【Event Report】EFFECTS MTL, SEPTEMBER 6-7, 2017

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On September, 6th & 7th 2017, the 3rd edition of “effects MTL” took place at the prestigious Montreal Convention Center with:

12 countries represented

40+ sessions

60+ speakers

200+ different companies

1120 Attendees

Being a VFX enthusiast myself, you cannot imagine how excited I was when I learned that the largest international conference for the visual effects and computer animation industries on the East Coast of North America was in Montreal, Canada, which was only 6 hours drive from me.

 

ABOUT THE VFX & COMPUTER ANIMATION INDUSTRY

The landscape of the VFX and Computer Animation industries have changed dramatically in the past 10 years.  Canada has become the hub for Hollywood shoots and High-end television productions such as Game of thrones or Walking dead.  Combined the Canadian VFX and Computer Animation industries earned $397.8 million in revenue in 2014 (Caso economy profile July 2016). It represents an increase of more than two and half times compare to 2010. And that boom shows no sign of extinguishing since the film industry, TV productions, video games studios and even the advertising businesses rely heavily on VFX and Computer Animation as shown in the videos below.

Game of Thrones – Season 6 – VFX Breakdown by Rodeo FX

Quebec is one of the largest VFX hubs in the world.  It’s hard to believe that there wasn’t even one local event that promoted such a concentration of talent before “effects MTL”.

Since it was my first time attending the event, I didn’t really know what to expect. And to be honest, I was little bit afraid to end up in those kinds of boring conferences where speakers have the extraordinary ability to put you to sleep just with the sound of their voice and where outsiders have a hard time to mingle and make new connections.

 

WHAT IS effects MTL?

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Photos: connection-events

Right in the heart of Montreal, between the Old Port and China Town, the Montreal Convention center is very easy to find and to access whether by foot, car or bus. And the exit of the subway is directly connected to it.
Once I arrived at the box office, I couldn’t be happier. A team of volunteers passionate of VFX welcomed me warmly and even the event director, Serge LANDRY, took the time to come and greet me despite of his overbooked schedule. At that very moment I realized that effects MTL wasn’t a conference like others.

Originally, effects MTL was created to promote local studios to international film & television buyers, to generate co-production projects for local companies, and to introduce them to key service providers. But from what I’ve experienced during those 2 days, it was way more than that. In fact, effects MTL is a true celebration of the VFX and Computer Animation industries. It’s a one-stop shop where talents, students, studios and professionals from other sectors of the industry get together to share their passion, knowledge and expertise for the visual effects and Computer animation industries.

In other words, if you are serious about this industry and you are looking for job opportunities, talents, solutions to develop your skills or your business, effects MTL is the best place on the east coast to make the key connections you need.

 

RECRUITMENT,  NETWORKING & FUN

“Deadpool” Visual Effects Breakdown by Atomic Fiction

Everything in effects MTL has been set up to facilitate and maximize networking online and offline, whatever is the reason that brings you there.

The Expo Zone would be the best place to start. Fields with A-list and award-winning studios such as MPC, FRAMESTORE, CINESITE, DOUBLE NEGATIVE or ATOMIC FICTION, just to name few, you have the opportunity to meet and spontaneously engage in a discussion with representatives, recruiters, VFX and CG artists. I highly recommend you have your resume, business cards and reels with you.

If finding your dream job is primary purpose, recent graduates and professionals are invited to register online to the Job fair to meet recruiters from key companies in the industry, hand out your resume and do on-site interviews.
You can as well submit a form online to attend the Rhum Café no matter what is your levels in the VFX and Computer Animation fields (student to professional). During that activity you will be paired with senior artists to receive constructive advice on your work such as portfolio, demo reel, or any other material you wish to present during the one-on-one 20mn mentoring session.
Senior professionals are from studios such as Alchemy 24, MELS, FOLKS, Atomic Fiction, Framestore, Hybride, L’Atelier Animation, and many more!
Few days after effects MTL, one of the volunteers I’ve connected with told me that he made it into MPC. Why not try your luck?!

Effectmtl17_ Article Pix_Recruitment

Photos: connection-events

For Business Lounge ticket-holder, you will love the online meeting application giving an exclusive access to the live attendees list. By few taps you can get directly in touch with the most relevant participants and organize perfectly your 2 days at effects MTL.
As well, you can take advantage of a Business Lounge dedicated to international decision-makers and buyers.

