To see my demo reel, just click here:


To See just my gallery of still images just click here:


Friday, November 2, 2007

Everything has just changed

I have seen the future, and it is here.
What do I mean by that, you ask?
If it's the future, how can it be here?
Isn't that the present? Yes, but also
no. Let me explain...

I have been getting familiar with the new
Sandbox 2 editor that comes with the
demo for Crysis, the new game from
Crytek and EA that comes out in 2 weeks
or so (November 16). In fact, the image
that is at the head of this post was
rendered in real-time with this game
engine (click to make larger).

It is, quite simply put,
unlike anything you have ever seen. It is
an animation program, real-time renderer,
game modder, shader creation tool and all around
incredible software accomplishment all wrapped
up in a free (yes, FREE) software download. In this one
program you have everything you need to create your
own animated movie. Really. I am dead serious. You have
characters (which can be totally recreated with external
applications like Softimage XSI and others), lip-synch tools
motion capture tools, motion detection/tracking algorithms,
terrain creation and texturing tools, vehicle dynamics,
cloth dynamics, ai, real-time shadows, volumetrics... Need I go on?

Of courase, the one thing you don't have, that you have to provide,
is a great story. Funny thing is, that has always been the hardest
part to get! Well, it still is. But now, assuming you have that, a great
script, great voice actors, etc., you can achieve what, literally, last week
was impossible. You can create a cinematic-quality movie with limited
hardware and software cost.

So, if this is here now, what is the future part, Perry?

It's only going to get better from here, that's the future part. More and
more of these type of programs will no doubt be making debuts
in the years to come. As real-time rendering gets more sophisticated,
it will completely replace off-line rendering. After all, why wait when you
don't have to. For those of us that use the mental ray renderer, goodness
is already here, because mental images has ported their entire renderer
to run on nVidia cards and within the framework of the Cg shader language.

The future is indeed bright and shiny!

Pinch me all you want, because I am not dreaming anymore.
I had foretold this day about 5 years ago, and shared it
with some of the people I worked with at the time. We all agreed it
would happen some day.

Looks like someday is today! Here's to tomorrow...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"As a matter of Cosmic History...

"As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy, than to create."

-Spock to McCoy, from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

With that one sentence, the writers of Star Trek II (Paramount, 1982), Jack B. Sowards and
Nicholas Meyer (who also directed the picture) encapsulate my feelings exactly on
not only computer graphics, but on life as well.

Let me explain...

How easy is it to pull a trigger?
How easy is it to say something that you regret?
How easy is it to fight with someone for so long that you forget what the fight is about?
Unfortunately, too easy.

Now, let me ask you this...

How easy is it to create an image that makes someone cry from joy?
How easy is it to create a song that brings people back to their childhood?
How easy is it to write a book that changes the world?
Unfortunately, not very easy.

Why is this? Well, someone once said that nothing worth doing is ever easy.
I agree, although at times (many times) I wish it were easy.
The pain, the struggle, the sheer effort of creation makes the end result all
the sweeter. If it were easy, well, what would be special about anyone's creations?
Nothing really.

If it were easy, what would you say about someone who was unable to create
something special? You might tend to put them down, ask why they weren't
able to create a thing of beauty when, clearly, it is so easy.
If you did that, then, how long would it take before they stopped even trying?

Unfortunately, not long at all.

The fact that it IS NOT easy to create, to make things of beauty or wonder,
is the very reason people keep trying. If it had been easy to go to the moon,
would we have even tried? No, we would have gone to Mars.

Think about that one moment in history,
and imagine it gone. No more "One small step for man, one giant lep for mankind".
That one sentence (like the one at the top of this posting) completely summarizes
what I am writing about. The giant things in life are accomplished by small steps.
It doesn't make them any easier, just possible.

What the students at Flashpoint Academy are doing is very difficult. They are learning
an amazing amount of information in a very small amount of time. Standing at the
bottom of, what to them, must look like a huge mountain, they often feel that it
is going to be so much effort that they don't know if they can do it. Then they start
climbing. As they take those small steps, they look around, and to the left and the right,
it doesn't look so steep. In fact, it is kind of beautiful! Not easy, but beautiful.

I encourage them to take the time to look around, as they climb this mountain.

Getting tired? Is it really difficult? Good!
You are doing something that will make you
feel great when you are done. Still tired? Kind of scared?
Then stop for a second and turn around.
Look down at the path you have walked. See how far you have come
in such a short amount of time?
It will only get better (and harder) from here.

