This interview is the fourth in a series from Hamish Besley (@hamo.b) 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 Interaction Design Major Sophie George (@sgeorge.anfx)
BP&BP: Introduce yourself!
Sophie George, 21 years old, studying a Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Animation and Visual Effects and minoring in film production at Victoria University of Wellington. I am originally from New Plymouth and moved to Wellington to study in 2018.
BP&BP: What made you come to victoria?
I started off wanting to study film, theatre, media studies, and sign language in my first year and VUW offered all three of these subjects so I decided to come to Wellington. I love the city and knew I wanted to stay here and study design – plus a bunch of my friends from the halls were studying design at Vic so it was kind of a no-brainer for me.
BP&BP: What made you choose design and the specific major?
I have always had an interest in film and animation and visual effects fit right in with this. In the courses, I am taking we are learning so many aspects of ANFX that I never even pictured myself learning e.g. digital 3D modeling and sculpting. There is a visual effect MFA course that I would be super interested in taking.
BP&BP: Did you ever question that choice?
When I first started university I studied film, theatre, media studies, and sign language and I enjoyed it but felt that I wasn’t working up to my full potential. I love practical assignments and in design, everything I do is practical. Since changing to design I haven’t questioned my decision.
BP&BP: What project are you most proud of?
I worked on a digital 3D modeling city scene earlier on in the year and I did not know the software very well to start with but I worked on it for a long time, talking to my tutors and lecturer for feedback, and I was very proud of the result.
BP&BP: What project are you least proud of?
Still scarred from DSDN 111 working in the workshop. This was very out of my comfort zone and not at all my forte.
BP&BP: What is the hardest project you’ve worked on?
In one of my film production courses at the start of the year, I was the editor of a short documentary. For some reason, I decided that I would include 2D animation, which was going to be very difficult considering the time I had to do it. I had more than a few late nights that week.
BP&BP: What motivates you to get up and grind?
Deadlines and doing projects, I like feeling accomplished when I hand things in.
BP&BP: What is the highlight of your working week?
I have weekly assignment hand-ins and these are the highlights of my week as I have complete short animations that I am then able to use in my portfolio.
BP&BP: Outside of school what do you do?
When I’m not working on my projects I’ll be with my friends and flatmates hanging out. I also enjoy watching movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
BP&BP: Do you think that affects your practice at all?
I think yes because making memories allows you to have more experiences to draw inspiration from for projects.
BP&BP: What values/ideologies do you carry across your practice?
A lot of the time our work is focused on VUW’s strategic values (Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga, Rangatiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, Akoranga, Matauranga) and I find it quite helpful to keep these in mind with my projects. The ones I value the most are Manaakitanga (respect), Kaitiakitanga (sustainability), and Whanaungatanga (inclusivity).
BP&BP: While at design school, what’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Design is a process and I find I am always working on the project right up to the deadline, even when I start it on the day I am given the assignment. Sometimes your work is just not perfect when you hand it in – but this doesn’t mean you can’t work on it after the deadline so it can be used in your portfolio.
BP&BP: What was the best lesson?
Diamonds are built under pressure.
BP&BP: If you could give your past self any advice what would it be?
I would tell myself to talk to tutors/lecturers more because they’re the ones who can give you the advice to improve what you are working on.
BP&BP: What are you working on now?
I am taking a digital 2D animation class as well as a 3D animation class and these both require very different skills and I am enjoying both courses. We have weekly exercises/checkpoints for both of these courses that are helpful to keep on track. In 2D I have just completed a short dance animation with a focus on character design and secondary action. In 3D we are working on the performance of a character including dialogue for facial animation.
BP&BP: Where do you want to go from here?
Potentially completing an MFA in VFX then ideally working in the film industry doing animation, VFX, editing, or producing.
Connect with Sophie on instagram: @sgeorge,anfx and learn more about Baggy Pants and Butter Paper here https://baggypants.info/Issue-One-The-Tester and follow them @Baggy.pants.and