MDA’s Media Education Scholarship recipients Vicki Lau and Jodie Pang share with MediaExchange about their personal pathways from schools to media careers in visual effects, animation, film, and graphics design, respectively.
Unlike professions like lawyers, or biologists, aspiring media professionals learn as much from their on-the-job training as honing their skills and feeding their creative impulses in school.
Scholarships like that offered by MDA’s MES, have been offered since 2003 to give talented individuals the opportunity, confidence and support that they need to jumpstart their career in the media industry. Previous MES scholars Vicki Lau and Jodie Pang chat with MediaExchange about their life’s passion and how they’ve chosen to purse a media career.
MediaExchange: Tell us why you wanted to go into your respective fields? When was your passion first ignited? Who inspired you?
VICKI: It all began with my passion for video-editing when I was about 14 years old – being a shy, introvert with no close friends, I found that the medium allowed me to express myself best and communicate ideas I used to be unable to express due to my quiet nature. Hence, from video-editing, it naturally grew into a passion for visual effects and film as I slowly developed better skills over time, honing my craft which soon formed a very indelible part of my identity and life. I can claim to admire the brilliant works of filmmakers such as Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan.
JODIE: I majored in Motion Graphics instead of graphics design because it covered not just 3D but many other aspects of design like illustration, photography, typography which seemed more interesting. I continued on to major in this field after graduating with a diploma in broadcast design and enrolled in Otis College of Arts and Design (OTIS) because I was passionate about how the industry was evolving. Hayao Miyazaki creates inspirational films which depict mind-blowing fantastical world and characters. Even the music that accompanies the film composed by Joe Hisaishi is a work of its own.
ME: What made you decide to go to your schools of choice to further your craft?
VICKI: I went to Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) because it had a thorough and almost scientific and technical approach to the field of visual effects, incorporating programming and more technical approaches in its course curriculum. Unlike other schools which focus on cultivating art and creativity, SCAD was more method-based and it was up to you as an individual to develop your own unique sense and taste of art.
JODIE: OTIS [College of Arts and Design] to me was an eye opener and window to the industry as many of the lecturers are from the industry themselves. They know what’s required and in demand, the latest technology and they often invite guest speakers from their companies to break down the works that they have created. I had guest speakers coming from motion graphics companies like Royale, Psyop, Brand New School and even people for the game and movies industry such as Dreamworks, Blizzard, Rhythm and Hues. I guess opportunities like these truly fascinate me and I find myself yearning for more.
ME: Which creative work are you most proud of to-date? Share with us your most memorable experiences about that creative work.
VICKI: Thus far, I could say that I am definitely proud of the orchestration and thorough follow-through of my short film (first directorial debut in the U.S.) “The Painter”. Since I was essentially the helm of this short, being the writer, director, producer, visual effects supervisor and much more, I had to multi-task between roles whilst attempting to finish up school work and other projects. It was a challenging seven months but in the end, we all pulled through and no deadline was ever missed (I wouldn’t allow that, as a producer). The short film did quite well at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Florida as it was scheduled to be the first opening short for the shorts block of the entire festival.
JODIE: Working at Brand New School was exciting because it was a bigger studio with more creative directors and designers/animators which amounts to more learning opportunities. They were never judging and were always eager to impart their knowledge and experiences. During my internship, they gave me the opportunity to work on different areas from thinking concepts to generating styleframes. I have also worked on a couple of animations and even ended up doing some 3D. After the 3 months ended, they offered me a fulltime job at the studio and were willing to wait till my graduation.
See award winner Lim Ting-Li’s useful tips on career moves for aspiring industry professionals here
The MES aims to build media manpower capabilities by providing eligible Singapore citizens and PRs with scholarships to pursue full-time undergraduate or post-graduate media-related courses. Since its inception, over 180 scholars have established themselves as film and TV directors, music producers, game developers and visual effects artists. In 2013 last year, a new film category – MES (Film) – was introduced by MDA to support those who wish to pursue film-related undergraduate or post-graduate programmes.
Stay tuned to find out who are the 2014 recipients in August and check out MDA’s MES page to find out when applications open up for 2015.