ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA—Riding the current boom in visual effects production, Rising Sun Pictures has been on a hiring spree. The studio, whose recent projects include Warner Bros.’ Elvis, Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder, and Amazon Studios’ The Boys, has been recruiting artists at all levels of experience, including entry-level talent…and the majority of the junior staff who it’s brought on board are homegrown. Over the past year, RSP has provided jobs for 16 graduates of its highly regarded visual effects training program, more than half its 2022 graduating class.
RSP Education, which operates its accredited program in partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA), has had an excellent track record for placing graduates in industry, but this past year has been exceptional. Anna Hodge, Manager, Training and Education, says the newly minted grads have been placed into varying positions at the studio. “Some have been hired as junior artists, production and others are in interim positions in data or other departments until their dream roles open up,” she explains. “We observe our students closely and for those with high potential—and there are many—we find ways to fit them into the company.”
Launched in 2015, RSP’s training courses are offered under the umbrella of UniSA’s Film and Television program. Students spend their first two years at the university and their third year onsite at RSP where they develop core skills of entry-level visual effects artists. They train in a real-world studio environment with classes taught by working artists. Through the partnership, Graduate Certificate courses in Dynamic Effects and Lighting, and Composting and Tracking are also offered.
Dr. Josh McCarthy, who leads UniSA’s Film and Television program, says students are eager to take part in training that, for many, has led directly to roles working on Hollywood blockbusters. “It’s not a hard sell,” he says. “Several students have had job offers while still training. They are thrilled to have such a seamless transition. In the film and television industry, it can take years working casual jobs before getting a break. This program offers a proven pathway.”
Graduates of the programs are not only being hired by RSP, but also by other top Australian visual effects studios. “We have an excellent reputation for producing young artists with industry ready skills,” notes Hodge. “We host industry nights where students meet with recruiters. We’ve had representatives from studios in Brisbane and Melbourne travel interstate to have a look at our graduate network as they prepare to onboard large projects.”
As the program has developed and grown, RSP’s relationship with UniSA has deepened. McCarthy says that the university has structured its curriculum to prepare students for success in training at RSP and their future careers. “We emphasise professionalism and teamwork,” he observes. “We teach our students to respond well to feedback. It’s very important for up-and-coming artists to absorb input from senior artists and clients so that their work improves iteration by iteration.”
In addition to the 16 newly hired graduates, more than 40 other RSP staff are products of its training program. Some have already moved into mid-level and even senior roles with bright prospects for future advancement. McCarthy takes great pride in their success. “It’s the best part of my job,” he says. “Now when I watch a movie or TV show, I stay for the closing credits. I might spot the names of a dozen or more former students. It’s amazing.”
RSP and UniSA are currently exploring ways to grow the program to accommodate more students and encompass more aspects of visual effects. “There is nothing like this program globally,” insists Hodge. “RSP Education is unique in offering students a chance to study in a professional workplace. Our instructors are very passionate, and we are continuously reviewing and reworking our training to improve it in response to student feedback and the needs of industry. Our intent is to deliver excellence in training and create exciting opportunities for our students locally and globally.”
About Rising Sun Pictures:
Over the past two decades, Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) has been delighting and inspiring audiences worldwide with award-winning visual effects by creating some of Hollywood’s most memorable screen moments.
RSP’s reputation and leadership makes it a trusted partner for studios and filmmakers worldwide. Its studios employ more than 280 exceptional crew who enjoy the advantages of living in some of the world’s most livable cities.
In addition, RSP is dedicated to developing the next generation of visual effects artists through its unique accredited training program, delivered in partnership with the University of South Australia.
Recent work includes Elvis, Thor: Love & Thunder, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Cowboy Bebop, Hawkeye, Jungle Cruise, Black Widow, Candyman and Mortal Kombat. RSP is a member of The Fuse Group.
About The Fuse Group:
The Fuse Group brings together world-leading visual effects studios, FuseFX, FOLKS, Rising Sun Pictures, and now El Ranchito. The company employs over 1,400 personnel across thirteen worldwide studio locations in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Atlanta, Montréal, Toronto, Bogotá, Saguenay, Adelaide, Brisbane, Madrid, Barcelona and Mumbai. The Fuse Group is a portfolio company of investment funds managed by EagleTree Capital, a New York City-based private equity firm. For more information, please visit www.fusefx.com.