But in the end, when you are done, it will also be all that much sweeter.

Every one of you reading this blog has the ability to do great things.
Those things are not easy. Nothing worth doing ever is.

Now stop reading this blog and start climbing that mountain!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Do you believe in...

Not a long post today, but just wanted to log the feelings
I think a lot of us felt today as we kicked off
the start of something magical.

Magical, not in the way we teach (although
I'd like to think the students think the experience is magical),
but in the way it will change
the way media arts education is taught from here on out.
When something as groundbreaking and impactful
as Flashpoint comes to a field as important
and fast-paced as the media arts,
the effect upon the way it's taught from this
point forward will change as if it was done
with a snap of the fingers, leaving no doubt
in anyone's mind that it is the best way to teach this.

I felt the awe and wonder in some of my students that I recognized
as feelings I felt when I first started working in the industry (but
NEVER felt when I was in school). I am so happy that they are
able to have that experience even before they enter the fields of
their choice. It's that excitement, that sense of wonder, of, yes, MAGIC,
that will have to carry them through the hard 2 years that lay ahead of them.

I have no doubt that it will be enough. More than enough.
The way I felt today, and the looks I saw on their faces,
were proof positive that this journey
we are teaching them how to take,
will be one that they will
never forget and will serve them
for the rest of their professional lives.

Congrats to our students on their first day!

All of us at Flashpoint are so excited to be helping to teach them to be
the artists they want to be, and in doing so, they are helping us to be
the type of teachers we want to be
(and the type we always wished we would have had).

Monday, September 10, 2007

...while you work!

The thing that makes all of us so into what we do for a living
is the actual "doing" of it. In deciding to take a full time
teaching position, I wanted to make sure that the
"doing" would be a large part of it.

Boy, is it ever!

Today I got to spend time with John Murray, Chair of
Recording Arts at Flashpoint Academy while he worked
on the sound design for our summer film project called
"The Collector". The film, directed by our Academic Dean
Paula Froehle, was shot in August and has now been edited
to a fine cut. It's in post, with John working on the sound design,
myself working on the visual effects, and our Chair of Game Production,
Simeon Peebler, working on a game that will accompany the film's release.

It was great sitting in the sound editing room with John today, listening
to the beginnings of the sound design for the film. It's amazing what
just a little well thought out and subtle ambient noises will do to
make a film shot on a sound stage feel like it was shot in a house
in the 1940's. John played a section of it that used to be Paula shouting
instructions to the actor, but now included the humming of the actor
as he worked on his collection of Butterflies, and the sounds of a dogs
barking in the distance, mixed in with crickets. It all worked, and suddenly
made the images on the screen start to feel genuine. Not that the images
are not good, they are actually fantastic, shot by a really talented DP
by the name of Peter Biagi, with a Sony CineAlta F900.

It's just that they lacked 50% of what makes something read as "real".
That's John's job. He fills in the missing 50%, and makes the images come
to life. I can't wait to see the whole thing filled out with the music of life!

I also got to spend time with Peter Hawley, our Associate Chair of Film.
He's a really great guy, with a great sense of humor, and we have an
easy time talking at length about what it is we love about this business.

When we were done talking, he had work to do, which was shooting more
interviews for the "Making Of" documentary that he is doing to document
the creation of, not only this film, but the building of a new way of teaching
students how to work in the media arts and sciences.

Heady stuff! But Peter takes it all in stride, makes people feel at ease, and gets to work.

He interviewed me for the doc, and made it quick, easy and not a big deal
(even though it is). I am sure the final doc will come together smoothly
thanks to how he makes it easy for everyone to just relax and talk about
their role in the making of the film.

It was after all this was over that I realized how great it is to not only
be able to "do" what I do for a living, and teach others how to do it,
but to be able to be around other people while they do what
they love to do.

Hey, it just doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One week to go!


The time is almost upon us when Flashpoint will open its doors to the first
class of students. How time flies when you are working like crazy! In addition
to all our normal Flashpoint work, we are all working industry professionals,
with projects going on the nights & weekends.
Even trips to the bathroom are not safe from work!
When do you think all that reading for class assignments is done, huh?

I'd like to direct your attention to something really cool: Flashpoint is the
first new school to open in the Chicago Loop in over 40 years.
Wow! That's amazing, and sad, all at the same time!

