Lucasfilm Singapore recently participated at CGTExpo 2011 to engage interested Indian professionals. Farhatnaz Ansari from AnimationXpress.com interviewed Xavier Nicolas, General Manager of Lucasfilm Singapore. Originally from France, Xavier has worked in various countries all over the world. He has been with Lucasfilm for the past five years and spent the last four running the Singapore operations. In this interview, Xavier talks about ongoing projects at Lucasfilm Singapore, its growing team and the recruitment process.
What is the kind of talent you are looking for and how has the response from the expo been so far?
Our visual effects activity is growing in volume and complexity, so we want to bring additional high-level talent in to be able to address more complex work. We are in need of talent like compositors, lighting TDs and creature TDs to produce this new level work across projects, and to mentor our more junior artists as well.
Another main area of development is George Lucas‘ first feature animation that will be produced entirely in Singapore. The production has started and we are hiring talented artists across all disciplines to work on this ambitious and one-of-a-kind project.
How has Lucasfilm‘s interaction been with Indian professionals?
The Lucasfilm Singapore Studio currently employs 25 Indian nationals in the studio. Traditionally, we have found that artists from India integrate well in both the studio and life in Singapore. This is due to the fact that they speak English plus there is a large Indian community in the Singapore so most things that they may want from home can be found here, including amazing Indian food. We are always looking for talented Indian artists, so if they are interested in working in Singapore they should visit jobs.lucasfilm.com.
Apart from India, what other regions you are looking at?
There are over 32 nationalities in the studio in Singapore. Out of this total, over a third are from Singapore, a third from the region and the rest from Europe, Australia, the US and Canada. Being in Singapore, our natural choice is to hire locally. The talent pool in Singapore, however, is still quite small, so we look to the neighboring countries for potential employees. Besides India, we have been successful hiring talent from Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong. If we cannot find the right skill set from Singapore or Asia, we then look further afield.
Could you brief us on your background?
I am originally from France, where I studied graphic arts and cinematography. Initially, I worked as an artist in motion graphics and animation, but I had this incredible opportunity to be involved in computer graphics from the very beginning. So my career developed along with computer animation. Together with partners, I created a studio in Paris and Tokyo called ExMachina, and I worked with several companies in the US before joining Lucasfilm.
What are the latest developments at Lucasfilm Singapore?
We are currently extremely busy across the studio at Lucasfilm Singapore. ILM Singapore has just completed both Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and we are still busy in production on four other projects.
LucasArts Singapore is working on a slate of new projects across multiple platforms so you will see the release of a number of titles from the studio over the next couple of years.
Lucasfilm Animation Singapore has just started working on our animation feature. The TV team is heavily into Season 4 of The Clone Wars.
As you can see, there is a lot going on and it is all very exciting.
So what is the current team size in Lucasfilm Singapore?
We have just reached a new milestone of 500 people in the studio, of which 80% are artists. Soon we will outgrow our current facility – luckily, we are building a new studio at Fusionopolis called The Sandcrawler. This will be completed early 2013.
When is the next Jedi Masters Program?
We are going to have a new session of the Jedi Masters Program, focusing on visual effects, starting this fall.
How does one apply to Lucasfilm Singapore?
The best way is to go to our website wwwjobs.lucasfilm.com, look at the open positions available and then upload your resume. We have a recruiting team that checks the fit (between applicants and jobs) and sees what we need. Suitable applicants will then be contacted. If you have any question related to employment opportunities at Lucasfilm Singapore, you can also contact email@example.com
What is the status of Lucasfilm‘s 8-storey facility in Fusionopolis?
We have broken ground on The Sandcrawler last April. The new building, which will be ready by first quarter 2013, represents a commitment to Singapore and to our staff here. The work coming out of our teams in Singapore – television animation, feature animation, games and visual effects – has been truly amazing and we look forward to continuing to grow each of those divisions in Singapore.
So what are the future plans of the studio?
We have aggressive plans to grow our production capabilities in Singapore in every area – from games, visual effects and animation – and this will require us to continue to build our talent pool in order to meet our long term plans.
What is Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in Singapore working on?
ILM Singapore is currently working on a slate of projects that include: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Mission Impossible 4, The Avengers, Star Tours 2.0, a Transformers ride-film attraction for Universal Studios and other as-yet-unannounced projects. The team at ILM Singapore delivers cutting edge work for feature films; from asset development and digital matte painting, through animation, creature and effects simulation, to lighting and compositing. In addition to shot work, ILM Singapore also completes entire visual effects sequences.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Lucasfilm Singapore offers a unique environment where there are four divisions under one roof – TV Animation, Feature Animation, ILM Singapore and LucasArts Singapore – and each group shares technology, processes, resources and talent. Nowhere else in the world can an artist experience working in a truly multi-media studio – with the ability to contribute to a game, animation and feature film visual effects. The Singapore studio allows local talent to learn from the best in the world on international productions without having to leave Asia.