Discover how top lighting director Eduardo Martin got started in his illustrious career in the animated feature film industry.
Who are you and what do you do for a job?
My name is Eduardo Martin and I work as a lighting technical director on animated feature films.
What were your childhood inspirations and earliest artistic memory?
Although it may sound clichÃ©, Disney was a huge artistic influence when I was a kid. I also remember reading lots of comic books and watching TV series such as Mazinger Z, The Pink Panther, Woody Woodpecker, The Flintstones, Popeye, Mighty Mouse
The earliest artistic memory that I have is when I got the chance to copy some frames of Disney's The Jungle Book
onto a big display to cover some of the walls of my classroom when I was probably about 8 years old.
What training have you had (if any)?
I have been pretty much self-taught during my whole career. I got introduced to computer graphics back in the mid '90s, when I had the chance to sign up for one of the first CG courses available in my country. That course taught me the basics and also helped me realize that this was what I wanted to do for living.
At that time, there were very few places where you could go and learn about animation and computer graphics, so I decided that from that point on, and during the following four years, I was going to work towards my own college degree in CG.
As soon as I got my first job, I started buying books and working long hours, and treating it as if I really was in college. During those years I never thought I was working, but that someone was paying me to study, and that is an attitude and philosophy that I have kept to today. The world is evolving at a stunningly fast pace, so it is essential to keep up to date or you will fall behind incredibly easily.
Are there any particular schools or courses that you'd recommend?
To be honest, I am not very aware about what is going on in the industry when it comes to schools or courses. Nowadays, there are so many options that it could be overwhelming. The good news is that as a student, you have the chance to get taught in the way that best suits your preferences and budget; be it college, private schools, taking online courses or even learning by yourself.
From what I have seen over the years, it seems that while having or not having some kind of degree is quite irrelevant in Europe, in the United States having a college degree may set the difference between getting hired or not. Most of the big studios also look for talent at the universities and I have seen lots of recent graduates whose first job was already in a big company.
However, those degrees are quite expensive and only a few talented students have the chance to earn a decent paycheck out of school, which makes the burden of college loans something to be considered. In any case, by the end of the day, getting hired or not usually comes down to three factors: the quality of your work, contacts/networking and being in the right place at the right moment.
What was your first job in the industry and how did you get it?
My first job was in a company where I did product previsualization. We had an industrial designer who was in charge of designing and modeling the products with Alias, and I was taking care of the rendering with Softimage. The funny thing is that the Silicon Graphics computer that we had back then was so expensive that we had to share the same workstation and work on shifts!
I got the job through networking and I was lucky enough to realize early on how important is to have a good network of contacts. I recently read that most of the hiring happening nowadays is through referrals and very little through application forms.
next page >