Amazing because it's our school that will break that dry spell of more
than 40 years, and sad because it shows how little education has
been valued by the public for much of that time. But there is a
resurgence happening in the last few years. Education, in many
different forms, is exploding. Especially for the visual effects
and animation industries. DVD's that run 20, 30, 40 or more
hours are regularly selling out from online retailers. Usually these
DVD's are application specific, but not always. Books that teach
animation still continue to be high sellers in traditional and
online retail stores.

Online learning is also exploding, allowing people that are not in
close proximity to a school to learn from instructors and classmates
from nearly anywhere in the world.

We are soon going to be opening the doors to a brand new
facility that is second to none in the technology of teaching.
But even with all that metal, electricity and wiring, the most
important element is still the human one.

Speaking as one of the humans that will be teaching at
Flashpoint one week from now, I can't wait to
see what you all come up with when that spark of
creativity is lit inside of you.

Get ready everyone!
Buckle your seatbelts,
because the
ride is about to begin!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

T-Minus how long???

16 days.

T-Minus 16 days, and counting...

That's how long before Flashpoint: The Academy of Media Arts and Sciences is open for school! There is a lot left to be done, but it will all get done. The excitement is carrying us all through the long hours and the craziness that happens when anything new and groundbreaking is started. It's part of the fun, and it wouldn't be the same without the craziness.

To a degree, the intensity makes all creative and groundbreaking endeavors not just "bearable" but actually thrilling. Like when I made my first visual effects shots for a real movie. At the time, what we were doing was groundbreaking. No one had done digital effects at the price point we were doing them, on the schedule we had, for the producers we had. And to top it all off, we had never done this before. No, I don't just mean we hadn't done visual effects for movies (we hadn't), I mean we were doing creatures (we had never even attempted those on our own), sky replacements, rotoscoping, particle effects, morphing and the list goes on. Read today, that isn't really scary. But for a bunch of guys who only made animated logos before, this was like being given the keys to ILM, but with no one there to run the place. We had to figure it all out for ourselves.

And we did.


But that is the best way to learn something. Just do it. Anyway you can. Even if everyone else (including yourself) thinks you can't. Show them (and yourself) how wrong that is. Prove it. Learn how to do it by doing it, making mistakes, changing strategy, and doing it again.

A wise old puppet once said: Do or do not. There is no try.

What he forgot to mention was that trying means "thinking about it". When you do something, even if it isn't working, you are still doing it. If it doesn't work the first time, do it again. Don't "try it again". DO IT again. Eventually, you will do it right. And when you do, you will have learned the "how" in the phrase: "How it's done". The phrase isn't "How it's tried".

If you fail, you've learned something. You've DONE something.
Eventually you will win.

If you try, you're still just thinking about it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Like a Frankenstein movie I tell ya!

Wow. That's all I can say. Last week, when we had those insane rain and storms throughout Chicagoland and Northern Indiana, I was driving back to my apartment, heading towards the Sears Tower and - - - - - - BOOM! A bolt of lightning hit the antennae on the top of the Sears Tower like you wouldn't believe! It was SO intense, SO bright and SO gigantic that it honestly looked fake. Like it was a bad effects shot from a Frankenstein movie! I have never seen lightning like that in person, and it was such an amazing sight that rather than being afraid of the storm, I eagerly looked around for more lightning. I wanted to see that again, but it wasn't going to happen. While completing my drive to my apartment that night, I began to think about something that has always been funny to me... Sometimes we, as artists, try so hard to replicate reality, that it ends up looking kind of homogenized. We try to make it have JUST the right color and JUST the right shape and JUST the right motion. Then, when we see something real, we are surprised, because it ends up looking FAKE! It's not, of course, it's just that our limited view of the "real" world is always filtered through a set of things we profess to know based upon past experience, and when something comes along that doesn't follow that past experience, we are thrown for a loop. I spend a lot of time people-watching. But equally as much time world-watching. It's such an amazing planet, Earth. The things we see (when we aren't huddled in some darkened room in front of a glowing monitor) are more amazing than anything we can currently recreate with the sticks and stones we have for making computer graphics. We have so much further to go until we are able to recreate reality, if ever. And when and if we are able to someday, it will still be limited by a filter known as "life". If we haven't experienced enough of it, then how are we to know when something looks real, or looks like an old Frankenstein movie?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The King of Kong: can't wait!

