Profile on LaSalle College Vancouver

We had the opportunity to interview LaSalle College Vancouver, learning more about how they originated and how they currently contribute to British Columbia’s creative industries.

What kind of work do you do in the creative industries?

LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) is a boutique creative career school offering an array of exciting applied arts programs in the fields of Fashion, Game Design & VFX, Audio & Film, Culinary Arts, Interior Design, and Graphic Design. With over 35 different programs to offer and with credentials ranging from bachelor’s degrees to certificates, LCV is the perfect place to let creativity run wild. LCV, accredited by Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education of British Columbia, has been crowned one of the top 10 undergraduate schools for video game design by the Princeton Review for the past 7 years, and one of the top 50 fashion schools by Fashionista.com. LCV takes pride in its direct links with the workplace and educational network in Canada and around the world and offers diverse opportunities and support for students to be exposed to industry and build their skills necessary for success.

How did you or your company get started? 

LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) opened its doors in 1998 as an English as second language school (ESL). In 2002, the school began to focus and expand on design-based programs such in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Artistic Make-up, Interior Design, Jewellery Design, Graphic Design, and 2D/3D Animation as well as on-line training programs in Interior Design, Fashion Marketing, Video Game 3D Modelling, and Administrative Assistant.

On February 1, 2017, LCI Education Network, of which LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) is a member, acquired The Art Institute of Vancouver an award-winning higher education provider offering an array of exciting applied arts programs in diverse fields such as VFX for Film and Television, Video Game Programming, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion, Culinary Arts and just to name a few.

Located in 80,000 square feet building in beautiful Vancouver, LCV delivers programs with credentials ranging from Bachelor Degrees, Diploma’s and Certificates and has been consistently named one of the top 10 undergraduate schools for video game design by the Princeton Review.

What milestones have you achieved or are you focusing on now?

For the last nine years, we have been named the #1 Game Design school in Canada which also takes into account all of our Media Arts programs when creating the ranking.  We work very hard to continue to maintain this ranking.

 

Learn more: 

https://www.princetonreview.com/press/game-design-press-release

https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/game-design/methodology

http://www.lasallecollegevancouver.com/news/princeton-review-2018-ranking

 

An Interview With John Baer for Pixomondo

Vancouver is the centre of the world right now when it comes to VFX. There is so much innovation happening here, and we need to develop our talent so that we can continue to produce a new level of quality. -John Baer

When John Baer was a kid, he remembers watching Jurassic Park in the theatre and being amazed at what was happening on screen.That movie, along with a handful of others, set him on a path to inspire people through motion picture.

Yet, it’s not always as easy as it seems to break into the industry. “I started at the bottom as a production assistant on a soap opera and slowly worked my way up, eventually giving tours of NBC. At some point, I realized that if I wanted to work as a producer, something needed to change.”

John went on to work with some of his industry idols, including Michael Bay, learning what it takes to produce a film from start to finish. Yet, it wasn’t until he worked on the Transformers movie that he had his first real introduction to high-end visual effects. “I learned all about digital effects – we were doing things that hadn’t been done before.”

John was then given the opportunity to marry his production knowledge with his VFX experience by coming to work at Pixomondo. “When I joined, they were on an upward trajectory, growing at a fast rate, and they were looking to expand. All of the research pointed to opening a Vancouver office, so that’s what we did.” While Vancouver has a huge amount of talent, there’s also a lot of competition. Every major production company seems to have an office here, and there is a battle for the most experienced talent. “I’ve personally interviewed 300-400 people in the past year, but it’s not just about talent. You need a group that will get along and work well together.”

Many companies, Pixomondo included, are developing their own internal training programs so that they can train, and retain, their talent. “It helps deliver standardized results with artists of varying experience so that everyone isproducing at the same level. This is definitely an area that we could use more support with, as it costs a lot to set up the right kind of training program.”

In order to distinguish themselves, Pixomondo set out to offer something different. “I think what separates us is that we offer our artists the chance to work in a smaller, more collaborative environment where they get to see the whole picture. They get to talk to the different departments over coffee, and their insight is valued.”

