CGW – Computer Graphics World | June 13, 2017 | Original Article
The leadership role of women in the visual effects industry is becoming a growing topic. In the May/June 2017 issue of CGW, Marvel’s Victoria Alonso discusses her role in this male-dominated industry and her goal of continually setting the bar high. And, she is not alone in this regard.
Here, Charlene Eberle, visual effects executive producer at Image Engine, talks about the integral role women play in the visual effects industry and about her career, which started with Stargate SG-1 and has taken in senior roles on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain America: Civil War, and many more.
How did you get involved in the VFX industry?
Originally, I wanted a career as a news reporter. I studied broadcasting at Humber College in Toronto, then interned for one year in the news department for CFOR. My very first news story was about a murder. I realized the industry wasn’t for me.
I moved back to Toronto and studied film at Ryerson. After graduating, I decided – on a whim – to move across country to the West Coast. I left home with no job, no place to live, and no friends, traveling towards a new home I’d never been to before. I had no idea if I would love it or hate it. I made this big move in 1994 and haven’t looked back since!
After a few years in broadcasting on Vancouver Island, I moved to the mainland to search for new opportunities. I landed my first on-set job as a PA in 1996 for Outer Limits. That role gave me the opportunity to see all the different departments within the film industry. The one department I found most fascinating was the VFX department .
Once Outer Limits wrapped up, I progressed onto the Stargate SG – 1 pilot as onset PA. As I watched them set up for the big ‘kawoosh’ scene (from the unstable vortex) , I was in awe! I started bugging the team to see if they needed a VFX PA. In the end , I think they gave me the job because I was so persistent – but nevertheless, it was the start of my career in VFX.
After the Stargate SG-1 pilot , I became the VFX coordinator on Poltergeist, and then moved onto my very first film – Final Destination. The VFX supervisor on that project, Ariel Velasco-Shaw, gave me my first break in the VFX film industry. My education has come from working with people like Ariel – I’ve met some of the most amazing VFX supervisors and producers throughout my career. I’m still friends with them today!