Be­hind the scenes

Rogue One artist Finnian MacManus shares his tips for cre­at­ing a strong port­fo­lio of con­cept work that will catch the eye of film art di­rec­tors

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

Film art’s ris­ing star Finnian MacManus lifts the cur­tain on life as a full-time con­cept artist.

When I was a stu­dent, I couldn’t find in­for­ma­tion about how to break in to the film in­dus­try. Con­cept artists within the pro­fes­sion talked to each other, but rarely with any­one out­side the loop, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand what dis­tin­guished film work from ev­ery­thing else. Con­cept art as used in film has many facets, and th­ese tips are specif­i­cally geared to­ward em­pha­sis­ing clar­ity and nar­ra­tive in your port­fo­lio.

The ad­vice I give comes from my ex­pe­ri­ences and ob­ser­va­tions within the en­ter­tain­ment field, which is fast­paced and con­tin­u­ally chang­ing. To stay rel­e­vant, con­cept artists must adapt quickly, and keep ahead of the curve in a chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Un­der­stand­ing what art di­rec­tors and pro­duc­tion de­sign­ers look for when as­sem­bling their teams is cru­cial, as is stream­lin­ing your process, since time is al­ways of the essence.

Join­ing a project of­fers many op­por­tu­ni­ties and you should learn as much as pos­si­ble from ev­ery one. Since the con­cept work on a film can last from a few months to a few years, know­ing how the in­dus­try works and be­ing able to tran­si­tion seam­lessly be­tween jobs will help you stay on the pro­duc­tion as long as pos­si­ble

Most im­por­tant, though, are your co-work­ers: build­ing strong re­la­tion­ships with them can in­spire and im­prove your own work. Th­ese friend­ships can be the back­bone of your fu­ture in the in­dus­try, whether in the short or long term.

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