Breaking into Film and Television as a VFX Artist

Hosted by Geoffrey Mark


On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Geoffrey Mark

Webinar hosted by: Geoffrey Mark

VFX Artist and Supervisor (SPIDERMAN 3, SERENITY, THE 100, SHARKNADO)

Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

It’s no secret how profoundly the visual effects industry has taken over Hollywood. What was once relegated to only the biggest summer blockbusters and studio tentpoles has spread to virtually every wide release film, scores of TV shows, even web series and short form content. And with more avenues for VFX to be incorporated into projects, there is also a need for more VFX artists. A LOT more. As VFX continues to grow, innovate, and evolve, there hasn’t been a better time to venture into this field. Even still, this doesn’t mean breaking into VFX is ever easy.

The truth is it has always been a challenge to break into VFX as a career. Being successful in this industry requires both artistic and technical wizardry, a combination that is hard for anyone to master. Not to mention the ever-present and ever-difficult obstacle of 'getting noticed.' With today's entertainment landscape so severely altered, there are additional challenges, but also new opportunities. Understanding how the VFX industry works today and how best to put yourself out there in a way that will make people take notice will aid you in taking the first step into this exciting, explosive field.

Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

Using his deep knowledge and wealth of experience on this topic, Geoffrey will walk you through the pitfalls and opportunities that exist in the VFX industry today and give you tips and ideas on how to position yourself for success and make your dream of working in visual effects a reality. He will begin with a brief overview of VFX in film and television today and will give you a rundown of the two main branches within the industry. He’ll then break down the skills you need to begin a career in this field. Since it’s such a big and diverse field, Geoffrey will spend time outlining the many sub-fields and specialties within the VFX landscape and will give you strategies to help you figure out which of these will be the best fit for you. He will give you tips on how to find free education to continue learning and honing your craft and will show you how tutorials can sometimes be helpful, and at other times insufficient. Next Geoffrey will explain how to create your own reel as a tool to get noticed and hired in the industry. He’ll walk through how long the reel should be, what kind of content stands out the most, what content you should never include and how best to incorporate music. He’ll also give you tips on updating your reel as you go and how to alter your reel to better fit different job opportunities. He will also talk about how to actually get your reel out there once it’s complete, where the opportunities and listings can be found and the best ways to approach employers. He will then walk you through how to actually get the VFX job you’re after, including how to come across as hirable in a job interview. He’ll explain the three generally accepted skill levels employers are looking for and will show you how to determine which level you are currently at. Finally, Geoffrey will delve into how to actually deliver when you get the job. He’ll walk you through the overall landscape and pipeline, how to best work with the schedules you’re given, and strategies to work most successfully with both your lead and your supervisor. Through this webinar, you will gain a clear understanding of what the journey looks like to become successful in the field of VFX and learn strategies to better get you to that point.


What You'll Learn

  • A Brief Overview of VFX
    • The state of visual effects in film and television today
    • A rundown of the two main branches
  • The Skills You Need to Begin a Career in VFX
  • The Many Sub-Fields and Specialties in VFX
    • And strategies to help you figure out which field is the best fit for you
  • Using Free Tutorials to Your Advantage
    • Where to find free education
    • How tutorials can be helpful
    • When they might not be sufficient
  • Creating Your Reel
    • How long your reel should be
    • What kind of content stands out the most
    • What you should NEVER include on your reel
    • How best to incorporate music
    • Updating your reel as you go
    • How to alter your reel to better fit job opening
  • Getting Your Reel Out There
    • Where to find opportunities or listings
    • The best ways to approach employers
  • Getting the Job
    • How to come across as hirable in an interview
    • The 3 generally accepted skill levels
      • And how to determine which level you are at
  • Delivering on the Job
    • A look at the overall landscape and pipeline.
    • Working with the schedules you’re given
    • Working with your lead
    • Working with your supervisor
  • Q&A with Geoffrey

About Your Instructor

Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.


Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!


If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Navigating a Film's Financials: Budget, Cash Flows & Cost Reports

Part 1 - Budgets & Cash Flows Maura teaches you how to create a realistic plan for your film and make sure there is always money in the bank for what you need. You'll learn how to figure how much money you really need, and how to put together a proper film budget. Part 2 - Cost Reports, Film Infrastructure, & Tax Incentives Maura discusses setting up a film's infrastructure (from setting up an LLC to finding a lawyer) and various accounting options. She details cost reports, and how to analyze what you've spent and what you need to spend. Lastly, she discusses tax incentives before hosting a Q&A session. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Maura is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all filmmakers to participate.  

The Quibi Revolution - How to Write, Pitch and Sell a Project to a Short Form Streaming Platform

For many years in the industry, there were only three types of scripts that a working film or TV writer would ever be asked to write: a feature-length script, an hour-long TV script or a half-hour TV script. But with the addition of Quibi as a major driver of content and a serious player in the entertainment space, more and more writers are finding themselves working in a newer, short-format style of writing. In this webinar, Tripper Clancy, who has sold two shows to Quibi, will discuss how a Quibi show is made: from conception, to pitch, to writing, and ultimately to production. It’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely unlike anything else in the TV landscape right now and it's something you should learn to have another tool to be armed with. If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a working screenwriter in the industry, you may already know exactly what you want to write. Perhaps you want to be staffed on a particular HBO show. Or you have the perfect pitch for Netflix. Or you wrote a feature script that Blumhouse would love. Well, one of the things you’ll learn is that the secret to making a living as a writer is being open-minded about who pays your bills. And in TV, that means that a pitch that you knew was perfect for Amazon may actually end up at Quibi. And suddenly you’ll find yourself wondering how the hell you’re go tell a story that you imagined in one format in an entirely different, much shorter manner. When that moment happens, you need to understand how to be flexible with your story, and how you can adapt it to Quibi’s format. Tripper Clancy is a screenwriter who dabbles in TV and film, comedy and drama. His credits include STUBER for 20th Century Fox, I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS for Netflix, and two new shows for Quibi: DIE HART, an action-comedy starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta, as well as VARSITY BLUES, a modern day reimagining of the original movie. Tripper has carved out a successful career as a writer and has entered into short form storytelling with Quibi as a medium. Exclusively for Stage 32 Tripper will give you insight on how to write for a short streamer like Quibi. Tripper will go over a general overview of writing the the film and TV industry, including how to break in and the roles managers, agents and attorneys play in your journey. You'll get an understanding of specs vs. OWA (open writing assignments), how to pitch and how to get staffed. After you have a clear understanding of the general landscape, Tripper will dive into the similarities and differences between Quibi and traditional TV. You will know the length of time per episode, number of episodes and how they roll the episodes to the public. You'll get to learn the SVOD model and the pros and cons of writing for a streamer like Quibi vs. broadcast/streamers. Tripper will teach you how to approach pitching a Quibi show, how to develop the concept and what to pitch in the meeting. Finally, Tripper will teach you how to write for a Quibi show using case studies of his two Quibi shows: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and DIE HART with Kevin Hart. You will walk away with a clear understanding of the short form storytelling eco-system for a short streamer like Quibi.    Praise for Tripper's Stage 32 Webinar   "Tripper Clancy was an awesome presenter who cut to the chase in a clear, understandable webinar. I am writing a lot of short form, and until now, nobody was sponsoring presentations on anything but Quibi's business prospects until now. Thank you for getting ahead of the curve." -Mark D.   "Tripper's webinar was terrific - he's a great conversationalist and his open, candid, honest, accessible and very knowledgeable presentation & Q&A were very empowering." -Fran B.   "Tripper was really engaging. The conversational tone was enjoyable. Sometimes a seminar can feel like a stranger reading me their powerpoint, just slower than I would read it myself. That wasn't the case here." -Nicholas G.   "Tripper was phenomenal. Within 1 hour he gave us a whole course in something I knew nothing about before, but feel I have the tools to apply to write for Quibi. Another Stage 32 phenomenal webinar." -Ricki L.  

