ALEX HALSTEADFX TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Animation graduate Alex Halstead has been fortunate enough to work with some of the worlds best talent on projects spanning everything from video games, commercials and game cinematics to documentaries, feature films and animated movies.
He has worked for studios in both Australia and overseas such as Pandemic/EA, Animal Logic, Iloura, Plastic Wax and Sony Pictures Imageworks, as well working on some notable feature films such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The SpongeBob Movie, Gods of Egypt and the hugely successful Lego Movie. Alex is currently the FX Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver for the upcoming animated feature ‘The Angry Birds Movie’.
What inspired you to enter into the career you’re in?
I’d always loved movies and video games growing up, and then I saw Pixar’s Monsters Inc and all I knew was ‘I want to do that!’. I didn’t quite know what ‘that’ meant at the time but I was always an avid artist, sketching, painting and doodling in school books. I started tinkering with Photoshop and Adobe Premiere as a teenager and loved the freedom that digital tools allowed to be creative and tell stories. I always knew I wanted to do something in film and TV and finally found my passion in 3D Animation.
What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?
The excitement of learning something new each day and bouncing ideas and interests off of like minded people. It was a great atmosphere.
Are you able to shed some light on how studying at SAE lead you to where you are now?
Studying at SAE was a great launching pad into the world of 3D Animation. It gave me the necessary tools and information I needed to help get me ready for the industry.
What are your career highlights?
My biggest career highlight would be working on The Lego Movie at Animal Logic in Sydney. It was my first experience working on an animated feature film and was such a great experience getting to work with such talented and passionate people as well as getting the chance to work closely with the Co-Director Chris McKay.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on the upcoming animated feature film ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver, Canada.
What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful in their field?
Be prepared to relocate for your first job. Always work to develop your skills and learn more about your desired field. Compare your work to those you look up to for inspiration and guidance. Go to industry networking events and mingle with people you’d like to work with – the industry is small and while your portfolio will speak for itself, having connections can put you at the top of the pile. Visualise your goal and go after it!