Meet the Speakers 2020: Chris Ebeling

Meet the Speakers 2020: Chris Ebeling
February 11, 2020 CG Futures

MEET THE SPEAKERS 2020: CHRIS EBELING

Driven by crafting unique visual experiences for Film, TV, Games and emerging technologies, Chris Ebeling is a world-class Animator, Creative Director, Writer and Digital Artist having worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as The Lego Movies, The Great Gatsby, Gods of Egypt and Happy Feet 2. Supplementing his extensive film and VFX background, Chris has successfully creative directed projects in the real-time space, with experience across games as well as virtual and augmented reality projects.

Q: Can you briefly walk me through your story – how did you get your start in the industry? What’s your current role like?

A: Starting out as a student graduate from Sydney’s Enmore Design College, I made my way up through the ranks in the film industry starting as a rotoscope artist. From there I was able to navigate my way into 3D animation, where I really felt like I belonged. After a stint at Animal Logic, I jumped around to various studios, quickly upskilling in other areas of 3D. I quickly found an interest in new technologies and crossed over to real time development helping make games in this space in my spare time. I decided to start giving back through education and started teaching at my former college, Enmore Design.

My experience in feature film animation joined with my leadership in education and mentoring made me an ideal candidate for laying the foundations and building the Animal Logic Academy at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Here I was able to use my wealth of industry experience to mentor young artists and creators of the future, pushing them to co-create and innovate while testing the boundaries of current and emerging technologies through a first of its kind’ Masters of Animation and Visualization.

I have since moved on to co-found my own digital creative studio, Virtually Human. Here, the core focus is to keep people, of all ages, emotionally engaged through digital immersive entertainment. Exploring emerging technologies in gaming, data and mixed reality. With a strong focus to constantly innovate by bridging the gap between the real world and the virtual world, where the two become inseparable.

Q: Tell us about your work. What are you most proud of?

A: I specialize in coming up with creative content for digital mediums old and new (preferably new these days) and lead and direct artistic and technical teams to execute on these ideas. I also animation direct, which means that I oversee the performance of characters and stories and make sure they feel authentic, believable and have an emotional connection with user and audience.

 

Q: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? Any advice for others?

A: Anything worth doing is hard work. While I feel I have been fortunate in my journey, it comes down to working your tail end off. This industry is competitive- so you have to put in the time. There aren’t many (or any) full-time positions in this industry anymore, it’s all contract based, so it sometimes comes down to what you do between gigs that defines you. Starting out I had to hustle warehouse jobs in between contracts to make ends meet. And while I did this, I still went home to animate and improve on my digital craft. You have to want it. The question I always ask young artists starting out… are you interested or are you committed? Only one will get you there.

 

Q: How do you stay inspired and keep from burning out?

A: Family and Friends and surrounding yourself with people like yourself. I love playing video games with my kids, watching movies with them, and then talking new ideas with my friends who are also into the same things as I like. Basketball is also important… and my wife is an absolute saint to put up with my long nights sitting at a computer.

 

Q: What’s one random fact that people would be surprised to know about you?

A: That I am Danish – Born and raised in Copenhagen- people usually put me down as North American due to my skewed accent.

 

Q: Any final words of advice?

A:

  • Work hard – put in the time.
  • Nothing is given- everything is earnt.
  • Study portfolios out there, The Rookies is an amazing resource for this as is Artstation. These are your competitors.
  • Job interviews, shesh, I could do a full talk about this as well, as I have sat through many on both sides of the table.
    • Do your research on the role, understand what is expected of you.
    • Do your research on who is in the room.
    • Speak to everyone in the room.
    • Its ok to start off by saying you are nervous.
    • Practice your handshake with friends. Can even practice interviews with them as well.
    • Don’t be late… Rather come 30 mins early, then 3 mins late.
    • Make sure you have showered, deodorant, breathe mints, dress appropriately… First impressions last.
    • If you can, look people in the eye when you speak to them.
    • Be respectful and humble.
    • Be ready to talk about your portfolio, and ready to breakdown what exactly you did.
    • Finally, reach out to people you know who got their first job. Ask them how their interview went, look at their reels and CV’s… emulate them! As for soft skills, best way to overcome this is working in a CAFE or McDonalds… not even joking. If you can put up with the every day customer and hold a job in these places, your soft skills are fine.

Follow him on twitter @iamchrisebeling

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