08 June 2016

Region: London

London’s SohoCreate festival began today (Monday 6th June) with events related to film and cinema special effects all over Soho.  The festival started off with a series of TED-like talks in Soho Square.  Framestore (special effects for Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, Gravity…), The Mill (virtual reality applications with the Guardian illustrating solitary confinement…), The Podcast Department (the clue is in the name) and Anne-Marie Imafidon, STEMETTES founder (promoting science and technology education to girls) and the latest from the well-known Dolby Technology (engineering sound).  Each of these gave “creative tech” talks in the Dome-an inflatable arena in Soho Square.  As the sunlight filtered in through the fabric roof we heard consistent messages:

  • London is at the forefront and continues to innovate in film and video special effects (VFX in the jargon);
  • the film and video creative industries are struggling to recruit particularly for London’s VFX specialisms;
  • right attitude is key to success-no arrogance, complacency or diva behaviour but collaborative teamwork – artists, mathematicians, physicists or computer wizards all have a place.

As Frameworks’ Andy Hayes said, one litmus test for likely company or project failure was an  organisation’ inability to keep the teapot freshly brewing.  A very British metaphor for teamwork. 

How to get into VFX?  Even CEOs of some of the companys now international big industry names had started as runners.  The runner, like an intern, does the running about including keeping the tea brewing.   The message – there is always a way in for the enthusiastic hard worker.  I suppose you actually have to like tea too.  SohoCreate continues until Friday with many events only £5 to get in.   For more details, see

Mark Percival.   London RPS Cine Special Interest Group


Photographs copyright Mark Percival