Career Advice: Working as an Assistant to a Director of Photography
Daniel Pieri, a graduate of Billy Blue College of Design is currently working at Blue Bandicoot animation studio. Daniel shares firsthand experiences as an assistant to the Director of Photography, providing valuable insights into the production process.
Currently, Daniel is working for Blue Bandicoot, an animation studio, where she actively contributes to the production process. In this article Daniel gives us an inside look at what it's like to work in production as an assistant to the Director of Photography.
What did you do at Bandicoot and what did it involve?
In my role as an assistant to the director of photography, I had the privilege of working closely with the studio owner, who entrusted me with various tasks to support the ongoing projects. From creating assets to organising the workflow, my responsibilities spanned a range of project-related activities.
What type of projects were you involved with?
During my time at Blue Bandicoot, I had the opportunity to contribute to an animated series comprising multiple episodes and also worked on the production of several professional corporate videos.
When did you first realise you wanted to work in this industry?
I wanted to work in this industry because at school I started drawing with my friend and really enjoyed the creative process of designing characters and coming up with new worlds. I always loved the design process of video games, looking at concept art and 3D model breakdowns, wishing I could make it.
My passion for the industry started during my school years when a friend and I discovered drawing and designing characters together. This sparked my interest in video game design. I always looked at concept art and 3D model breakdowns, wanting to create my own immersive gaming experiences.
Describe the journey you took into your last role?
I was working at my previous job when I got a call from the owner of Blue Bandicoot. I knew the owner from working on a University assignment with him filming a dancer. He called because I messaged him asking him about opportunities at the company and he called to tell me what they were doing and then offered me a job!
Day in the life
What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day, I would meet with my boss to determine the priorities and tasks at hand. This could involve preparing backgrounds, serving as an Assembly Editor, or sometimes conducting research for special projects. Collaborating closely with the heads of various departments, I gained invaluable experience and witnessed the power of effective teamwork in achieving collective goals.
What third-party and proprietary tools did you use?
The main programs I used were Premiere Pro for editing the footage, Excel for organising scenes, and Photoshop when preparing backgrounds for each scene within the animation.
Which departments and key people did you work closely with?
In my position I got to touch every part of the department in some way and worked closely with all the heads of the projects.
What were the greatest takeaways from your experience working in a team?
Collaborating closely with the heads of various departments, I gained invaluable experience and learned the power of effective teamwork in achieving collective goals.
What did you learn at Billy Blue that may have helped you?
My education at Billy Blue College of Design equipped me with essential skills, particularly in 3D modeling, which I applied to several projects at Blue Bandicoot. The college also instilled in me a passion for continuous learning and the ability to adapt to new technologies and artistic techniques.
Is formal education essential for someone aspiring to do your job?
While formal education may not be an absolute requirement for this industry, I found it to be immensely beneficial. The connections, friendships, and mentorships I gained through my educational journey were invaluable, providing me with a strong foundation and opening doors that I may have otherwise overlooked.
What do you wish you knew about the industry before you started?
Just how difficult it can be to break into the industry.
Where do you get your inspiration from, and how do you implement it into your work?
I get a lot of inspiration from my favourite games and artists. Looking at their art motivates me to give my best, both in my professional work and personal projects.
Describe a project brief that you’d recommend artists create for their portfolio?
Creating projects for your portfolio that align with your interests and showcase your progression and learning outcomes, you can demonstrate your ability to learn, adapt, and evolve as an artist.
If you could give one piece of advice to artists starting out, what would it be?
Each project, no matter how it may initially appear, presents an opportunity for growth. With every undertaking, keep the desired outcome in mind and identify what you want to learn or reinforce. Embrace the process and never stop pushing yourself.