While Pixomondo is best known for creating the dragons in Game of Thrones, and the film Hugo before that, they don’t want that to define them. “The bar has been set by the historical quality of our work. Yet, we also need to be cutting edge. Vancouver is the centre of the world right now when it comes to VFX. There’s a high demand for experienced talent and the demand seems to be growing faster than the supply. There is so much innovation happening here, and we need to develop our talent so that we can continue to produce a new level of quality.”

An Interview With Sharon Taylor for Animal Logic Group

What we need to succeed is to continue to connect with our industry, and other creative industries, in meaningful ways. -Sharon Taylor

 

Sharon Taylor started her career in finance and accounting. Twelve years ago, she answered a newspaper job posting from animation studio, Animal Logic. Today she is Animal Logic’s, Group Chief Operating Officer.

“On the day of my interview at Animal, I knew I was home – it was definitely where I wanted to be. During my years at the company it’s really been incredible to see so many great individuals come together with a collective creative vision, that’s the glue that holds us all together and it’s what resonated with me and what I love about the industry.”

When Sharon started at Animal Logic in Australia, they were working on their first animated feature, Happy Feet. “The company was doing something that had never been done in Australia. We were making Australia’s first CG Animated Feature Film – breaking new ground in technology and pushing our creative boundaries to new heights! The vibe was so inspiring!”

When Animal Logic expanded into Vancouver, Sharon contacted Bob Wong and the team at Creative BC right away. “Their knowledge, support and generosity in helping us understand the ins and outs of opening a studio in BC was incredible. They are the biggest supporters of our industry, and they help us navigate the challenges we face as an industry. We cannot thank them enough for their continued insight and support.”

 

 

Sharon’s first impression of Vancouver? She settled in almost immediately. “The city is beautiful and multicultural, much like Australia. The differences lie in industry. Production studios are fewer and more spread out down under while here in Vancouver it feels like there’s a VFX or Animation studio on every block. Although many of us are competitors everybody comes together, contributing to building a robust industry in British Columbia.”

According to Sharon, the VFX and animation community needs to continue to work with government and industry partners. She believes a collaborative industry approach can solve shared challenges. “There are things we can’t control, like exchange rates and cost of living, but we need to come together as a collective force to tell the story of this industry.”

The story for Animal Logic is currently revolving around the LEGO movies. “For us, The LEGO Movie was the little film that changed everything. Whilst working on The LEGO Movie we saw its AWESOME potential close to the end of production. When it was the blockbuster hit that it was, we were so proud. It was such a ground breaking film for us to make and was the start of an incredible franchise, in Vancouver we are excited to be working on The LEGO Movie Sequel and build on the great success of the LEGO movies.”

For Sharon, staying inspired is key. “Inspiration can come from anywhere, really. The more we can bring different creative industries together – not just over issues as they arise, but to come together as an engaged community – that’s where we can really build this industry up.”

Company Profile: Linetest Collective

Linetest Collective is a fusion of design, craftsmanship and storytelling.

A small team with a big impact, Linetest Collective works to bring together artists and industry professionals to create something truely unique.

Having grown from the early methods of animation Linetest Collective still prides itself on their values and quality of work. They are true storytellers that take time to present to their clients beautifully, handcrafted work.

We had the opportunity to speak with Linetest and learn more about their innovative organization. Read our interview below and be sure to check out the Linetest Collective website to learn even more.

How did your company get started?

Linetest Collective started 8 years ago when a group of animators wanted to collaborate outside of work to create outstanding projects. The motivation behind the collective was to use their creative skills collaboratively and really have ownership of the work produced. We later decided to turn it into a company and keep it going under the same name.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

We’ve proven our quality of work through the acknowledgments of our numerous clients and motion design enthusiasts, plus the prestigious and motivating awards we have received.

What milestones have you achieved or are you focusing on now?

We are always on the lookout for our next exciting project, where we can have the opportunity to showcase our talents. We are also focused on growing a more diversified team to accommodate our business and creative needs, locally and internationally.

Which brands have you worked with?

Since starting in Vancouver in 2010, we’ve collaborated with many global and local brands, such as SAP, Lululemon, and Telus. Please see the following links to some of the work we are really proud of:

HYPER ANTHEM

SAP LUMIRA

CANUCKS AUTISM NETWORK

Follow along with Linetest Collective on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

An Interview with Mike Wozniewski from Hololabs

 

We want the online universe we are creating to become a resource for kids, parents and teachers interested in computational literacy – and we need support to make that happen. -Mike Wozniewski

Mike Wozniewski came from the world of academia, where he was studying virtual environments and game engines in Montreal. Yet, he gravitated toward artists and how they push the boundaries of technology and creativity. “The most satisfying work for me is building technology that helps artists create new art.”

