Vision & Craft: Q&A

Meet the Women of ILM – Jayne Pong

A Q&A series

Tell us about your role at ILM, and how long you've been in the film industry.

ILM was my first step into the film industry! I joined ILM as a production accountant in May 2015 working alongside the production and global finance teams to set and forecast the budgets for feature productions.

In late 2017, I transitioned into a financial analyst role where I work with department leaders providing financial support and analyses to local teams.

What is your background? What was your main course of study in school?

My main course of study in university was accounting. I obtained my Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) Designation articling at the global accounting firm, PwC, specializing in audit and tax for a number of industries, including technology and mining.

What inspired you to go into visual effects?

I always found the world of visual effects extremely fascinating! The ability to transform imagination into realism portraying things that would only exist in one’s mind has always been something by which I was awestruck. When I saw the job posting for a position at ILM, I knew I could not pass this opportunity up. I am continuously amazed by the magic our artists create. Working alongside such great talent on the daily inspires me to do better and be better, and to constantly improve. The strides they take to achieve the impossible are inspirational and truly out of this world!

What was the most challenging point in your career and how did you rise above it and persevere?

When I left public practice accounting and started at ILM, it was a huge change. I was learning about an industry I didn’t previously know much about, using new tools, and working alongside people who had totally different career backgrounds than me. I was fortunate to have great support from both our local and global teams, so while it was challenging initially, I got comfortable pretty quickly!

Did you have specific female mentors or role models that helped push you forward?

While I was articling at PwC, I worked with a team of amazing female leaders who encouraged me to seek opportunities that best suited my skill set, even if that meant taking on an uncomfortable role/project. They challenged me in new ways to further my development, including coaching younger staff, involving me in important meetings with clients and having me present issues to them, and hosting/teaching webinars to seasoned tax practitioners.

What's your favorite motivational mantra?

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. – Gail Sheehy

Don’t estimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak, & notice more than you realize. - Unknown

How do you think the film industry can better encourage girls and women of all ages to get involved in filmmaking?

The industry needs to showcase and celebrate their female successes more prominently. The advertisement of equal opportunity in the industry alone is simply not sufficient. The industry could sponsor events that cater to a female demographic, put on courses/sessions for women, and produce featurettes on female-driven productions for circulation online, in print, or on cable. The industry needs to take action and make efforts to ensure that the policies in place to promote equal opportunity.

What advice would you give to women considering film, and specifically visual effects, as a career choice?

If you are an extremely creative and talented woman, the visual effects industry offers many amazing and exciting career opportunities allowing you to work alongside many other brilliant individuals in a technologically cutting-edge field. The industry is very inclusive and employs a broad range of people coming from various ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds. The industry is challenging and ever-evolving, as the technology and the roles within it are always changing. The opportunities in this industry are indefinite and only limited by one’s imagination and determination.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take her career to the next level?

I’d advise anyone that in order to take your career to the next level, you’ll need to work hard and be open to accepting new opportunities and challenges. Celebrate your major accomplishments and achievements with your team and management. Continually focus on ways to develop your skills, so that you’ll be in a better position to realize future challenges and opportunities that allow you to achieve your career goals sooner.

How can men be better allies to women in the workplace?

Men can be better allies to women in the workplace by celebrating their female colleagues’ successes and accomplishments in order to boost their confidence and encourage a more positive outlook in the workplace, and encouraging women to advance into greater roles.