Thanks to all for a great Job Mixer 2!


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Taking a quick second to thank everyone for coming out and making our Job Mixer 2 such a great night.  Was great to see and check in with everyone;  I sincerely hope the connections made result in great work all around.  There is a great energy in Portland, and I hope we can all find new ways to harness it.

Special thanks to OMPA first and foremost, for loads of planning and event support.  Since the displaced included stop motion production folks (animators, puppet fab, etc), it was so great to have OMPA, who is considered the organization for the production side folks, involved. As I hear more about their mission and master plan, I realize they have some great resources for us “post” types, too.  Definitely check them out!

VFX/PDX was created to break down studio boundaries and get everyone together under one roof, but it’s often easier said than done – and so rare that we pull an event off of this magnitude.  Big thanks go out to all of the participating studios for taking time out of their day and busy production schedule to meet with everyone and support an event like this.

The Art Institute made for a nice central venue and with the recent (sad) closure news, it was an unexpected “swan song” visit for some of us who taught or attended classes there.  That being the case, this might make for a nice final memory.  Regardless, thanks to them for hosting and we wish them all the best.

Also stepping up to support this event were our local food+beverage sponsors.  Show them some love by supporting them back when you can:

Last but not least, thanks to photographer Danny Rawson for taking some great photos of everyone, including those you see here.

Thanks for a great night!


Job Mixer 2 – the sequel! July 9th @ Ai


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Hard to believe that it’s been over a year since our last job mixer, held as Grimm came to a close.  Time to wind things up again as an equally large group finishes up – this time out at LAIKA on their current production, Missing Link.  This puts a sizable contingent from our ranks, all top tier talent, out on the streets and available for hire.  Our goal is connect you all with other studios/companies/productions on the rise – ladies and gentlemen, I give you Job Mixer 2!

Confirmed studios/companies attending:

Not quite what I meant when I said “stop-mo resume…” 😉

Bent Image Lab
Deep Sky/Giant Astronaut
Refuge VFX
The Other House
Mode Adjust
Joint Editorial
Kamp Grizzly
Laundry Service
MPC (Canada opportunities)
and more to come…

Update that resume and dust off the ol’ demo reel, because this event is coming fast!  The details:

Monday, July 9th
from 5-7pm*
Art Institute of Portland
1122 NW Davis St
3rd Floor/Student Commons loft

Parking:  the “Brewery Blocks” garage directly beneath the Art Institute (under Whole Foods) is probably your best bet.  There is another (brick) garage across the street that could be a 2nd option.

LAIKA may be the catalyst, but this event is open to all – from student to supervisor.  *Important note:  After the public event, individual companies can opt to schedule private interviews with candidates that they’d like to go a bit more in-depth with.  These interviews will happen in offices down the hall from the main event from 7-9pm later that night, so you might want keep that time available in case you’re contacted or tagged for one (or more) private interviews.  Pencil in some extra time and don’t make any plans or let that babysitter go quite so early, whatever your case may be.  This facet of the event offers real job prospects and hiring potential, ratcheting up from a mere meet and greet to a serious job event!

Please help us track numbers by RSVP’ing for this event – grab your free ticket over at Eventbrite now:

LAIKA artists being rolled off – get in touch with LAIKA HR about how best to take advantage of the reverse recruting efforts and the links to submit your materials.  In addition to the above Portland based companies, there are several studios from Vancouver BC (including Sony Imageworks, Double Negative, Method, Animal Logic + others) who will be remotely recruiting the LAIKA artists who express interest.  MPC is making the trip down to recruit directly, and others may as well.

We’ll see you at the event!  Special thanks to the Art Institute for the space, and huge thanks to collaborator OMPA for overall event support and especially for helping to fold in our brothers + sisters from the stop-mo/production side who are equally impacted.  Food and beverage sponsors so far include Brew Dr. and Viso, so a big thanks to them for supporting our event.  Let’s make Portland work!

Note – if you are a studio/agency/production company who would like to participate, get in touch here.

Making the most of our upcoming Job Mixer 2!

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Howdy!  Attending the upcoming VFX/PDX + OMPA job mixer event?  Cool.  Here’s a brain dump to mark the occasion, with some tips to consider as you prep.  Much of this could be filed under “obvious,” but won’t hurt to put it out there as I know everyone is in summer/4th of July autopilot mode.  I’m getting lots of questions from the student and entry level types who may be attending this type of event for the first time.

First, it will be busy.

Yes, we joke that this is the “sequel,” but there’s some truth to that – we’ve done this once before!  Last year when Grimm was folding up camp, in fact, so we somewhat have an idea of what to expect this go-round.  We had about 250 come out last time (!!), and this time around, I think we’re actually expecting more.  Now, it comes in waves and not everyone at once, but still, it’s a tight space and saying it’ll be “busy” could turn out to be a massive understatement.  So don’t be shy.  When you step to each company’s booth to say hello, make sure you speak loudly and clearly.  If it’s a mob scene, don’t be afraid to repeat or ask “what??”  No one will fault you for it, we’ll all be in the same boat.  The goal here will be controlled chaos.  🙂

Second, it will go by quickly – quicker than you expect.

