Working Los Angeles is an interview series with Angelenos who live and work is this amazing city. There are jobs in Los Angeles that don’t exist anywhere else on the planet.
Below is my interview with Zack. Zack works in the entertainment industry. I asked him a series of questions about his job.
Tell us where you work and what your title is.
I work in the motion picture industry as a Cloth & Hair Technical Director.
Tell us what you do for a living.
I work on visual effects for movies.
Tell us about a typical day.
Each film is different, but typically I spend my morning in meetings to look at work from the day before. We look at the motion of the cloth and hair in a scene of the film and whether it is moving correctly. If we need to make changes we do so, of not, it gets sent to the Supervisor on the movie for approval. If it meets with the Supervisor’s approval then it is sent to the Director for approval. If no changes are needed, then I get a new assignment.
When we’re working on a scene, we start by looking at a shot and seeing what it looks like. We determine whether it needs any custom work, like adding hand interaction with the cloth or hair. We also decode whether we might need to slow down the action in the scene to make it flow correctly. Then we build the scene, run the scene, fix errors and run it again.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that my job is creative and that my choices can impact the movie, I love getting to work on many different movies.
Why did this type of work interest you?
I was not initially intending to go into this line of work. I used to create sets/background as a modeler on a film. I ended up finishing ahead of schedule and on a movie and was asked to learn how to do cloth and hair. Now it’s all I do.
How did you get started?
I started going to school to learn illustration. But I ended up switching to 3D computer graphics because it interested me. After moving to Los Angeles, I had difficulty finding a job. I was working at a deli and every day I would wear a sign on my chest that said “3D artist looking for work”. One day a customer ended up taking my info, she was a film coordinator. She forwarded my information to the right person and I got my first job.
What skills do you have to have to get this job?
Aside from technical skills, the most important skills you can have is patience. There is a lot of “hurry up and wait” on films and you need to be able to entertain yourself.
Do you have any tips for job seekers trying to get a job like yours?
Patience, determination and a thick skin because you’re going to get turned down a lot.
What is it like to work in Los Angeles?
Working in Los Angeles is totally different than working in any other city. My industry is very slow-paced in the morning then fast paced at night. Los Angeles is very slow-paced in the morning.
Thanks to Zack for being a part of my interview series, Working Los Angeles!