Student Volunteer Blog #8

Posted By Ashley Marie Samour on August 10, 2009 10:32 am | Permalink

I am a rising sophomore at the Miami International University of Art and Design. My focus is VFX and Motion Graphics along with 3D Animation. My passion for these artistic disciplines seems to grow each day as I enter a classroom or begin a new project. Imagining the countless opportunities and amazing career possibilities of doing what I enjoy most is a unique perception that, I know, very few should only be so lucky to experience.

SIGGRAPH IS A WORLD OF IT’S OWN! I loved being a Student Volunteer!
I applied to volunteer during the SIGGRAPH Convention as a SV (Student Volunteer) to help set up and help manage each day of the convention. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I could not believe how amazed I already was just by the initial set-up of the place on that Sunday afternoon. This was my first time attending SIGGRAPH and after all I’ve seen and experienced, I know for a fact it won’t be my last. I worked at the Chapters Booth that first day, watching the Blue Sky, Autodesk, and Digital Domain logos being hung above their booths in the SIGGRAPH show floor. This already heightened my already eager sensations of bliss.

The Student Volunteer program at SIGGRAPH is a great way to get your foot in the CG Industry door and come out with great rewards (like the free licensed 2010 Autodesk 3ds Max I won for being a excelling SV). The friends and connections you make will last you a lifetime, and the talks and events of the convention are beneficial in an infinite amount of ways. SIGGRAPH opened my eyes to what I want to work hard for in my future. It re-charged my imagination to the grand scheme of things in this industry. It’s very scary knowing and seeing what these professionals have already accomplished!

I have to admit; I was extremely intimidated by the fellow attendees and volunteers that I met throughout my week. Demo-reels, portfolios, and resumes flew left and right of me. I am still a 2nd year in college just learning the ropes. However, I also realized that everyone has his or her own pace. At the CGW session following the SV Orientation, one of the speakers, named Frank Fritz, commented on the fact that he dropped out of college at one point and finally found himself working on the visual effects for 1982s “TRON” and the recent “X-Men” movies. Another one of the speakers, Evan Hirsch, left me with a memorable quote. “A hero is someone who never asks questions; don’t be a hero.” In this industry, working as a team and sharing your ideas is a key necessity. This is why SIGGRAPH exists. It’s a way of learning from each other and improving for the future.

It is incredible to see how all these industry professionals started out. In New Orleans’ Bourbon Street one night, I met an animator for NASA who started out as an engineer. Now his job is to simulate black holes and probable space endeavors. I merely met him at a bar. It’s amazing how many interesting people you run into at SIGGRAPH. I definitely will attend again in next years in Los Angeles and Vancouver!