The Tools You Need To Attach A- List Actors to Your Film (With Offer Letter & Sales Estimate Example)

Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. Don't worry, there are proven strategies to solving this puzzle and assuring that your project is top of mind for managers, agents, and their talent. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. The reality of the situation is that "A" List talent and the representatives get dozens of offers a month. And with more and more name actors working in television, streaming series, limited series and now even digital series (hello, Quibi!), the competition is even higher. But you CAN compete and still attach "A" List talent to your project even if you don't have all your funds raised. Franco Sama has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to films up to $5MM. Franco is considered a pioneer in the world of film financing and casting. He speaks all over the world on the subject and has mentored thousands of filmmakers and producers on how to attach the best talent to their independent features. Just some of the actors Franco has cast in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar Winner, Darkest Hour, Oscar Nominee, Dark Knight) Christine Lahti (Oscar Winner) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Franco has also been a consulting producer on many films with many more in active development. Many top producers in the game turn to Franco to get their films off the ground. And now he's bringing his over 2 decades of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Franco will teach you everything you need to know about attaching top talent to your film including a bullet proof method for ensuring that managers and agents not only put your script in the hands of "A" List talent, but that they read the material! He will show you how to make sure your script is attractive to "A" List talent. He will teach you how to turn a Letter of Intent into a Letter of Commitment. He will instruct you as to the proper timing to make your offer, so you assure that everything is in order and that you're in a position to answer all questions. He will dissect a physical offer so you know exactly what you should be presenting. He will discuss pay and play offers, deferred payments, using credits as currency and back end point deals and how you can identify which of these offers and strategies to deploy. He will go over proper etiquette and how to make sure everyone is happy so that you win the trust of the gatekeepers assuring you can return to the same managers and agents again and again. Franco will take away the fear, anxiety, and, most of all, doubt, that comes with the desire to attach name talent to your project. You will learn all the proper strategies and methods to assure success.   "I had the pleasure of seeing Franco speak live at one of Stage 32's live education events. He was so inspiring, so confident and so willing to help, this webinar became an instant signup. Even with my high expectations, I was floored by the wealth of information and the explanation of the strategies within. My fear, and let's face it, my insecurity of approaching talent was crippling. Not any more. I've put in 2 offers on 2 different features this morning and I'm already lining up my next move. Can't wait for the next one, Franco! And thank you, Stage 32!" - Pamela R.   "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S.   "This was a stunning presentation. One of the best yet." - Antonio H.   "I have seen the light and I am ready to make offers. Try and stop me." - Lydia W.   "Empowering. I'm going to watch it a 2nd and 3rd time just to make sure I got it all down. Then, I'm working the phones. Great job, Franco and Stage 32." - Reese K.    

Robert Ogden Barnum - Today's Master Producers: Part 1

This is the 1st installment of the Stage 32 + Bondit Media Capital Masterclass featuring Matthew Helderman (CEO of Bondit Media Capital) and Robert Ogden Barnum (Co-Founder of Fortitude International and e2b Capital).

Your Definitive Legal Guide to Shopping, Option and Attachment Agreements - With an In Depth 32-Page Resource Sheet

