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alumndag 2016
Jesper Kjölsrud. Photo: Lars Andersson View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Jesper Kjölsrud - VFX Supervisor on Goodbye Kansas

Published: 3 November 2016

Programme: Computer Graphics from 1995 to 1996

Jesper, you are currently working on Goodbye Kansas VFX Supervisor (Visual Effects Supervisor). Would you tell us briefly what you are dealing with and what the best thing about your job?

Goodbye Kansas is a media group which owns Fido in Stockholm. We are the equivalent of Fido London. Because we are a very new company will help everyone with what we can, but normally as supervisor, I am the creative contact with the client. What I love about the role is that I'm with and figure out how we will achieve the effects, planning and seeing through the recording and is all the way in the mail.

I've always had fun on the films. It is often very intense and long days and often in another country or on another continent. I probably would not be able to go from one recording to another as most who work in the film so it's a good balance that most sitting in an office but occasionally get out.

What do you think it was that made you got your current job?

After 6 1/2 years in Vancouver, I moved back to London. In Vancouver, I worked a lot with a producer, I also worked with before at Double Negative in London. Through him, I got in touch with one of his friends who have just become CEO of the young company Azure. It sounded exciting with something new again but unfortunately financiers gave up after the first project. Instead of searching for jobs individually decided some of us to stay together and sell us as a group to another company. Goodbye Kansas had just started up in London and wanted to grow as our little group and the jobs we had at the time it suited perfectly for us all.

In short, through a contact. When I think of it, all the different companies or projects I've worked on passed through a first or second contact. The entire film industry seems to work that way.

Was the best with your studies / studies?

Even when I went training 95/96 was unique. Besides that we had access to very specialized hardware and software, we learned the basics and principles not only behind the graphics, but also other things related to the television and film, often with interesting guest speakers. I remember a course we had about the imagery in the movie I would gladly take on today as a reminder.

We students also had a very good cohesion at both school and socially. All helped out when we sat on the projects. Most of us were there we thought it looked fun with the blend of technology and creativity before we realized that you can actually work with this and get a paycheck. We felt privileged to just be there.

The training, then as now, is constantly one step ahead. Other courses can teach you about a certain software but there is no program that will give you the broad industry knowledge as computer graphics at Luleå University. It is completely unique in the world.

Working with film and visual effects are not working for Volvo. We're talking about the creative people who can behave a bit strangely. But for those who are artistically combined, this is an excellent opportunity to actually support yourself on your art.

Do you have any advice for students who are going out to work?

Do not get discouraged too easily if it does not seem to be jobs. In my 20 years of experience has been that there is never enough people but because we are working on projects is very much about timing. In the summer it can be difficult in the film because much is filmed in the summer so the companies are waiting to hire until the jobs come in. It is similar to the TV series.

Once you're inside it like to try different disciplines and work places. It may easily happen that one day suddenly realize that you have become too specialized in something and feel solid. I ended up pretty quickly in London and stayed for 12 years in essentially the same companies (with the same people anyway) before pregnancy made me try Canada (no, I did not flee from it. Vancouver seemed like a simple town than London to have children).

How do you see the future? What happens next?

In recent years there has been much talk of IP (Intellectual Property). Youtube wave has definitely helped with that. VFX companies have not quite figured it out there yet but I think it will be much more. Now that VR is running, there is just more and more opportunities.

Companies are becoming less specialized in only one orientation film.HBO, Netflix, Amazon, etc. are putting more and more money on the TV series so it is no longer such a big difference to work on a Hollywood movie on the Game of Thrones example. It will make businesses more stable when the industry has historically been plagued bit of contracts not renewed between projects.

Internationally, I believe China will be the next part of the world that will build up a large VFX industry. I came to London before Harry Potter, but 10 years later, more jobs through London than LA and hired 10 times more. It was similar in Vancouver but it only took 5 years. China often hit North America in revenues from film and make more and more own productions as more and more work will show up there.