Tonight a bunch of us from Flashpoint are going to see The King of Kong, a documentary about two players who have been locked in mortal combat (or, Mortal Kombat) for years over who is the world record holding Donky Kong Champ. Yes, I said Donkey Kong. Sounds ridiculous? Well, to us it is, but not to the two players. And that, in my opinion, is what makes for the start of a great documentary. No matter how insane or ridiculous the subject matter is, as long as the person who the documentary follows believes it to be incredibly serious, then you have fertile ground for humor, interest, and emotional connection to the film. You see, even though I think that there are way more important things to strive for that being the best in the world at a nearly 3 decades old videogame, someone might actually think that something I care deeply about is a waste of time and crazy. This gives me an immediate connection to a documentary like The King of Kong, which I hope will be another in a long list of great Docs alongside some of my favorites: American Movie (my number one, hands down); 30 Days in Hell: The Making of 'The Devil's Rejects (an amazing DAY by DAY making of which doesn't sugar coat ANYTHING about making a lower budget horror movie); Super Size Me (fast Food is Evil); This Film is Not Yet Rated (arbitrary censoring of movies is Evil); Crumb (a feast of weirdness) and many more! I am particularly interested in knowing about more documentaries about making movies (not just 'Making of's") in the vein of American Movie. Anyone know any others?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lightning Stikes are INCREDIBLE here

The few storms that we have had here while I have been in Chicago have been amazing. Thunder, lightning (lots of it, and often). Maybe it's because the area is so generally flat. I am not sure. All I know is that it is an incredible sight to behold. I talked with others from Flashpoint, and they said they have watched the Sears Tower hit multiple times (on the antennae), over and over and over again. Like a giant lightning rod, but it never seems to sustain damage. I wouldn't be able to say that about anything else that got hit, because the lightning seems to be very intense. Maybe I am just closer to it than I am used to, and it's no stronger here than back east. Or maybe it's lightning from Thor's Hammer! OK, it's probably not, but I needed SOMETHING goofy to end this post with!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Render Theory

One of my friends, Robert Cole, has a great signature line on his emails and posts:

Render Theory. Either it renders or it doesn't.

I love that!

Especially, if you, like me, have ever used Autodesk Maya to render your animations. It's, unfortunately, not a given that it will render. It can, and does, often crap out on you when you hit the render button, expecting the magic to start appearing frame-by-frame while you walk away blissful in the hope that the cool animation you just created will look 100 times cooler with those awesome shaders you just made for your objects, and the incredible lighting that you just spent hours (no, DAYS) working on... You leave the office, counting the hours it will take to render by taking the average time per frame, and multiplying it by the number of frames, and adding a bit (a tad, a sprinkle, a smidge) of time for longer render times for some frames. The next day, when you get in to the office, you walk straight over to your desk, turn on your monitor, and you can't wait to launch the animation in fcheck. Wait!!! What's this?!?!? It's still rendering? But how can that be? By my calculations, it should have been done at, like, 4:30am... What the hell?!?! It's still on frame 7 ?!!!!!!?? But when I left, it was working on frame 5 !!! And that's when you realize, Robert is right. Rendering is a theory, and it isn't a given that it IS going to render. It's more of a hope. As in: "I hope this works..." or "I hope this doesn't die on me after I walk out the front door..." All this (and loads more) is what made me switch to Softimage XSI years ago. Sure, it's not perfect, but it renders (or it doesn't) right away. No more walking in to the office in the morning and being un-happily surprised. Now the only unhappy moments of surprise I get with it are when I make a stupid mistake, and the final render isn't as "awesome!!!" as it was in my head when I dreamed of what it would look like when it was done. Oh well, live and learn. Do you have any "rendering horror stories"? Let me know, so I can feel better... Oh, and one more thing! If I had a signature to my posts or emails, it would read like this: A big hollywood director and a visual effects guy are on set for a huge bluescreen shot. The VFX guy is worried that the bluescreen won't extract correctly for the composite. The director looks him straight in the eye and says "Don't worry about it, we can fix it in post".

Friday, July 27, 2007

Indiana Freakin' Jones!

Well, in case it isn't obvious to all of you, I am a huge Indiana Jones fan. The fact that they are making a new movie (and just finished day number 26 of shooting), blows my mind!
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a fantastic movie (my favorite) and just gets me pumped up every time I see it. Of course, I have seen it too many times to mention without embarrassment! Yesterday at the San Diego Comic Con, Steven Spielberg gave a live video feed to the audience at Paramount's movie panel, and welcomed Harrison Ford (in full Indy get-up), Ray Winstone, Shia LeBeuf and.... Karen Allen! Yes, Marion Ravenwood is back in Indy's life to abuse him and hopefully get back together with him. I know I am identifying myself as an uber-geek to even post this, but I just couldn't help but get excited about all of this. If yo are interested in any of this, head on over to these places:




