This interview is the third in a series from Hamish Besley a third-year student at Victoria University Wellington – Te Herenga Waka, Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation. Each interview was first published in Baggy Pants and Butter Paper, an editorial publication for students by students (conceived in Hamish’s final year of study). The interviews explore each students pathway to design, choice of discipline, their unique personal narrative, experiences studying, the projects they take pride in, their challenges, inspirations and aspirations.
Today Hamish shares his interview with Media Design Major Guillaume Martel. Hamish told the DA team that he was incredibly excited and grateful to share Guillamue’s profile because he has “the most insane work ethic” scaffolding the work he is producing.
BP&BP: Introduce yourself!
Guillaume martel, I do media design, specializing in the animation and special effects side of things. I’m from Samoa and arrived 6 years ago.
BP&BP: What made you come to Victoria?
Originally I came here for architecture but, I started to see some personalized video editing online and I didn’t realize I was addicted to it. I kept watching it and I kept making it. When I got the hang of making those sorts of videos was when I made the last-minute decision to switch from architecture to media design.
BP&BP: Did you ever question that choice?
I did like the communication (design) side of things, with the branding and mock-up assignments. I was unsure about majoring in Media Design but, at the end of first year I looked at the course and there were about two or three courses that were right down my alley, so I decided to just go for it. What nearly made me drop out of the media was creative coding. Now it’s catching up with the Animation and Visual Effects Major but, at the time it was massively broad. You could go in wanting to do animation and spend a trimester making a video game.
BP&BP: What project are you most proud of? Why?
That was this year for Motion Design. It was an advertisement for Adidas. The tutor was so open to me just doing what I thought was best. Which is what’s so cool about these things, you can find your style and aesthetic. The first project was the pitch which I nailed and then the second project was to make what you pitched. And when I finally made it, the video came out perfectly, even though I was so stressed out the entire time. That was probably the most wholesome experience I’ve had because I was enjoying it the whole time. The guy we were being taught by as well had his own business somewhere in Te Aro. He had a whole team who were tutors which made the class feel like a true, professional atmosphere.
BP&BP: What project are you least proud of? Why?
That was Interaction Design. I had to do it, lucky I clutched it towards the end but it didn’t look good. It was around the first project for that course. I had to make a website that pitched something. It’s entirely on me that it sucked. I had the time to put in but because my morale was so low, I didn’t like the paper and I didn’t want to commit to it. They gave us a base template for the website and I only slightly tweaked it before calling it a day. In the end, I had to present it and I was so embarrassed. It was a mark on my name a bit. After that project though I redeemed myself slightly in the final project.
BP&BP: What is the hardest project you’ve ever worked on? Why?
That was this year, it was the post-production class. It was up my alley too but, it was a totally new software called Nuke. It was so different from any software I’ve used before so I had to learn it from scratch. It was node based, you use node trees connecting different dots to create a video animation. It was so abstract and made me question if I was really any good at this video stuff. My first project went pretty decent considering how hard the markers were. I got a B for that and had a paragraph worth of feedback in the marking sheet. That was a big wake up call. In the second assignment, it was a green screenshot that you had to track with a fake background which we had to do as a group project. So on top of new software and a really difficult task we also had to manage working as a collective.
BP&BP: What motivates you to get up and grind?
There’s the 3 am’s when you just have to get it done and there are the 3 am’s where you refuse to be in your area of expertise and be beaten. Personal pride often comes into it. What keeps me going I think is the tutors. Before my sole motivation was to show these people what I can do and when I didn’t like the tutors I would think to myself, do I even want to impress you? But now these new tutors are so hard on everyone that it makes you want to earn their respect. It brings about some teary-eyed moments at times but, it’s worth it.
BP&BP: What is the highlight of your working week?
I like to stay at uni. As long as I’ve had my breakfast and my coffee, a big breakfast, I’ll go straight to uni. It’s my favorite part of the day because even when you’re procrastinating you’re still at uni so you feel like you’re working. You see everyone else around you working so you know to keep at it. I just stay as long as I can, even till 8 or 9 pm. Not every day but most days.
BP&BP: Outside of school what do you do?
Not much really. I usually go to the gym or hang out with boys, that’s usually it. I’m kinda reaching that point of wanting some extracurricular activities but Uni gets so chaotic so quickly. I feel more ashamed when I break my good habits, so if I’m doing something like playing in a team and I have to ditch to do uni work I’ll feel more down. I’ll feel like I gave up. For the past two years, I’ve been doing Uni, chilling at home, and working on the weekends sometimes.
BP&BP: Do you think that affects your practice at all?
It’s the balance part. I often get discouraged because I see people who love university so much that they do it every day. And that’s what gets me because I want to be like that. I think the spacing is good for me because I need those breaks. If I was doing it 24/7 I would burn out and I don’t want a creative burnout.
BP&BP: While at design school, what’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
While I was doing the interaction paper that I stuffed up I was also doing a Digital Creations paper which I was doing really well at. I weighed up the difference to be a clear sign of strengths and weaknesses in my practice. I found my boundaries. However, I still have to treat those classes that I’m not good at seriously. Because that’s not a good mindset. What if something that I’m not good at, or don’t enjoy, comes up in the workplace, or even later on at uni? It’s a hard lesson but a good one because now I know I need to work twice as hard at the projects I hate.
BP&BP: If you could give your past self any advice what would it be?
Because I know that year 1 is such a generalized field of study I’ll just say prioritize what you need and what you like. Instead of focusing on the so-called important subjects. They’re all just as equal as each other. If you like graphic design and video editing the focus on dsdn 101 and vice versa. Tick the boxes in the other classes but smash the ones you care about. I made the mistake of stressing myself out about the dsdn 111 Industrial Design paper that now, I have no relationship with, at all.
Learn more about Guillaume
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