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Life After SCAD – Brian Lesiangi

Tell us about yourself!

I’m currently working as a CG Artist at Psyop LA. A vfx house specializing in creative commercials.

Did you have this job when you graduated? If not, how long did it take you to get this job? 

Yeah, I received my offer while in school.

How is the animation industry different than what you expected it would be before you graduated? 

Definitely a lot less stressful than I initially thought. You no longer need to think about work after office hours, much different than SCAD life where you work 24/7.

What advice do you have for seniors applying for jobs? 

The first thing is to look at other school student reels for sure. Most students tends to not check their competition and thinks that their work is good enough to overcome the fact that SCAD is in the east coast. The next big thing is to reach out to your seniors who are in the industry and ask for their feedback. I’ve had a few alumni who took me under their wings after seeing my first reel. That helps me improve a lot.. in terms of reel quality and company interviews. In my case, they helped my land direct interviews with Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Blizzard Cinematic. Please be mindful when you reach out to us and we’ll try to get back as much as we can.

What has been the hardest thing to adjust to moving on from SCAD into the industry? 

The fact that you have to start a new life from scratch is intimidating to me. Especially when I realized that the networking game has just started.

What film did you work on at SCAD? What was is like, and what was your role? What advice would you give to Seniors working on their student films currently? 

I helped a few film but “Godspeed” was my biggest animated short film that I worked on. I was the Art Director and VFX Supervisor for the short. Helped lit and compose a few key shots while working on my own thesis film “Balinese Temple”, a real-time cinematic experience of my home town. Keep.It.Simple.Stupid. Students tends to work on a huge project for their films. I get that you want to create the best film ever for festivals, etc. But it’s always better to focus on a smaller scale film that you can actually nurture. Check on Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks short films. They tend to make it a simple 1-2 characters with a clear scope for their environment. That way they can focus their resources on making it look great.

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?

As much as I like Godspeed, my thesis has been a better experience for me. The fact that I don’t need to wait for renders to update my scene is really nice.

What were some things at SCAD that you were a part of that helped prepare you for the industry?

I was a Graduate Mentor for quite a bit, and worked on two collaborative films. One of which were a mentoring class with The Mill NY where we had to present to them and get their feedback on the project every week.

What’s a typical day look like for you?

Now? Work, Dinner + Netflix and chill 🙂

What have you learned since working in the industry?

Efficient workflow and basic python helps troubleshooting a lot.

Did you have to relocate for your job?

Yes, it surprisingly went pretty well.

What are your career goals for the future?

Hopefully I can get into a feature studio as soon as I get my visa arranged. The biggest hurdle for international students like me.

What is the most surprising thing about the industry to you?

Having a basic knowledge in scripting makes a huge difference. You don’t realize how much easier your life will be if you know basic Python *cheers for Prof. Malcolm*

What software do you find yourself using the most in the industry?

Maya and Zbrush. As a generalist, I use both the most while occasionally open Substance for texturing. Recently, I prefer to work procedurally to minimize the need for texturing.

If you could do anything differently when you were at SCAD, what would it be?

Take another scripting/OSL class with Malcolm and drop the modeling class I took. I have a basic knowledge in 3D before I started SCAD, so having a better understanding on how programming works will make my work so much easier. This is very true if you want to pursue LookDev path.

Thank you so much to Brian for taking the time to do this interview with us! Wanna see more of his work? Check him out in Instagram, Artstation, LinkedIn, Vimeo, or his Website!

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