Mike launched Hololabs in 2010, and then moved to Victoria with his wife and three kids. He set out to ensure that every project he worked on – from video games to virtual and augmented reality, to web portals – would help empower people to be more creative. When asked what Hololabs niche focus is, he was quick to respond: “We make wacky, experimental, weird things! Most importantly, we want to empower people to learn and be creative through technology.” Yet, there’s something even bigger motivating him these days. “Two of my kids are young girls, and as they started to engage with technology – mostly through the app store – I was frustrated with what was available to them. Everything was so gendered and stereotypical. And then I met Jordan.”

 

 

Jordan Stratford, who lives on Salt Spring Island, wrote The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, a book series featuring positive female role models in science, technology, engineering and math. Based on young Ava Lovelace, the first computer scientist, and young Mary Shelley, the first science fiction author, the series follows two young girls in the 1820s as they set out to solve mysteries often connected to other female trailblazers.

 

 

Mike is now turning that literary world into an online universe. “Our hope is to create a video game that can play across platforms, as well as a web portal that gives kids the opportunity to engage with the characters on an ongoing basis. They can learn how to become a better detective, they can read about female pioneers, and they can even interact with a mechanical computer. We want this website to become a resource for every school that is teaching computational literacy.”

With the support of Creative BC, Mike is building the online portal, yet he knows that’s only the beginning. Hololabs is self-funded, so they not only have to find development money, but they also need to figure out how to maintain everything once it launches. Mike believes that finding people who will champion his vision is key.

 

 

 

 

 

BLACKBIRD INTERACTIVE

Blackbird Interactive Inc. (BBI) is an independent game development studio dedicated to creating uncompromising, immersive games with a strong narrative and distinctive art style. They were founded in 2007 by a team of former employees from Relic Entertainment and Electronic Arts. In true start-up fashion the company started out in the garage (also known as Studio 0) of CEO Rob Cunningham. In 2010, after outgrowing the garage, BBI moved to its current location (Studio 1), a 9,000-square foot space at 577 Great Northern Way.

In 2016, they released their first game, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. The critical success of Deserts of Kharak springboarded BBI to a global stage landing several new projects with major publishers. These projects are still unannounced, but stay tuned as the team is extremely excited with the opportunities for growth that they will provide the studio. Additionally, Blackbird is working to develop their own internal projects with the goal of expanding their own IP and game development tools and technology.

Over the course of the last 16 months the studio has doubled in size and will reach over 100 employees by January 2018 which will bring them close to 150 employees by this time next year.

To accommodate this rapid growth they are expanding into a brand new 28,000 square foot space (Studio 3) at 565 Great Northern Way in Q4 of 2018.

While BBI is full of industry veterans with decades of experience it is also extremely important to them that they foster young talent within the creative and technical disciplines. To this end they remain actively involved with local universities, art schools and game design programs and remain on the lookout for exceptional artistic talent.

Visit Blackbird Interactive

 

 

 

Electronic Arts- Vancouver

Electronic Arts Vancouver (EA), is no stranger to the creative industry as they are the largest Video Game Developers in British Columbia. Electronic Arts purchased Distinctive Software, the original developers of both the NHL and FIFA video game franchises, in 1991. Twenty-six years later, Electronic Arts Vancouver is still a pioneer within the Sports Video Game sector.  The Vancouver campus handles all the lead development work for FIFA Online, currently the largest and most widely played sports video game in Asia.

Their campus, located in Burnaby, includes a full-size soccer field, arcade, on-site dry cleaner, guitar lessons and their own doggy daycare, these perks are one of the many ways EA is competing to attract the best talent to Vancouver. EA Vancouver employs approximately 1500 full-time positions, with an additional 500 part-time contractors on any given day. “We’re growing. We’ve probably added 100 to 150 [full-time] people per year,” says Jonathan Lutz, Vice President of Financial Planning & Strategy.

