In an interview with Sony Pictures Animation Producer Michelle Murdocca:
Billy Tatum: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into visual effects or producing?
Michelle Murdocca: Just stay true to what you want to do and have conviction. It’s hard to break into this industry, but I did it. I did it because I was willing to work for free. I was willing to do an internship. I was a sponge. I absorbed everything. I listened to everything that anyone told me to learn what I needed to know to hone my craft. I just had a lot of ambition and I was determined never to give up. I’m a girl from Spanish Harlem. I was not born or raised into any of this. I worked my way into it.
I agree with a lot of what Mrs. Murdocca is saying but I don’t think a willingness to work for free is the way to break into this industry. Many of you know that I do a lot of posts on the eagerness of VFX professionals to work for free: We love what we do, so why not? Well it’s good to love VFX but you have to give it tough love.
The broader point I’m trying to make is that the more often these kinds of practices occur, the more likely it becomes an accepted practice in the industry.
I can understand paying your dues but wasn’t going to a school that put you in 6 figure debt enough in dues? Now you have to do an internship that isn’t even paid. Anyone up for adding a VFX hazing ritual? After all, we have to see how much you can absorb.
So you’ll understand what made the Digital Domain story so big: It sort of validated my issue that these kinds of practices were becoming a part of the business model. Now you have some pro-management blogs coming out with posts entitled: VFX Students Paying To Work, May Help The Industry Overall.