In This Issue

Jump to Page

Cover1 | Cover2 | TOC | 3 | 4 | 4a | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | Cover3 | Cover4

Audio version

“The faculty and students in our communication, art and design programs value the currency of ideas, and nurture them to spark progress. Our collaborative setting encourages individual and collective expression. Out of this comes expertise that is vital to a meaningful and successful career within the creative economy.”

–Mission statement, Faculty of Communication, Art and Design

For a designer used to having fabrics in her hands and designs in her head, working on set has been a welcome departure for Doreen, allowing her to tap into a new strain of her imagination.

“It’s been very exciting. I’m not just sitting down and sewing things,” says Doreen. “I’m really using storytelling to pull pieces together, stylistically. I’m working with producers and directors who already have this image and feeding them ideas of what this character is going to look like in future episodes.”

Doreen’s foray into film production came from a curiosity she had about acting and the ambition to capitalize on the opportunities available in “Hollywood North.” A cold call to a costume designer she found on Facebook led to a weekend job that led to another and another. Doreen’s work spoke for itself, and the designer became a key reference.

“Through her, I was able to get other gigs,” says Doreen. “There are long hours but there are definitely a lot of perks. It’s exciting.”

Her day job hasn’t taken Doreen away from her design work. She has her own women’s wear line, which has been exhibited in Beijing and Toronto, and she also does custom work for individual clients.

“Recently I’ve made a prom gown for a friend’s little sister, who couldn’t find the dress that she wanted,” says Doreen. “I’ve done a few wedding dresses as well, and I’ll soon be taking on my first Indian wedding reception gown.”

She imagines the future as a hybrid of day jobs and side projects that allow her to create, while also expanding her skill sets and networks. Like the sewing example illustrates, the more she can do, the more valuable she will be in the creative economy. Personal branding plays a big role in communicating value too. And social media is king.

“If I don’t put myself out there, nobody will know I can design these beautiful garments,” she says. “I’m always on my Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, and any work I have I throw it up there. It helps being a millennial; this is kind of in my blood. But you have to hustle, have to have thick skin, and also not be afraid of rejection.”

Big business on the big screen

Toronto’s multiculturalism also makes the city an ideal incubator and test market for the global demand of products. By some estimates, the creative economy workforce consists of more than 100,000 people. Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for FCAD graduates have never been greater.

A poster boy for Seneca’s international place in the creative economy is visual effects compositor Guillermo Ramos, even if he doesn’t know it.

“I never really thought about it,” says Guillermo, when asked about the impact of his work on international films like the Oscar-winning The Revenant. “But yes, it surprises me how much money is dedicated to the different stages of production, from shooting to post production. It’s a big chunk of the budget.”

Guillermo, a Mexican national, completed a degree in computer studies at the University of Texas (commuting across the border each day to get to school), before a school trip brought him to Toronto. He fell in love with the city, and when Guillermo found Seneca’s Visual Effects graduate certificate program, it gave him the perfect excuse to come back … and stay.

He graduated six years ago and is now a digital compositor for Soho VFX, a feature film visual effects company in Liberty Village. Along with The Revenant, you will see Guillermo’s handiwork in films like The Conjuring 2, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

“When I finished school, I got a job right away,” says Guillermo. “My first movie was Jack the Giant Slayer. They were giving me difficult stuff, so I had to go back and look at my notes from class. What we learned at Seneca is pretty much the real thing. It was easy to jump from school to work.”

Over the past five years, Guillermo has seen more studios like Soho opening in Toronto, as well as those from cities like Montreal and Vancouver scouring for talented new graduates—all good signs that the creative boom is continuing.

While he calls this his dream job, Guillermo is looking to the future, thinking about preparing himself to take on more supervisory roles and doing his own movies. It’s also a priority for him to continue honing both his technical skills and creativity.

“It always helps to do something arts related,” he says. “I liked drawing and painting as a kid. The boom happened with computers. Instead of drawing Spider-Man, you could make him on the computer. This is when my mind went to a different area.”

And even though Guillermo and his team at Soho didn’t get invited to The Revenant Oscar party, the satisfaction for him comes when all the elements come together and he sees that final shot on the big screen. Plus, his dad is a teacher, so we may see Guillermo at the head of a Seneca classroom sooner than later. Indeed, this would be welcome news to his former dean.

“We need to be bringing back more alumni to share what they are doing in the industry,” says Michael Maynard. “What I’d like to do is to start a lecture series so our students can see first-hand the success of our alumni.”

RED 2016 19