Over 20 companies in attendance – and potentially a line to speak with each one.  Do the math – you might not be able to talk to all.  Prioritize!  Consider having a quick look at each company ahead of time, see if you can get a feel for what they are about and if they align with your skills and career goals.  You can learn a lot from a quick glance at a website or a reel, and we have companies representing an extremely broad range of the CG spectrum (and then some!) at this event – a showing of the true diversity of our Portland scene.  Some are household names, like Nike, others are startups you may not have known even existed.  Agencies.  Video Game asset support companies.  A little research ahead of time will go a long way, and should give you plenty to keep in mind, sort, and prioritize.  Who do you absolutely not want to miss talking to?  Who’s your top 3?  Walk in with a plan and hit those first, and then start to make the rounds to your lesser priorities from there just in case you can’t quite speak with everyone.  Similar to any “job fair” style event, each company will have a banner or logo posted above their booth so you can ID them easily – and there will be a front desk to direct you towards where you want to go.  Keep it short and sweet…  but what’s appropriate here?  A couple of minutes of face time should do – check in, find out what projects are coming or what’s just gone out the door.  Connect for the first time or reconnect and get back on the radar after your time being locked down with another company or in school.  Sure, do try to make a lasting impression to separate you from the pack.  Always.  But at the same time, don’t try too hard or even worse, take up too much time.  Be yourself.  It’s hard to make a connection in a meet and greet situation, so try but no need to force it.  Remember that the person you’re talking to could be several people removed from a hiring manager, supervisor, or company owner who might interview you and make the decision.  Dress code? I would say no need to dress to the 9’s – I hate to use the term “business casual…”  but maybe “Portland summer casual” is more appropriate – we are in an art school setting after all. Don’t be afraid to express yourself (within limits) if you think it will help you leave a good impression.  RuPaul recently had a great line from the SNL Monologue – “don’t be afraid to use every color in the crayon box.”  If you have a favorite shirt or outfit, wear it!  Be comfortable.  Maybe try to avoid flip flops, right?

Ok – a couple of additional things to keep in mind here on the subject of hiring – first, it’s possible the company will be conducting the optional 10 minute 1-on-1 interviews immediately following the public mixer, and you may get tagged for one of those if you’re on the list of immediate or upcoming needs.  Second, it’s totally possible some (or dare I say most) of the companies are not hiring right now.  But even though most companies around here have their current needs under control, this is an event about prospects. Matching new work with the best talent available.  The companies all know this and are anxious to get a feel for the ever-changing Portland freelance landscape – with LAIKA wrapping for a bit, there is a huge tremor in the force (as Obi-wan would say).  Most of the companies around here keep a very small core staff and the rest is freelance, and high turnover at that.  So – even if a company is not actively hiring with immediate needs, those needs could change in the weeks following the mixer and you may be called for an interview much (maybe months!) later.  Trust me when I say everyone wants to know that you exist, regardless of skill or experience level.  Have a nice exchange with the rep from the company and hand off your materials, be it a business card, resume, or otherwise.

Third, have your ducks (materials!) in a row.

It’s a good idea to bring business cards with links to your website/reel.  Pimp your brand!  Failing that, a printed resume works fine as well at an event such as this.  Either way, print up quite a few and have some extras (I would say 25-30 would be a safe number).  Some companies may ask you to input your data into their crew database – these events are great for that and you taking 30 seconds to punch your info into a tablet at their booth could make you much easier to find when they are hiring later.  Consider making a (or other) shortened link out of your reel or website if it’s a long link that’s hard to remember.  Many people are bringing along a tablet with their reel on it, or having it available on their phone.  If you’d like to try this, have it downloaded and ready to play in person (not stuttering on a bad connection or wifi).  This is a great idea, as often you’ll want to screen it with the person directly, or talk about an experience you had on a specific project – at which time you whip out the phone/tablet and have the visuals to back up your story.

Fourth, identify yourself.

This is a job mixer, after all!  Be ready to mix.  Yes, there will be name tags.  We’ll have a system where it’s easy to identify the stop motion production folks from the VFX/CG folks just by looking.  A way to identify those hiring from those looking.  And so on.  One thing to be aware of here – other than the 20 or so companies, there are other producers and smaller shop owners who are not formally requesting a booth but will be in attendance.  They will be mixing it up on the main floor just like the rest of you.  They may be targeting immediate needs for an Editor, a Motion Designer, a Texture Artist, etc.  We’ll want you to put your preferred job title on your name tag, so anyone can tell from a glance who the stop motion Animators are from those in Puppet Fab.  A Matchmover from a Modeler from a Compositor from a Rigger from an FX artist.  And yes, it’s ok to put “student” or “recent grad” if your life track isn’t set in stone like the rest of us.  Plan to check in at the desk on the way in and get this sorted.

Fifth, no parking tickets.

This event is in the Pearl, starting at 5pm.  Street parking in the area isn’t free until after 7pm.  Consider the parking garage (“Brewery Blocks”) directly underneath the Art Institute or the old brick building parking garage across the street.  Bonus points for taking public transport, you’ll dodge having to navigate that labyrinth of a parking garage after the mixer.

Sixth, you should probably eat beforehand.

Be smart here.  There will be drinks for sure, perhaps some light refreshments, but the event is “after work” from 5-7pm.  Eat ahead of time unless you can hold out until after.  Keep in mind there may be interviews after 7pm.  Grabbing something quick?  There’s a Whole Foods around the corner with lots of quick options.  There is a Peet’s Coffee and a Starbucks within a block of the Art Institute, but keep in mind the event is sponsored by Viso energy drinks, so feel free to skip the coffee if you want to arrive that much more quickly and try their brand of caffeination. (it’s great and we thank them)

Seventh, don’t flake!

Yeah, it’s summer in Portland. I’ll just be the voice of your conscience and remind you that we don’t do this often nor do we plan to.  Bringing everyone together like this is pretty much unprecedented, and most definitely something special, so don’t miss it and kick yourself later just because it was a sunny day. These companies are taking time to come out and talk to you, so make sure you come talk to them.  Smile – there will be a photographer making the rounds (a lesson learned from last time – we totally didn’t take photos!).  Have fun.  Those rolling off from LAIKA – don’t sweat it.  In one way or another, as it’s been proven time and time again, Portland provides.

See you there.  All the details here.

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