TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT ILM, AND HOW LONG YOU’VE BEEN IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
I have been in the film industry for 16 years. It is surprising how fast time goes when you are genuinely having a fun time. My role at ILM is a VFX Producer role. I oversee the schedule and budget for several projects by partnering with the VFX and CG Supervisors. I recently finished ‘Ready Player One’ and I am working on delivering ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.
’WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN COURSE OF STUDY IN SCHOOL?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) at The University of Newcastle in Australia and I knew back then I wanted to be a Producer. I remember my Dad telling me a Science Degree would be a better option. It is funny how I have ended up in such a scientific part of film making in computer graphics.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO VISUAL EFFECTS?
My original dream was to Produce live action projects. I grew up in 80s and we would watch films like ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Neverending Stor’y and ‘The Labrynth’ over and over. I was obsessed. My first “real” role in the industry was as a Production Assistant working in Animation at DisneyToon Studios and I fell in love with the process. It was a natural progression to combine live action and my computer graphics animation experience and move into visual effects.
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING POINT IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW DID YOU RISE ABOVE IT AND PERSEVERE?
Every project has its own specific challenges and that is regardless of where you are in your career. It is what I love about the job – trying to understand all the different personalities and how to get a team to work together with the same creative vision. On a personal level, my husband is in the industry and we have moved countries twice and had two children while maintaining full time careers so that has been challenging for us both to juggle. I have had great support.
DID YOU HAVE SPECIFIC FEMALE MENTORS OR ROLE MODELS THAT HELPED PUSH YOU FORWARD?
I have worked with some incredible women in all types of roles over the years. A lot of the times it is the people you work alongside who help you grow because you are working to help them also deliver their portion of the project. I would call out a few specific ladies who were my direct managers and who really helped me grow over the years: Danielle Legovich, Kara Piersimoni, Sandra Scott and Amber Naismith.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA?
Just keep swimming.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE FILM INDUSTRY CAN BETTER ENCOURAGE GIRLS AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES TO GET INVOLVED IN FILMMAKING?
The women I know all hold their own in their roles. They are amazing. We need to trust more women to take on active roles within the industry and keep allowing women in the industry to talk about their experiences and share their knowledge to inspire the next generation of filmmakers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN CONSIDERING FILM, AND SPECIFICALLY VISUAL EFFECTS, AS A CAREER CHOICE?
Do it. There is no limit to creativity. You will breathe the films you are working on for all hours of the day (and night), but it will be worth when you see it for the first time on the big screen. Every person on a project has a part to play. Remember you have a voice even when you think you don’t. Have fun.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE HER CAREER TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Work hard at the job and prove you are the best at your current level. You won’t get promoted before you can do your current role well. Try and focus on the people around you: listen to them, learn from them, watch them.
HOW CAN MEN BE BETTER ALLIES TO WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE?
I have been lucky to work with some fantastic men in my career and foster great trust and partnerships. We could hire more women in visual effects – especially in creative and technical roles – and men have a role to play in that, the same as other women do.