This webinar has a 100% satisfaction rating! Acquiring the rights to a literary property with an eye towards turning it into a movie or television series is one of your primary responsibilities as a filmmaker or producer. Or, if you’re a writer with a screenplay or someone who owns IP that can be made into a film or TV series, how do you know you’re signing the right contract with a producer? Whether you are looking to acquire a screenplay, article, book, graphic novel or comic book series you need an option/purchase agreement — or is it shopping agreement? Or is it an attachment agreement? Trying to understand which agreement is right for you can make your head spin. But, it’s important to make sure you come to the table with the right agreement to protect yourself upfront and secure all the necessary rights to the amazing property you’re after. At a glance, it seems that there is overlap between the holy trinity of rights agreements: shopping, option/purchase and attachment. Unfortunately, many people confuse the terms and as a result people often end up coming to the bargaining table with very different ideas on what kind of agreement they are — resulting in the creation of Frankensteined-together versions of these three types of contracts. The wrong drafting can leave the writer stripped of their copyrights or producers and filmmakers unable to secure financing because they don’t have the rights they thought they paid for. There are key distinctions between these three agreements and any producer or filmmaker(or on the flipside, writer)must know the difference between them. Experienced entertainment attorney Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is here to help. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will give you a solid foundation of the legal issues involved in the acquisition of film rights, as well as a rubric for understanding, negotiating, and drafting key provisions in the option/purchase, shopping agreement, and attachment deals. He will walk you through the basics of copyright law and the legal steps necessary in transferring rights. Next he will discuss common pitfalls writers and producers make when it comes to breaks in the chain of title, joint authorship, and work for hire. Critically, Thomas will spell out the differences between shopping, option/purchase, and attachment agreements and will give invaluable tips on how to negotiate and draft these agreements to ensure you’re getting what you need and not being taken advantage of. You will have the tools you'll need to navigate the murky waters of copyright law and to land the rights to your dream literary property.   Plus! Thomas provides you with a 32 page detailed resource guide to help you navigate the nuances of various agreements   Praise for Thomas' Stage 32 Webinar   “I would wholeheartedly recommend this webinar not only to producers and writers, but to anyone in the business, even if you think you know what you're doing. It's mandatory viewing if you call yourself a professional." - Anna H.    "Very informative. Liked how he emphasized applying for copyright. I still thought registering with WGA was enough. Liked how organized his lecture was. I'll watch it again." - Joanne E.   "The best I've heard this explained." - Patricia C.   "The best webinar I have taken here so far. Great visuals, clear explanations, relevant topic." - Maritere Y.   "Thomas was excellent. Articulate, helpful diagrams, and I liked his delivery and vast experience as a producer and lawyer." - Virginia K

Special Stage 32 Virtual Happy Hour: Live Table Read Plus Cast Q&A

Stage 32 is committed to bringing you entertainment, education, and community from the comfort and safety of your own home. Our Script Services Coordinator, Nick Assunto, has procured an amazing slate of talented and funny actors and Stage 32 members to read his pilot The Conspiracists, a half-hour sci-fi comedy. During this exciting virtual event, you will get an exclusive look behind the scenes of a professional television table read. Watch as the actors make the script come alive for the very first time. This is a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain go behind the scenes to watch and see a script workshopped directly with professionals. Our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicked off a night of hanging out virtually. You'll get a chance to laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack. Cindy Chu - playing Helena Francois (New Girl, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) Angela Cristantello - playing Beatrix Baker (Agent Carter, 9-1-1) Nican Robinson - playing Greg Shepherd (13 Reasons Why, Thunder Road) Carolyn Deskin - playing Mee Moo and Super Professional Sue (Water's Edge, Sorrow) Rama Vallury - playing Turkey Hemingway, Sweaty Phil, Nervous Intern, Boss Man and Bus Drive (Happy Ending, AOK) Ramona Apthorp - playing Pickle Frost   PLUS! after the table read we did a Q&A with the actors, writer Nick Assunto, our fearless leader Richard Botto and our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch moderated by our Managing Director Amanda Toney so you will get the perspective from everyone involved about the table read! What a great way to have fun and learn!       Mark your Calendar! LIVE Online Table Read of the Comedy Pilot "The Conspiracists" Friday, March 27th at 7 pm PST   Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32online , Twitter @stage32 , Facebook @stage32 , and LinkedIn @stage-32 .

register for stage 32 Register / Log In