BFA IN MEDIA ARTS AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES, 2010
ALUMNI CORRESPONDENCE INTERVIEW, 2019
What year did you graduate from the Alberta College of Art and Design?
2010, from the Media Arts + Digital Technologies B.F.A. program.
What’s your current employment? Or what keeps you most busy these days?
Currently I’m keeping busy at Lucasfilm’s Vancouver visual effects studio, Industrial Light & Magic, as an Associate Production Manager. My recent projects include Disney’s live-action Aladdin, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Transformers: The Last Knight, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and currently Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
A lot of graduates use the ACAD degree as a creative stepping stone. How has what you do evolved since graduation?
Photography was my primary focus leaving ACAD, and it’s what I continued to focus on personally after moving to Vancouver following graduation from ACAD, focusing on stereoscopic 35mm film photography, as a member of Vancouver’s West End Darkroom Club. Professionally I also got my start in Photography at a visual arts school in Vancouver, before quickly making a transition into the post-production film industry at a Digital Intermediate Studio that specialized in feature-film Color Grading & Digital Cinema Mastering. From there I moved on to a new role in Visual Effects at Lucasfilm’s Vancouver VFX studio, Industrial Light & Magic.
William Bartlett's Final Graduation artwork in the 2010 Grad Show.
Photo Courtesy of William Bartlett.
How did your education at ACAD direct your career?
It gave me the confidence to go after what I wanted in an honest way
What insights did your time at ACAD give you? Why or how is what you learned at ACAD important?
Most importantly for me, I learned patience, and how to see my own perspective as one of many. The education and insight I gained from the programs and mentors at ACAD made me more self-aware, and gave me a wisdom that I continue to carry like an ace in the hole.
35mm Film Stereo Photography (1) Photo Courtesy of William Bartlett.
35mm Film Stereo Photography (2) Photo Courtesy of William Bartlett.
What was your time at ACAD like? How did the community at the college (peers, colleagues, faculty) influence your experience?
A four year degree (or in my case five), gave me the opportunity to experience, react, stumble, and grow that I may not have gotten from a condensed education. With an extra year I was also able to dive even further into independent studies with professors I admire like Wayne Giles in Media Arts & Chris Frey in English.
After graduation, what obstacles did you encounter in establishing yourself and your career and how did you overcome them?
It was tough, and a bit of an isolated feeling moving away from the local ACAD network. Finding a path post-grad with an Arts degree came through patience and resourcefulness. For me personally, I wasn’t seeing employers lined up to hire me in the creative industries. It’s up to us to plan ahead and make contacts, but failing that my Aunt & Uncle always taught me to put myself in the right places where I’d be ready when an opportunity pops up. My father taught me music and an appreciation for arts & literature, while my mother introduced me to the darkroom as a kid at the newspaper she reported for. I was lucky to have this continued support as I fumbled through it all.
I moved from Calgary to Vancouver right after graduation with no job prospects whatsoever. At first I bounced around a few industries, relying on past work experiences for income, before finally getting my first creative opportunities in both photography & film from... Craigslist. It wasn’t through referrals, contacts, family connections, or internships, so it can be done. A short time into my first film job I was working with an inspiring team on Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 movie ‘Elysium’. Some of the best studios in the world will hire entry level people with little or no experience, providing they have the basic skill set and a positive willingness to learn.
Select Digital Intermediate Film Credits. Courtesy William Bartlett.
What would you most like to be recognized for?
Following my own path, with the support of those I admire and continue to learn from. Treating people well in industries known for a hectic pace. Helping others - reach out to me if you want to go for coffee!
Is there a project that you have always dreamed of being involved with or leading? Can you talk about any aspirations you have for the future?
I will always value making my own work, but since I was a kid it’s always been Star Wars.
Select Visual Effects Film Credits. Courtesy William Bartlett.