Launching a career with a 3D internship

A look inside Framestore's Launchpad Internship Program

Last modification: 6 Aug, 2018
3 mins

So, you made it into (an awesome) 3D school. You’ve got the drive, the skills, and the savvy to model/animate your way through almost anything. But everyone knows school alone is hardly enough to land you your dream VFX job – so, how will you gain experience without a job? The answer: Land a 3D internship.

3D internships pave the way to making contacts, growing your skills, and acquiring real-world industry knowledge, without sacrificing an income. Many leading studios offer one sort of intern program or another. Enter Framestore’s Launchpad.

Amy Smith, Framestore’s Head of Talent and founder of Launchpad, realized that most graduates applying to Framestore understood how the software worked but didn't necessarily understand how a 3D pipeline works. "You need to be able to think about the people in the team who are going to take on your work," says Amy. "Not only do your assets need to work aesthetically, but they need to work in a pipeline environment."

“You need to be able to think about the people in the team who are going to take on your work. Not only do your assets need to work aesthetically, but they need to work in a pipeline environment.”

Taking matters into their own hands, Amy and the team at Framestore developed Launchpad, a practical program aimed at preparing students for jobs in 3D. Under the watchful eye of an assigned mentor for the duration of their two-month internship, incoming students work on top-tier projects and attend team meetings, gaining priceless hands-on experience. Because the projects they're working are under NDA and therefore not cleared for sharing, students are also tasked to work on a  personal project to ensure they have something  ‘Framestore Approved’ to add to their demo reel.

So how does one become a selected student? "We look for candidates with the fundamental understandings of the technique for the department they're applying to," offers Amy. "If we take animation as an example, we're looking for someone who shows that they understand weight, pose, timing, etc. Their work doesn't have to be completely polished, and they don't have to have lots of pieces of work. It can be one or two pieces of work that really demonstrate those very fundamental skills for that department.”

Perhaps not so surprisingly, learnings from Launchpad don't end with the intern. As Amy points out, interns go back into the classroom armed with what they've learned at Framestore and share that knowledge with classmates. "Because of that," she says, "you end up with several graduates who have a better understanding than they would have otherwise because now they have some familiarity with the industry."

To find out what the Framestore Launchpad internship is really like, we'll follow the journey of Environments Intern, Keegan McDougall’s for an insider's view of life in their Montreal studio. Stay tuned to Life in 3D to keep up with Keegan, and watch our Instagram for his photos from the inside!

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