment fair will solve that for us because it's in Europe and has a large focused audience."
Don't miss the recruiting sessions at noon on Wednesday and Thursday, Professions in Animation and Professions in Effects, moderated by AWN co-founder and publisher Dan Sarto, and an internationally recognized recruiter/career coach, yours truly. These panels will explore the professions in animation and visual effects to give attendees an overview of the industry and what it takes to succeed.
At noon on Friday, the panel Professions in Games will be hosted by Matthew Jeffery, head of European studio recruitment, Electronic Arts. Be sure to attend if you want to know how to build a successful career in the games industry. Experts will give advice on how to approach employers, how to market yourself, different techniques in writing CVs and cover letters, women's important role in gaming's future, how to make an impression so that potential employers will interview you and what constitutes a killer showreel. If you are looking for a career in games and you want to stay one step ahead of your friends and colleagues, the panel Professions in Games is essential viewing.
On Thursday from 5:00-8:00 pm, attendees can get personalized critiques of their work by representatives from Disney. In Kepler Studio B, Disney representatives will give an industry view of the skills required for success as well as information about the best ways to present a reel and showcase a portfolio.
Dawn Rivera-Ernster, director of talent development, at Disney Animation, states, "fmx is a an essential conference for talent relations for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Our artistic and technical speakers have been tied to the show for several years to share new and upcoming opportunities at Disney Animation. The conference is smart, informative and provides access to Europe's digital film, television and vfx communities."
DreamWorks will also host a session covering in-depth recruitment and job-related issues. Introduce yourself to the DreamWorks team from 5:00-8:00 pm in Kepler Studio B on Friday.
At fmx/07, the recruiting sessions are scheduled for 10:00 and 11:00 am on May 2-4 in the Bertha-Benz-Saal (large room/hall). Most of the companies making presentations will have recruiting desks in the afternoon and they welcome applicants.
Don't miss the recruiting desks from 2:00-7:00 pm in the Eyth-Saal On Wednesday you can visit with Crytek, Datascope, Double Negative, Lionhead, Parasol Island, RTT AG and Walt Disney Animation. On Thursday afternoon, you can meet with Aardman, Double Negative, DreamWorks, Framestore, Lionhead, Scanline, Sony and Disney. On Friday, talk with EA Phenomic, Framestore, Liga01, Locomotion, Lucas Arts, Mackevision, Scanline, The Moving Picture Co. and Trixter.
Claire Anderson of Datascope Recruitment has not been to fmx before but believes it is important to have a presence at fmx so that prospective candidates can find out what opportunities Datascope can offer. Anderson says, "For our clients it is beneficial as we are there promoting them and making sure that people consider them when they are looking for work."
Vic Rodgers, HR manager of Double Negative, visited fmx for the first time last year. She recalls, "My first day working for Double Negative involved getting on a plane and flying to fmx, I'm not sure what I expected. We took part in a panel, I saw Shelley Page [of DreamWorks] speak and went to a talk by Rhythm & Hues. I then met over 200 bright applicants keen to work at Double Negative. By the end of the day I was convinced I'd made the right move judging from the creative drive, problem solving, technical skills and vision of these amazing people."
Dawn Rivera-Ernster of Disney adds, "Our CG supervisors have fostered relationships with several attendees from past fmx conferences that continue today. A shared belief of excellence in art and design has resulted in amazing connections to artists and technicians. We look forward to 2007."
Double Negative's Vic Rodgers notes, "fmx provides a gateway for me into Europe. fmx has a warmth, buzz and energy. I like its intimacy: there's a genuine sense of camaraderie and you can sense people's passion and excitement. I can meet budding vfx professionals and graduates who have flocked to fmx from across the continent to be part of it. It saves me a lot of traveling."
fmx was founded in 1994 by Haegele of the Film Akademie. "...fmx has grown into the primary European meeting of the digital community," he suggests. "This leading event for digital content creation, animation, effects, games and post-production, attracting visitors from all over Europe as well as speakers from all over the world. fmx is a community-experts exchange ideas, experiences and insights with an audience who shares and understands their goals and aspirations. fmx is about networking. Join us and let us celebrate together."
fmx is a fun, informative and exciting conference. I look forward to seeing you there. For more info, go to www.fmx.de.
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist, career coach and speaker, available for personal consultations and speaking engagements. If you are interested in her professional services as a career coach, speaker or recruiter, contact her at PamRecruit@aol.com.