My name is Casey Eagle, born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and I’m 27 years old. When I left High school, I did a year of AS levels then dropped out when I was accepted into an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering. I was an aircraft mechanic for a total of 8 years, and It took me a while to realize I didn’t enjoy it. When the pandemic hit, the future of the aviation industry looked very bleak, so I decided to take the jump and make a career change to something I wish I had done from the start, Visual effects. I was very late into looking at universities given my situation, and finding a university that appealed to me whilst also accepting my engineering background with little artistic experience was difficult.
In my free time, I like to train at the gym for bodybuilding (not competitively), occasionally I would play video games (I’m either playing all the time or not at all), and usually go snowboarding every year.
My new job at W&N Studio would be described as 3D Generalist. My tasks vary every day, from carrying out and managing renders, modeling assets, animating, creating dynamics, and also pre-visualizing scenes in Unreal Engine using assets, animations, and simulations created by artists globally or by our team in London (if a quick turnaround is needed). The job is extremely versatile which I love, and has me utilizing my skills as well as learning completely new ones in softwares such as Maya, Unreal Engine, and Houdini.
The freelance position became available to me through a fellow student and friend of mine, who recommended me for the position given what was required of the role. During the interview we discussed more about the role, and what the exciting projects that were upcoming needed of me. The job needed to be filled asap and I was glad to accept (I began working two days later).
My advice to people looking for a job in the industry would be:
1. People buy People, so make as many connections as possible, and that starts within the classroom, with your peers and your lecturers. Another good way is to attend events and seminars in the field you’d like to be employed in (e.g game jams, conventions, meetups, etc).
2. Be open to opportunities, because you may end up finding something/somewhere you really enjoy that you didn’t think of, instead of narrowing your expectations to blockbuster film studios or triple-A game companies.
3. Put in the work now, because even if you do have the connections are they likely to employ/recommend you? Because it’s their reputation they’re risking if you fall short of expectations. Who you know can get you in the door but it’s what you know that will keep you in. You’re not expected to have mastered all sorts of skills, but you are expected to have the work ethics to get there, and that will show through your projects, portfolio/showreel, and how you come across to others.
I wanted to pursue in visual effects because I believed it was a great way to express myself artistically using technical skills, something I would never be able to do with a paintbrush/pencil (which is what discouraged me from taking the artistic path leaving high school). I also find it extremely exciting that some of the amazing visual effects produced in blockbuster films that I watched over the years were completely attainable through some tuition and practice.
Given that I had already started and finished one career, I wanted a fairly quick change over to the next, which is why the 2-year degree rather than the 3 years appealed to me. VFX also covers many skills in itself, each of which I had no idea whether I would enjoy or be good at. The course SAE provided went through each of those skills, which helped me to find my niche at the end of it
What I enjoyed most about my degree was learning Unreal Engine, and using it to implement my ideas and creativity. I imagine ill be raving about the software for years to come. The best part of SAE for me was getting to know all the people I worked with including students, lecturers, and staff, many of whom I continue to keep in contact with 🙂
Speaking on behalf of Visual effects animation, if you put in the work, you’ll come out with what you want. Best decision I’ve ever made.