Thursday, July 26, 2007

CG for CG's sake = lame

OK, I haven't seen Beowulf yet (no one has, it isn't even finished) but the trailer that appeared for
it made me start to think about something that people who know me would probably be surprised to hear me say (or write, in this case). I am disturbed by the notion of doing a realistic CG movie just to say you did. I am not AT ALL suggesting that is what Robert Zemeckis has done with Beowulf, but since we have yet to see so little of the movie, the fact that nothing in the trailer REQUIRED the characters to be created in CG, makes me wonder what happens in the story that DID dictate that the movie should be done all CG? I am confident that there is quite a lot there that dictated that choice. But it does suggest a potential trend that I see: things that
could more easily and convincingly done with live performers are starting to be done with CG characters instead. Why? Just because we can, does that mean we should? I would say no. The story, to which everything should be in service of, should dictate more than anything what medium the film is created with. But does it always? Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was just a dull and story-poor movie. It could have been done for a lot less money and effort with real humans playing the real humans (I can't even believe I have to write that!), but it was done with CG "humans" because it had never been done before. If the first fully computer generated film was done in CG because it could, we really wouldn't be in the same place we are now, with CG films making gobs of money at the boxoffice.

Thankfully, we got Toy Story as the first fully CG film, a film that really was tailor made to be done in CG, since it was all about the "secret life of toys" and created a fantastic and not-too-real world that they lived in. The story was great, the acting was great, and it really was the BEST way to tell THAT story. I leave it up to seeing the movie in November when it is released to judge for myself whether Beowulf was best created in CG or not. What do you think about this possible new trend?

Monday, July 23, 2007

At One With Nature

Illinois is a LOT more beautiful than I ever imagined.
I am used to Connecticut, which I always loved for it's twisting
tree-lined roads and sleepy bedroom communities. This weekend I went in search of
a nice town for me and my family to live in, and came across this great nature walk area right on the property of a huge subdivision that I was looking at. Check it out:

This brings up a really good point, which is this: spend time observing nature, especially if you are trying to recreate it in the computer. What makes it beautiful? What makes the sun
so bright when it reflects back at you from the water on a lake (and what do your pupils do when it's that bright)? How do bees hover over a flower before they land? How do trees REALLY sway in the breeze (as opposed to the built-in functions in most CG animation programs)? Think about this for a moment... Do you really know what all this stuff looks like?
Do you really? If the answer might even be a "maybe", then get up off your duff and get out into the real world and take a peek. You might be surprised what you find. I know I was!

Children of the Summer Blockbuster

It wouldn't be obvious to anyone younger than children of the late 70's, probably,
but we are in another "Golden Age" of big summer movies that make us throw our
popcorn from fright or excitement, make long lines stretch out into the hot summer air,
It's this time of year that they pack the trailer-time before the movie with previews of coming attractions that everyone comments on to their date or friend in hushed whispers that are either
"I am SO going to see that!" or "I'll pass, I'd rather clean my garage out than see that..."
Started in May of 1977 with Star Wars, the Summer Blockbuster is a real, tangible, great part of my childhood memories. There was all three Star Wars films, Raiders of the Lost Ark (my favorite film of all time) and it's sequels, Jaws (forget the sequels), The Superman films,
James Bond films, etc. etc. etc...
And now, I feel we are in another period that is like that time
in history. It's not just the boxoffice these films are generating (because, frankly, with the cost
of a lot of these films, the profits are actually LOWER than the blockbusters of my childhood).
It's that what was once old, is renewed again. We have a new Indiana Jones movie coming out
next summer, another Batman movie and Superman movie coming in the next 2 years, Iron Man is coming, another James Bond movie, Spielberg and Lucas pal-ing around making films they love, with crews they have worked with for 30 years... It's a great time to be a movie fan, and here's hoping that the movies are good (great would be even better), and that even in some
small way bring the "Children of the Summer Blockbuster" back to a time when the world was simpler, safer and a whole lot more fun! I've got my popcorn, do you?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Peter Hawley (Flashpoint Film Co-Chair) Interviews Danny Boyle

Flashpoint's own Peter Hawley (Film Department Co-Chair) interviewed film director Danny Boyle about his new film "Sunshine" which opens in the US today, as well as asking him some non-specific filmmaking related questions of interest to all. Great job Peter! You can
go to Peter's blog to read all about how the interview went here and you can watch the whole 9 and a half minute interview here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hollywood Midwest?