The part I love the most in networking is the cocktail receptions. With a little bit of food and a little bit of alcohol, all conditions are met to find new collaborations, friends, business partners or even… a soulmate. At effects MTL, there were cocktail receptions on-site where attendees, studios and other professionals could mingle and have a good chat. On the sidelines, VIP cocktails were held in two of the most gorgeous venues in Montreal, L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel & Bar Darling, to strengthen bonds between professionals and offer them great opportunities to connect with peers at a deeper level.

Effectmtl17_ Article Pix_Cocktail_1

Photos: Joe TAMKO

KNOWLEDGE & TRAINING

After stepping into the mysterious world of VFX and Computer Animation, you learn very quickly that each single shot is unique. It will require a lot of experience and practice to develop your creativity and sharpen your problems solving skills to pull out a breath taking invisible shots.
Since new techniques, approaches and technologies come out constantly, knowledge and training are crucial in the industry to push back the limits of the impossible.
Consequently, for those reasons, effects MTL has prepared over 40 sessions where international experts share exclusive content and detailed presentations on the artistry and technologies deployed on movies recently released such as War for the planet of the apes by Weta Digital, Valerian And the City of a Thousand Planets co-presented by Hybride, ILM and Rodeo FX or Alien Covenant co-presented by Fox, MPC, Framestore and Atomic Fiction, and of course, the visually spectacular breakdown from Game of Thrones presented by Rodeo FX.
Basically, you can learn everything from VFX to Business and Production and get useful insights about the challenges faced by the industry and future trends to always keep you ahead of the game to develop your career or your business. And the best is all the speakers are very friendly and gladly would take the time to answer your questions even after the session if their schedule allows it.
“Women in VFX” is the session that immediately got my attention. I believe the issue of gender equality needs more exposure and needs to be addressed more often. Make sure to follow me for a very special article on that topic.

With the sessions, the learning possibilities don’t stop there. As the community has requested it, this year, effects MTL has invited 2 world-renowned experts in the field of anatomy, Scott Eaton and Stuart Sumida, to host 2 exclusive Master Classes.
During  a 6 hours long class strengthen your skills and level-up your performance learning from artists consulted by Hollywood Studios for their remarkable expertise.
Animation and VFX professionals from Cinesite, Framestore and On Animation took advantage of the one-day in-depth classes on the following subjects:

  • Dynamic anatomy for artists
  • Animal and human anatomy

Effectmtl17_ Article Pix_Learn

Photos: connection-events

CONS

Being incredibly excited by the content of conference and inspired by the people I met there, I had a hard time to find some Cons about effects MTL. Below are the 3 points I’ve found.
1___With effects MTL it feels like having your own VFX and Computer Animation conference right in your backyard. We don’t need to go to L.A. or Europe anymore and make a long and expensive trip to attend that kind of events. However, even if we get invaluable benefits compare to what we pay for, when you are a student who already spend a lot of money on very expensive tuition or a job-seeker who is probably not in a very comfortable financial situation, the ticket price might be a bit overwhelming and could turn off some sparks of curiosity.

2___I know that putting together a world scale conference is not an easy thing, but 2 days seemed to be bit short. I don’t know how other attendees felt about it, but I wish we could have at least one more day to enjoy more sessions and connect with even more people.

3___When we get our pass, we receive at the same time a gift bag. It is made of 25% recycled content, but it would have shown a sincerer commitment to the environment if it has been a 100% recycled or 100% organic bag.
Yes, I’m a detail freak. That is one of the potential side effect when you live too long in Tokyo.
Well, the environment matter… Right?!

That’s pretty much it for the CONS.

 

CONCLUSION

Broadly speaking, effects MTL was a blast. That kind of initiatives contribute to make the digital creativity shine worldwide and help to consolidate the industry. And it is definitely the annual event that must be circled in red in your calendar.
Whether you are a self-taught artist, a student, a professional or a veteran, if you are passionate about what you do, at effects MTL you are invited beyond the green screen to be a part of the VFX and Animation family.

Effectmtl17_ Article Pix_Cocktail_2
Photos: Joe TAMKO
For detailed information about  effects MTL:
http://www.effectsmtl.com

Follow effects MTL:
https://twitter.com/effectsmtl
https://www.facebook.com/effectsmtl/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/11140537/
https://www.instagram.com/effectsmtl/

Special thanks to:
Flint 4K
All the connection-events team
All the amazing people I’ve met at effects MTL 17
And my family

If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to keep in touch with me:
JOE TAMKO
info(at)joe-tamko.com
https://www.instagram.com/joe_tamko/

#vfxlifestyle #vfxdaddy #vfx #effectsmtl #montreal #animation



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