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Inside Scoop | Meet Viviana Palacios, Talent Acquisition Manager

September 5, 2022

Hi Viviana, hope you are well. Please can you introduce yourself and the position you have at Technicolor?

My name is Viviana, but you can just call me Viv! I am one of the Talent Acquisition Managers at Technicolor Creative Studios. I focus on hiring lighting artists of all levels for MPC Montreal and Toronto. I come from the artist side of the industry (Lighting Artist for 25 years), so I have a slightly different career path than most. This gives me the unique ability to know what it’s like to be in the artist chair, understand the studio pipeline and speak the artist language! As a recruiter, my focus is to offer fresh opportunities to help artists grow in their careers, while keeping a mindfulness on kindness, curiosity, inclusion and humour!

Aside from VFX, Animation and Games, I have also worked with advertising agencies as an art director, do freelance web design, create crafts, teach/mentor, enjoy photography and love to bake!

How would you describe The Academy and what happens there?

Our Academy offers free access to virtual learning and gives artists hands on job experience and knowledge of our live action MPC VFX pipeline. It is geared to prepare you to dive into our studio production by teaching you how to work within our team environment, be involved in dailies, receive feedback by a dedicated senior mentor and overall give you the experience of being part of our studio. Upon completion of the course, you will have the opportunity to apply for available roles at Technicolor Creative Studios.

What type of characteristics/skillset would be an amazing fit for someone interested in being a part of The Academy?

We look for artists with strong portfolios in their chosen department that are ready to take the next step into live action and excited to be part of our studio experience. It is important for an artist to be able to pick up software quickly, communicate well, and be able to take criticism.

Does being a part of The Academy provide a career advantage and if so, why would you recommend this?

Definitely! You will have the opportunity to learn from a dedicated senior level mentor in your department, who will help hone your skills and lead you into future success. You will also have continued access to video tutorials featuring industry experts and the potential to use your project work to continue building your demo reel. It really is a WIN / WIN situation! I would recommend the academy to any graduating student, Junior level artist, or someone who is looking to add live action into their arsenal of skillsets.

What are your 3 tips/advice for interviews?

1. Be yourself – help us learn more about what makes you uniquely you. Tell us about your goals and what sets you apart from other applicants.

2. Be prepared – research the studio, the people that are interviewing you and the projects that the studio is currently working on. Prepare a list of questions to ask (it’s ok to have it written down) and don’t be shy to read from your notebook during the interview. The more excited you are about talking to us, the more excited we are to hire you. Being prepared can also help with anxiety and it will show confidence.

3. Practice – take the time to practice answers to tough questions, practice body language, and take time to BREATHE! (I recommend doing a quick breathing exercise before and after the interview. You GOT THIS!)

Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking about joining The Academy?

Take this opportunity seriously, give your best and be a sponge! (Absorb all the knowledge you can). The connections, network and knowledge you take with you will help your career journey.

Can you share with us what Women in Animation is? – What has been your highlight so far?

Women in Animation is a non-profit organization with the purpose of furthering, promoting and supporting people of all gender identities in the art, science and business of animation. WIA helps young artists find a place in the business world. We envision a world in which people of all gender identities share fully in the creation, production, and rewards of animation, resulting in richer and more diverse entertainment and media that move our culture forward.

I’m the Mentorship lead for the Vancouver Chapter and responsible for finding local mentors to join our network and support them in their journey as they run their seasonal circles. The WIA Mentorship Circles program welcomes mentors and mentees from all over the world, specializing in all aspects of the animation industry. I began by mentoring one artist and then ran my own mentorship circle of 7 mentees before being asked to be the Vancouver lead.

The biggest highlight for me has been able to see the benefits of mentorship countless times over the years. I have watched mentees get hired for the first time and climb the ranks toward their dream jobs, which isn’t always possible without the contributions from our network of mentors. I personally cannot express the joy that being a mentor has brought into my life, and I would love to encourage more people out there to be part of this amazing program.

Can you share with us what Think Tank is? – What has been your highlight so far?

Think Tank Training Centre was born out of a passion for sharing industry knowledge with the next generation of artists creating assets, animation, or VFX for the top Film, Television, and Game companies across the globe. The school is known for its intimate, personalized support for each student during and beyond the programs.

I am one of the teachers at the school and offer “The Job Search” class for their Spring and Fall semesters. In this class, students learn creation of effective resumes & cover letters, how to present themselves in social & professional networks, and prepare for successful recruitment scenarios & interviews.

The highlight for me is seeing the growth in confidence and interaction from the students as we move along the course. Comparing the before and afters of their resumes and how well they present themselves in our mock interview session. I had a few of my past students recently go to the Technicolor Job Fair Booth at Siggraph 2022 to meet me in person (all my classes have been virtual since 2020), and it really made my day!

What drove you to be a part of organisations such as Women in Animation and Think Tank?

When I entered the industry, it was very difficult to get guidance and support. I made a lot of mistakes and learned the hard way to navigate a male dominated industry. I promised myself that I would give back as much as I could to young artists and young women so they would not feel as isolated as I did. WIA has given me the opportunity to not only connect to more women in the industry, but also to encourage women to form their own tribes of support. Think Tank has given me the opportunity to educate young artists on how to be prepared for their first job application and give them access to ask me anything about the industry and application process. I am so grateful to both for giving me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives and careers of young creatives.

What personal development/growth have you seen from attendees of these programmes?

From WIA, I have seen the growth of confidence, the beautiful support with each other, the smiles and celebrations as they share their wins and the overall connection that remains even after the program ends. It also brings a smile to my face when the mentors choose to be mentees of other circles and vice versa.

From Think Tank, I have seen curiosity, connection, and support within their peers. I love to see them beam with pride as they showcase their final resumes and reach out to me with wins after an interview. Following them on LinkedIn as they get their first job is an amazing feeling and I am so proud of my students!

What are the current trends within the industry that you have spotted?

The industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies, techniques and software. Unreal Engine, Katana and Houdini are currently the top 3D software tools that the studios are moving forward with, and it is important to keep your skills sharp. TV episodic (as we see the shift into streaming providers) and games have raised the bar to compete with film quality, and we are in a very exciting time to be part of it all!

If you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, is there any advice or tips you would like to give?

Trust, challenge and be kind to yourself. The industry can be overwhelming sometimes but having those connections with your peers to learn and support each other will be invaluable during your career. Be patient, as you might receive a lot of rejections as you grow, but never give up on applying to your dream studio. One day you will be sitting among the people that have inspired you along the way.

Connect with Viviana on LinkedIn.

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