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How Arthur Muller Landed His First Major VFX Job

By: Rebelway

In this interview, we chat with VFX artist Arthur Muller about the process of getting his first major VFX job in a new country.

We hear stories all the time about VFX artists who land their first major role in FX with the help of our training. However, we heard one story recently that was pretty darn interesting. Arthur Muller actually landed his first major job in a new country where he had to travel over a thousand miles to live.

We were interested in Arthur’s process, so we asked him a few questions about his experience with landing a new job and visa. But first, check out Arthur’s demo reel.

You recently landed your first major job with a role at Sony Imageworks, how did you get on their radar and land the job?

Before Covid-19 I used to go to as many events and job fairs as I could, but during the pandemic all of those events got re-organized to take place online. I participated in an event by Spark CG Society and made first-contact with Imageworks, a few days from the first interview I received an email for a second interview, and then I got the job offer (which didn’t took me long to respond to).

What advice do you have for other people who are looking to land their first major job in VFX?

Okay, so I’m not an expert and I’m still very new to this industry, but here are a few things I think are important to think and care about: 

Believe in hard work and dedication, learning can be tough and long but it’s worth it in the long run. 

Attend any events you can and create contacts, also be kind and respectful to people. Try to find a mentor or someone you can ask questions about the job and the industry if you can. Be as much of a team-player as you can be.

Don’t be afraid to ask for (artistic or technical) help or to share your work and to have some self-critique. People will be more than happy to give you feedback. 

Simply watch some films, seek artistic reference, and stay inspired. Know where your art comes from. Why are you doing this the way you are? Learning some real world filmmaking techniques is also very important. 

Don’t get discouraged, there is a lot going on with our industry and it can be overwhelming sometimes. So take your time, don’t drive yourself into burnout. There is a proverb that I like that goes “Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit”.

Also, the only way to get better is to make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make some and do it again. 

I personally like to read books and the cinema industry has a bunch of those. Some interesting books include:

  1. Contrasting Brightly by Will Nicholson – It’s very general but it has very useful informations and wisdom about the job.
  2. Befores & Afters by Ian Failes – This book is filled with anecdotes, stories, and articles about our industry.
  3. Superviseur des effets visuels by Réjane Hamus-Vallée and Caroline Renouard – That book is one of the only books I found about the job of the VFX supervisor and it’s super interesting overall. (This one is in French)
  4. In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch  This book is about the art of film editing but there is a lot of wisdom we can take from that book and apply to our craft, definitely one of the best books on cinema I’ve read.

Your new job is in Vancouver, but you are from Paris. How complicated was the Visa/Moving process?

I was largely helped by the lawyers firm that Sony hired for this kind of process, so I’ve been helped all the way through the visa process and it went by with no complications. I just had to fill in some documents here and there and show up at to certain appointments. What was more difficult was to organize the arrival with all the BC paperwork, bank setup, finding an apartment, and furnishing it and so on… It took a lot of organization but I’m finally installed. 

Is there anything that people need to know who may relocate to other countries for VFX work?

I’m not an expert on relocation, but I’ve moved from country to country earlier in my life and I’m still not used to it. It’s the first time that I moved to another country without my family and it was hard saying goodbye. Apart from that, I guess be sure your financial situation is a minimum stable and you have a failsafe plan just in case. Also, organize yourself for arrival, there will be a ton of things to do, so plan as much as you can and everything will go smoothly.

Are you a Rebelway alumni? What courses have you taken?

I am a Rebelway alumni as I’ve studied with the pyro and math course. What I’ve liked with the the teaching I’ve found here was how the instructors clarified and approached every problems and artistic challenges. That help me understand a lot about workflows and the mindset of an FX artist, an even If I took the pyro course, I think the methodology and mindset was what helped me the most even with completely unrelated shots and techniques.   

What’s next for you on your artistic journey?

I have a few long-term goals at the moment, but I have a (very) long way to go. Some of them are to become a VFX supervisor for feature films and to open a little studio. I’m very far away from being able to accomplish these things and I first need to grow as an artist and expand my technical and production knowledge. I don’t know if this is what I will still want to become in three or eight years, but in the meantime I’m working towards it and joining Imageworks is giving me the chance to challenge myself with more complex projects than ever before, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Where can people see more of your work?

I have a website where I usually upload my latest works and fractals but I haven’t really updated it in a while. Maybe I’ll post new things if I have a new batch of fractals or personal projects coming this year. (Also the pyro in my reel is older than the pyro course, I’ve improved (I hope) a bit since then.

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