The Video Game Industry is extremely competitive and continues to grow at an exponential rate. This is why Jonathan Lutz is so passionate about career growth and training in the creative technology sector. “We need the best and brightest in the world on our teams in order to compete” urges Lutz. Play to Learn, a youth program developed in partnership with EverFi, is just one of the ways EA Vancouver is developing BC’s local talent. Students in Grade 8 through 12 can learn the basics of coding and are provided with the building blocks to pursue a career in the gaming industry. At the end of the course, students are given career recommendations based on their interests.

Harnessing the energy of BC’s youth and helping them develop their skills and talents to work in the creative technology industry is a major focus of EA Vancouver.  “We’re building the future pipeline of talent to come from BC as much as possible.”

Check out their internships and careers info.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ea/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electronicartscanada/

 

Digi BC

The Interactive & Digital Media Industry Association of British Columbia, DigiBC, is a member-supported organization representing the creative technology sector. The Creative Technology sector includes video games and interactive, visual effects, animation, and digital creative and marketing industries. Lead by their Board of Directors, DigiBC ensures that Interactive and Digital Media continue to grow and thrive within the technology sector of our province. By exploring networking and sponsorship opportunities, public policies and promotion, the supported organizations continue to create new jobs, and develop new technologies.

According to their website, BC has over 600 digital media companies which employ over 16,000 people across the province. They regularly partner with various academic institutions that specialize in Interactive and Digital Media for new technologies, educational programs, research and development.

Make sure to visit DigiBC and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Congratulations to Finger Foods, Winner of the 2017 Exporter of the Year award!

The B.C. Export Awards are the province’s most-prestigious awards paying tribute to the success, economic impact and innovative approaches of B.C. export companies. They celebrate the valuable role that the export industry plays in the B.C. economy. Since their debut in 1982, the awards have recognized more than 300 B.C. companies.

The BC Export Awards annually seeks out BC’s Top Exporters and honours them for their excellence and achievements in 9 categories, including 8 directed at firms and 1 at individuals. The Awards are presented by, Business in Vancouver, the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology and the BC Division of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters with support from annual sponsors.

Finger Foods Studios was selected as the 2017 Exporter of the Year.

In addition to the Exporter of the Year Award, Finger food also received an award under the category of Digital Media and Entertainment.

 FINGER FOOD STUDIOS

Finger Food is an award-winning technology company creating advanced user experiences across multiple platforms. The company works with global businesses to drive innovation and growth with solutions that utilize holographic computing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Finger Food delivered the world’s first production holographic application, created the world’s largest coding education platform with Sphero and brought the future of retail to the world with virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. From its local community to global corporations, Finger Food is actively changing the way people interact with and use technology for the better.

To learn more about the B.C. Export Awards, visit: http://www.bcexportawards.com/
C
ongratulations to all of the other 2017 winners: http://bit.ly/2i4mVJS 

To learn more about the partners and sponsors of the B.C. Export Awards, visit: http://www.bcexportawards.com/2016-sponsors/

 

Kickstart Entertainment

Los Angeles based company Kickstart Entertainment is a film and entertainment studio focusing on development, live action production, animation, visual effects and literary publishing. Founded in 1999 by Jason Netter, Kickstart’s vision was simple: create a company that balances both creativity and flexibility as its pillars. Since then, Kickstart Entertainment has grown to over 100 employees with offices in China, Hong Kong, India, London and Vancouver.

Heather Puttock, President and Founder of Kickstart’s Vancouver location, started working with the studio in 2005. Realizing the potential for an office in Vancouver, she moved in 2007 to be closer to “Hollywood North”.  Kickstart Entertainment prides itself on doing a bit of everything and aims to continue to grow organically with maximum flexibility. Recently they’ve invested in a digital studio based out of Toronto, Relish Interactive.

Kickstart commits to approximately 50% work for hire for companies like Mattel, Spinmaster, and PBS. When they are not working on other people’s projects they find time to work on their own, collaborating with local companies.

Recent work includes: Ready Jet Go! (PBS/Wind Dancer Films), Preacher (AMC), Greenlit, Back to Brooklyn and many more.

Be sure to keep up to date on Kickstart Entertainment’s many projects and collaborations by following them on Twitter and Instagram.