SAE graduate's blockbuster career In visual effects


22 Dec 2016

alex halstead hero



SAE graduate's blockbuster career In visual effects

22 Dec 2016

Alex Halstead is an internationally recognised and accomplished visual effects artist. Having graduated with a Diploma in Animation from SAE Brisbane, Alex began his career working in the video games industry on several successful game titles from Lord of the Rings: Conquest, to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

When Alex’s passion for film and visual effects began to grow, he made the decision to jump fields and move into the film industry working as an Effects Technical Director. He was fortunate enough to work at some of the world's leading visual effects and animation studios, including award winning Sony Pictures Imageworks (Vancouver, Canada), Animal Logic (Sydney) and Iloura (Melbourne). His amazing creations are seen in the feature films; The Lego Movie, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Angry Birds Movie, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie 2, and most recently, Suicide Squad.

Having recently returned from a stint working at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver, Alex has stepped into a new role as Senior FX Technical Director at Iloura, one of Australia’s leading animation and visual effects companies with studios in Melbourne and Sydney.

Alex Halstead

We speak to Alex about his time at studying at SAE, his career so far and the advice he would pass on to aspiring students looking to become successful in their field.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m working at Iloura studios in Melbourne across several exciting projects – but unfortunately they’re top secret, sorry! I’m not able to disclose anything at this time… but stay tuned!

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?
Working with really talented people from all over the world to create imagery that audiences haven't seen before. It's an exciting job where no two weeks are the same!

Ghostrider 2

What did you love most about studying at SAE?
The excitement of learning something new each week and sharing a classroom with passionate, like-minded people.

What inspired you to enter 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 me to be creative and tell stories. I always knew I wanted to do something in film and TV, and I finally found my passion in 3D Animation.

Alex Halstead

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.

Angry Birds

What are your career highlights?
My biggest career highlight would probably be working on The Lego Movie at Animal Logic in Sydney. It was my first experience working on an animated feature film, and it was such a great experience getting to work with such talented and passionate people, as well as having the opportunity to work closely with the co-director Chris McKay.

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 good connections can put you at the top of the pile. Visualise your goal and go after it!

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