Chicago is, more often than not, becoming a place for major features to be shot, screened
and premiered. It's an easy trip for both the California and Texas film communities, as well
as the New York based community. People in the media arts, who live in Chicago, are
at the start of something great. The more connected that the world gets, the faster that
the internet connections get, the better we are positioned to not only host the live action
component of a film, but also the post production aspect. Is Hollywood going to go out and totally abandon the post community out there in favor of one here? Not by a longshot. However, the more affordable and talented that Chicago area houses become, and the more efficient and
cost-effective the post work becomes, the more that studios shooting here will choose
to off-load some of the post work here. It makes sense. We, as a post production community, need to be ready to go after this work and handle it with care, creativity and efficiency. If we do, then more and more work will gladly come from out of state, even if, believe it or not, there isn't live action being shot here. Think about it: more work is being done in Canada than
anyone ever thought would go there. Why? Only one answer: IT'S A LOT CHEAPER. Studios
are businesses. They will sell your grandmother to save some money (maybe even their own grandmother!). We need to be honest about pricing, competitive, at the top of our game,
but not unrealistic about how much work is valued. If we go too far in the direction of reducing cost, than all we do is wipe out our post production community so that the studios save some money. It's a delicate balance. What are your thoughts on how to walk that tightrope?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Danny Boyle: As much Energy as the Sun!

Two nights ago a bunch of us from Flashpoint Academy went to a screening (a week before
the film's release) of Director Danny Boyle's new film "Sunshine". Attending the screening
were myself, Simeon Peebler who is Chair of Game Development, Paula Froehle who is the Academic Dean, Peter Hawley who is Co-Chair of the Film Department and a student of his
by the name of Dan.

The film "Sunshine" is about a time, 50 or so years in the future, when our sun is dying. Our world
(which we never see until the very last shot of the film) is a cold and doomed planet.
A group (the second group, actually) of pioneering astronauts are heading to the sun
to deliver a warhead that will blow up the sun, causing a chain-reaction, that they hope
will give it new life and energy.

The film screening was held by Capone, AKA Steve Prokopy, from Aint It Cool News.

Steve asked some brilliant questions and made some fantastic observations, including the
one he opened with. This comment was about the fact that it seemed that there were only
"brainiacs" on the space ship. He (and the audience in attendance) seemed to think that
this was the most accurate way to depict the story, since a trip as important as this one
would only work, if at all, with the world's best minds at the helm.

The film was fantastic, and actually made you care about all the characters, even the ones
who are "bad". The visual effects, by London's The Moving Picture Company (MPC), are very
well done, totally believable, and serve to give tension and drama to the film that relies,
at it's core (excuse the pun), on something that doesn't exist anywhere except in computers
at MPC.

We had a great time, and very much look forward to watching Danny Boyle's next film.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Where do you get experience without having some?

This is the age old question: How do you get hired to get on-the-job experience if you
don't already have on-the-job experience?

There is no simple answer to this, but using myself as an example, you can create
a scenario that works for you and your specific situation.

When I was first starting out, I really wanted to work in the film industry as a visual effects
artist. I knew (rather intuitively, being the smart guy I am) that NO ONE was going to
hire me to work on huge feature film visual effects movies with no experience.

My dilemma:

How would I go about getting that experience if no one would give me a chance?

My answer:

Find people doing the types of films you want to do at a respectable, but smaller level,
and convince them that you can do something they cannot afford to do, but if they pay
you to do it, then they can afford it. Sounds simple. Too simple.

It's not like once I figured this out someone went "Oh, OK, you are hired!"

But there is one part to this that I am leaving out. You have to actually be able to
back up what you say you can do. And show them you can.

How do you do this, you ask? By learning how and doing something LIKE IT.

Do it on your own. Make mistakes. Learn for free (free for them, not you).

Do your homework, and read about how things like you want to do get done,
and try it out. Today's technology means that almost anyone can attempt to create
visual effects like those seen in the movies, for very little money. The effect doesn't have
to be a perfect a match, just good enough to convince them that you can come close
on your own, and that, with their guidance, and all the money they are saving by
hiring YOU to do the effect, you can get them something that will let them tell their
story the way they wanted to, but couldn't afford to.

In my life, I HOUNDED Roger Corman's company. It was when morphing was still
kind of "hot", and not everyone could do a morph on their cellphone.

I hounded (politely) until one day, when they had a need for some morphs, the only guy
they know who could do these "wiz-bang" effects they wanted was me. They called me,
and that very day, started my entire career.