“Now I feel ready to go out into the industry and get a job”

  • Published: 2 Aug 2019

Animation & VFX student Jemma Tansley talks us through her Masters Show film…

“My Masters Show work is called Ecdysis and it’s a live action film based around mental health. The main purpose for this short film was to challenge the negative image [around mental health] and provide hope for anyone who watches and connects with the story; something I wanted to do since I first applied for the course here. I’ve recruited actors, organised a shoot, done all the cinematography, directed it, edited it, and now I’m working on the visual effects in the post-production stage.

“The film is about a girl who’s just having a normal day until an unexpected event happens; a portal opens up and it takes her into an alternate version of the world. In this world her heart is covered in a dark substance, but when she interacts with it the dark substance disappears. A lot of mental health issues are not something that can be easily cured; they’re something you accept and learn to live with. It’s in this moment that the character realises that her mental health struggles are something she has to accept, and that accepting them will help her heal in the process.

“I’m really interested in the technical side of animation, such as visual effects and compositing, and so because of that I’ve chosen to do a live action film rather than an animated film. In the process of creating the film I’ve basically taught myself new software programmes, such as Nuke, from scratch – with the support of the staff at Duncan of Jordanstone. It hasn’t always been easy and sometimes I’ve wasted hours trying to figure something out that is fairly simple, but it’s worth it in the end.

“I think it’s really important that even if you are from more of a technical background, like me, you can show that you can apply those skills in a visual way. I can write in nine different programming languages, but when you apply for jobs people want to see a show reel of your work, not pages of code. For me, this final project and this course as a whole have taken my skills to a different level.

“Doing the creative things, like storyboarding and character development has been the hardest part of the course, but also the most rewarding. It’s brought out a different side of me and it’s also equipped me with a lot more skills going forward. On a professional level, the course has taught us the real production pipeline within the industry and has really prepared us for employment. After my undergraduate course I didn’t feel ready to go out into the industry. Now I feel ready.”

You can find out more about Jemma’s work on the Masters Show website. Are you interested in our Animation & VFX course? Then have a look at our course pages here.

"On a professional level, the course has taught us the real production pipeline within the industry and has really prepared us for employment."

Jemma Tansley, Animation & VFX student