Special Effects Technician Desire In special effects you can specialize in several areas of work such as pyrotechnics, computer animation, and even makeup. Makeup is an older form of special effects. Most of the time you work long hours, but the enjoyment comes from working on the sets or scenes with your team. Something about that just makes you work harder and more efficient. The time goes by quite fast when working, you also can forget that this is also fun. It's like becoming a child again, men playing with their toys. This career is one that takes hard work and devotion, but many people don't have the endurance or the stamina for this job. You have to be fast all the time, directors don't like to waste money on productions that are moving slow.
Skills A Special effects technician knows mostly what he specializes in, but also knows a little something about all the areas of work.
Science and math are pretty big, but the more computer and shop classes you take the better off you are. Pyrotechnics need to get a firearms license to use the fireworks and the explosives. A Special effects technician only has to have his high school diploma. Most of your team will teach you the "tricks of the trade." These tricks or secrets are every technician's area of expertise, these help the technician get ahead in the business. Most of the training is done by "hands on" and actually doing the work. Once training is done you become the little assistant. Some useful characteristics that will help you in this career are creativity, a vivid imagination and artistic talent. Technicians should also have good interpersonal and communications skills. Attention to detail and an ability to improvise with equipment and techniques are important. You should have an interest in the latest technologies, particularly computerized equipment. The best way to get work is to know people in the business and to be at the right place at the right time. Getting a part time job in the business will help a lot, unless you did a bad job.
Personality In this career you have to have a "hands on" personality. Different personalities are needed for different areas, like pyrotechnics, you have to like fire and be a pyro. If you have more of a "listen and do" or a "read and do" personality, then this career is not for you. It's hard to learn the stuff you need to know because you can't really explain in books, it's more of an art form, either you have the talent to do this or you don't. Many people think they have what it takes to create amazing scenes or sets but when they try to make it happen, they realize this is just not for them. Personality is key to a successful job.
Experiences Working with computers is getting bigger and bigger as time goes on. This skill is a good experience on special effects; you can see where they have used it in games, movies and television show. If you have ever been to a television station and looked around, there is not much on the floor where they do the filming; most of the work is done in a small room just behind the stage. This is where the magic happens, they take the film, edit it, add in computer graphics where needed, and add sounds and backgrounds if there is none. Going to a film shoot is a great experience. All the people are moving really fast, it's like a choreographed dance. Everyone has a certain job to do and they do it. Everyone has certain place to be at the right time and they are there when needed. There are things you can do to prepare or get experience, like going to T.V stations and see what they do, or go to work with someone who works in the business. Have you ever been to a fireworks show? Well that's where some of the pyrotechnics said "hey I want to do that for a living". You say that's stupid, but special effects are a big part of our lives whether you know it or not. Every time you turn on the T.V, there it is. Every movie you watch, there it is.
Action Plan To prepare for this job you can take the all the high school courses and take a co-op course and get some real experience on the job. Growing up as a kid I have always loved the action and fight scenes in movie, I play with fire all the time this will prepare me for the excitement and the adrenaline rush that you get from creating something wonderful. Toronto has a film school that I want to go visit and see what they have to offer. This job pays quite well when you are a senior technician. This is when you can own your own business.