Carlos Florez has worked as a Compositor for major streaming channels.
Carlos Florez has worked for leading studios including Milk VFX, Technicolor, Untold Studios and Automatik. Find out more about how he got into the creative industries, plus gain an insight into the career of a Compositor, including advice for anyone looking to get into visual effects.
Why the creative industries?
I’m a career changer. I studied Computing Engineering and during the 14 years I worked in I.T. I always felt that I was leaving my creative side behind. Four and a half years ago, when I was 35, I decided that it was time to develop that creativity in an industry that combines art with technology. Now I work at Milk VFX.
What is your current role?
I’m a Digital Compositor, which belongs in the 2D department. I’m in the final stage, so my work is reviewed by supervisors, usually a 2D one and a project one, and then it goes to the client. My favourite part of this job is when it gets creative, not only in an artistic way, but when you also have to use your creativity to find the best way to solve a problem in your shot.
In order to progress in the industry, years of experience count a lot. All the same, apart from a good showreel, it also helps to move around freelancing in different companies so they get to know you and the quality of the work you can achieve. Remember that it works both ways, after some time you may be able to choose the company you work more comfortable in.
Could you tell us about some of the projects you’ve worked on in the past?
Among all the TV series and films I’ve worked in I fondly remember Origin (YouTube) because that’s when I started to properly do comp work, with so many CGI passes to integrate in the shots! Also Good Omens (Amazon and BBC) where the 3D department delivered us such fantastic work – people thought the wings were real – and since it’s a magical world, you are allowed to be more creative.
What are you working on at the minute?
Currently I’m working on a new show for a major streaming channel. It involves a lot of creatures and environmental effects to play with, so I’m enjoying it. When I start a shot I try not to see it as a whole because my brain could collapse. Most of them involve green screens / chroma shooting, so I begin with a basic key so that I can see which areas require different treatments. This way, little by little and focusing on a part at a time, the shot is nearly done. Now you can look at it as a whole to finesse the comp.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I had no experience at all in the industry. Escape Studios was my way to break into VFX. After the course, the moment I had a showreel that my teacher and I were happy with I started to send it to several VFX companies. The first opportunity came three weeks later. A company that needed help with some promotional shots for TV contacted me through Escape. Two months later I had an interview with Milk VFX where I started in a roto/prep position. Back then I lacked a lot of knowledge about filming, especially the analogic approach. If I had read more about it before I started the course it would have helped me to understand everything better.
What does it take to land your first job?
Mainly a nice showreel, so companies can see how you solve complex tasks. Don’t be desperate if you don’t get any answer back, this industry’s job market fluctuates a lot. Also it’s good to go to the pub, people like to get to know who they’re working with and socialising is a good way to know people that can lead you to a new job opportunity. Never give up!
Carlos Florez studied the advanced 18-week Compositing course at Escape Studios and has since worked on TV shows including Victoria, Britannia (S2), Doctor Who, The Alienist and The Crown.