Level Up Programme Launch

It’s been an exciting week in our Manchester studio, as Monday marked the start of our new Level Up Programme, where we welcomed four talented junior artists to our team to begin their training and to start working on some epic projects!

We can’t wait to see how their skills develop under the mentorship of our Head of Skills & Development, Sam Taylor.

Learn more about our Level Up Programme here.

REALTIMERS: Sam Taylor, Head of Skills & Development

If there’s one thing we love more than VFX, it’s our team. In our new series, REALTIMERS, we are showcasing the people behind the pixels to see what makes them tick.

Meet Sam, our Head of Skills and Development, who has re-joined REALTIME recently to help build a brand new training programme for VFX graduates and also help the development of our existing artists. 

Name & job title:
Sam Taylor – Head of Skills and Development

Where do you fit in?
I sit across a few areas at the studio and I am primarily in charge of internal training and development for staff. I also reach out to universities and training programmes to support, guide and build strong connections, whilst working with our recruitment team to identify and hire talented artists that are new to the industry. Additionally, I help out on production as a generalist to ensure that our training always matches the current pipeline at REALTIME.

How did you get your start in the industry?
At REALTIME! So, I started my career at REALTIME as a junior generalist with an emphasis on FX after meeting Tony Prosser when he visited the university I was studying at. I worked my way up to a VFX generalist role at REALTIME over a few years before getting into teaching VFX at university and continuing as a freelance VFX generalist on various movies and TV projects.

Your superpower?
I’m pretty good at picking up new things like sports/hobbies quickly. I don’t think it’s because I’m naturally good at them, I think it’s more a force of me being so determined not to be bad at it that I just will myself to do ok pretty quickly (it will probably end up in me getting hurt one day). So, I guess that would make the superpower: Super Strong Willed.

What inspires you on the day-to-day?
This is going to sound super cliché for the field that I’m in, but learning new stuff and being surrounded with people that are excited to learn or share their knowledge and experience.

My desert island film TV show?
I am a big stand-up comedy fan, and Taskmaster is one of my favourite TV shows for seeing some of the funniest comedians solve ridiculous situations in hilarious ways. So, a box set of every series of Taskmaster, please.

Your soundtrack whilst working:
I have a very broad music taste so depending on my mood my work soundtrack can range from: Rock, Metal, Electronic, Pop, and I have a soft spot for cheesy pop from the 80s+.

If you could work with anyone who?
Growing up I have always loved Pixar and the stories they tell. Sadly, I live on the wrong continent!

If not this, then what?
Growing up, I was very much into electronics before I discovered my love for VFX, so probably something in robotics.

REALTIME works on such a range of cool projects across different platforms, so there is always something new to learn and explore. Also, the team is full of friendly and incredibly talented people.

People would be surprised that…
I am not an 8th Italian…

Advice you’d give yourself if you were just starting out?
Always remember to stay excited about the work that you do, because working in VFX is awesome! We get to make all sorts of weird and wonderful things that some people can only imagine.