Meet Egan Wesener

By: Crystel Newman | Categories: Education

“3D Wizard” is working to develop a world-class training program for junior
artists at RSP, Brisbane.

Newly appointed Teaching, Learning and Development Associate at Rising Sun Pictures, Brisbane, Egan Wesener will work closely with Anna Hodge, Manager of Education and Training to oversee the Brisbane studio’s visual effects training program, which recently expanded to Queensland. Egan’s job is to help students navigate the program, forge relationships with local schools and universities, and build bridges with other studios where RSP graduates may eventually find jobs. “Because I’m a Brisbane local, I’m very aware of the educational landscape and the local industry,” he says. “My focus is on developing pathways to help students be successful in our program and in their future careers as artists.”

On his LinkedIn page, Egan describes himself as a “full-time 3D wizard, part-time gregarious giant.” A quick scan of his resume confirms the first part. Since beginning his career in 2015, he’s spent time at a half dozen VFX houses in Brisbane, served in every role in the VFX pipeline from compositor to CG supervisor, and tackled projects ranging from animated kids shows to TV adverts.

His “gregarious” side shines through when he reflects on his career path. “I’ve been fortunate to do work I love, and do it in my hometown,” he notes. “Many people have to travel far from home to gain the experience I’ve had right here in Brisbane. When I told my dad I was going to study animation, he said, in classic dad fashion, ‘What kind of job are you going to get? How are you going to pay the bills?’ And rightfully so! At the time, there were very limited employment opportunities here. But I was lucky.  I earned good recommendations from my lecturers, developed a decent reputation, found interesting projects…and always managed to pay the bills.”

With the visual effects industry booming and several VFX studios setting up shop in Queensland, employment opportunities for local artists have grown significantly. Still, young people looking for that first job need to cultivate a variety of skills to be industry ready. “It’s not just about learning software,” observes Egan, whose background also includes experience as a VFX lecturer. “You also need soft skills: how to collaborate with others, how to accept critique constructively, how to stay motivated.”

RSP’s training program, operated in partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA), is designed to give students both those hard and soft skills. The program offers accredited courses including Graduate Certificates in Compositing and Tracking, and Dynamic Effects and Lighting. Learning occurs in a professional studio environment and classes are taught by working artists.

Currently, Egan’s focus is on adapting the program RSP has offered in Adelaide since 2015 to the environment in Brisbane. “We want to provide the tools and resources student need to move directly into industry,” he explains. “The strength of RSP, what separates our program from others, is our experience and intellectual property. I am working with our Adelaide team to develop the best way to communicate that knowledge to students in Brisbane. Teaching is my passion and I’m looking forward to building a first class program.”

Egan advises students seeking to thrive in the program and go on to productive careers, to approach it with enthusiasm…and humility. “You need to understand that visual effects is about creating illusions,” he says. “If you do your work well, the audience never knows you were there. The people who succeed aren’t seeking the spotlight; they’re happy creating things that are really cool, but secret, and content with seeing their names in a block of credits at the end. You need to understand that this is a team sport. Great visual effects are achieved by groups of liked-minded people who work together, make adjustments when needed, and love collaboration. That’s the best advice I can give.”