Blairgowrie High School Virtual Work Placement

One week Virtual Work Experience in Visual Effects and Animation

Blairgowrie High School has teamed up with legendary visual effects (VFX) company Industrial Light and Magic founded by George Lucas to create the special effects for Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter etc. to provide their S3 learners with a unique week long virtual work experience.

In an action-packed five-day programme, some of ILM’s London-based animators and artists will lead a series of virtual lessons, giving students an insight into working in the VFX industry.

The overarching aim of the project is to give learners at rural schools like Blairegowrie unique insight into the work and careers within the VFX industry and at the same time to develop their IT, creativity and employability skills.

Melissa Lawrence, DYW Officer at Blairgowrie worked with Amy Blackwell from ILM to set up a 5 day programme which provides learners with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of VFX related workshops such as:

• VFX Overview of pipeline
• Intro to Storytelling
• Intro to Art Department
• What is Mood Board
• Intro to Production 101
• Intro to DMS Modelling
• Intro to FX
• Intro to Animation
• Intro to R&D
• Intro to Lighting
• Intro to Layout
• Intro to Compositing/Paint
• Intro to Texture
• Get to know TV

What will learners gain from the experience?

• They will experience what it’s like working in the VFX industry.
• Gain knowledge of the VFX pipeline and how different departments work and
• Meet an array of artists and animators from various departments across the
• They will take part in interactive individual and group activities throughout the week that give an insight into our work and what a career in animation and VFX involves.
• They will have the chance to create a storyboard and present their work for feedback before branching out into an area of interest (from design through to coding and production).
• Hear from senior and junior staff about their roles and routes into the industry.
• Understand more about our support departments such as HR, Training, Talent and Recruitment.
• Be encouraged to do research during the week (either independently or in small teams).

This experience is suited for learners that are:
• team players
• hard working
• keen to try new things
• interested in one or more of the following: Art & Design, Engineering, Coding/Maths, Computer Science

What skills/experience will learners gain:
• Understanding how a business operates
• Communication and presentation skills
• Problem solving
• Professional etiquette
• Time management and confidence

How is this Virtual Work Placement experience structured?

• Learners will work for a 5 days of timetable (9.45 – 15.30) to engage in online sessions delivered by mentors form ILM and supported by school staff.
• After a serious of introductory workshops, learners are able to choose an area of personal interest to work in teams of 5 on a set project.
• The outcomes of the project will be presented to ILM at the end of the week and feedback will be provide to pupils by company representatives.
• Pupils will also have the opportunity to meet with junior talents including graduates and runners. Discussion will be centred on their experience and career pathways in the industry.

What equipment is required?
• Notepad (for notetaking)
• Plain paper/ sketchbook
• Pens/pencils
• 1 x desktop machine per student (ipad, PC, laptop with internet access)

Other things to note:
• Students will need to have online access at 9:45am – 3:30pm each day for the majority of the placement.
• It is recommend to have one camera on throughout the placement working hours so we have visibility of the whole classroom (like we would have in person). During team discussions, we encourage all team members to be visible on the video call on the device of choice (ipad or laptop). This is to ensure everyone gets the best possible experience throughout their virtual placement.

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