How to get your foot in the VFX and animation door

Inside Cinesite’s LEAP program, plus details of the fairness, diversity and inclusion initiatives at the studio.

Visual effects and animation studio Cinesite recently launched its first ever ‘LEAP’ program in Montreal. The training program is designed to give applicants a guided entry into a role as Junior Artist in the studio’s Feature Animation division, where new artists will receive hands-on, practical training from world-class talent over a 10-week period.

Read on to find out key how to apply to the LEAP, and also about the many initiatives Cinesite has been implementing in terms of diversity within the studio.

LEAP: What is it, and how do you get in?

Cinesite’s Feature Animation division has been BUSY. It recently delivered Riverdance: The Animated Feature, and is currently at work on projects including Iwaju (Disney Animation), Blazing Samurai and Hitpig (Aniventure). Which means, there’s plenty of opportunities right now for new artists at the studio.

LEAP is a 10-week training program in Montreal aimed at immersing new talent in the behind the scenes of a production. You’ll be able to roll up your sleeves and receive on-the-job training to learn hands-on techniques that will be invaluable throughout your career path, all the while working closely with the Animation team to properly interpret and implement creative concepts and client specifications.

Inside the studio at Cinesite Montreal.

Cinesite Montreal’s core values and culture are based on fairness and equity as well as creating a workplace environment that allows for all crew members, whether junior or senior, to share ideas freely and feel valued. These guiding principles are at the core of the LEAP program and one of the reasons why the studio created it.

The Cinesite Montreal team is dedicated to offer exciting career paths to crew and help them along the way to a blossoming career. Through this exclusive program, Cinesite aims to broaden its talent pool by attracting diverse candidates and offering structured support.

The pilot LEAP program will run in Montreal in Cinesite’s Animation department first, and then will be replicated in both London and Vancouver studios in other disciplines.

Those interested in the program can apply directly via the Cinesite website.

What you’ll learn in LEAP

LEAP is engineered to help new talent, whether you have formal training or are self-taught, to transition seamlessly into the world of animation. Guided by seasoned feature animation professionals, Junior Artists will learn the technical aspects of productions such as learning Cinesite’s pipeline and tools, and they will learn to interpret creative notes, and report and resolve potential issues that may affect production.

The program is designed to give participants ample support throughout their training time. Furthermore, you will benefit from an employment contract that goes beyond the training program, offering you the opportunity to stay on the team at the end of the training.

Ultimately, Cinesite is looking to have new artists actively participate in the studio’s vision by learning how to create appealing, high-quality work.

Fairness, diversity and inclusion at Cinesite

Cinesite has long been committed to actively embodying values of fairness, diversity, and inclusion. Throughout the years, Cinesite has actively participated in initiatives such as Access VFX, Collective Bunch, Women in VFX & Animation, and the AfroAnimation Summit. Through these initiatives, the studio is aiming to create a place of community and connection for all.

Further to participating in different initiatives, Cinesite is developing and implementing policies and practices that are more inclusive of the LGTBQIA2S+ community and partnering with Inflow ADHD – a digital program designed to help people reach their full potential by improving executive functioning and managing challenges associated with ADHD. The studio also strongly focuses on mental health awareness through communications, accommodation, and support plans.

You can read more about Cinesite’s commitment to crew, partners and clients along with the initiatives they are undertaking across the different studios:

Future jobs: the roles to look out for at Cinesite

Cinesite is a vibrant and creative community looking for curious and passionate artists across both their Animation and VFX divisions. The studio is currently hiring across all departments and divisions and the most important criterion is a willingness to learn. A good attitude is a very valuable asset, especially in junior artists. Their attitude speaks to their potential: their willingness to learn and be challenged, their work ethic and values as well as their ability to be a reliable team member. Beyond that, Cinesite encourages junior artists to concentrate on continuously developing their art through their portfolio or demo.

Furthermore, Cinesite has transitioned to a flexible way of working, embracing workplace shifts spurred by the pandemic. Going forward, the studio does not see remote working as something that needs to come to an end; in fact, Cinesite will be embracing it. The studio aims simply to work with the best talent and make the best VFX and animation. In short, the blended model of working-from-home mixed with working in the studio is here to stay.

Find out more about the flexible options available here:

Brought to you by Cinesite: This article is part of the befores & afters VFX Insight series. If you’d like to promote your VFX/animation/CG tech or service, you can find out more about the VFX Insight series here.

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