Rotary Career Symposium


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CONNECTED ENGAGED INSPIRED There's a community of people at MacEwan University focused on learner-centred teaching and dedicated to creating opportunities for students to grow and succeed. The university offers degrees, diplomas and certificates in business, communications, fine and performing arts, health and community studies, liberal arts, nursing and sciences Visit us at booth 410 and connect with the program that's right for you! Learn more at | 11 23RD ROTARY CAREER SYMPOSIUM W hen Liem Nguyen goes to the movies, he stays until the credits are done rolling. You would, too, if your name was on the big screen. Sure, he's not the star actor at the top but he's one of the hundreds of people who help bring a story to life. The Winnipeg-based 3-D artist uses software to create animations and renderings for Hollywood blockbusters, video games, television shows and commercials, architectural renderings as well as virtual and augmented realities. Nguyen first became interested in this kind of technology after seeing Jurassic Park in 1993. (The dinosaurs weren't real.) So, he enrolled at Sheridan College just outside Toronto. After graduating in 1998, he and his fellow graduates met with studio heads from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Warner Bros. who were looking for talented animators. But rather than moving to Hollywood, he opted to stay in Canada. He moved to Toronto and worked on Hockey Night in Canada, sports highlights shows on TSN as well as a number of kids' shows. He even worked on a couple of broadcasts of a little football game south of the border called the Super Bowl. Maybe you've heard of it? In fact, Nguyen won an Emmy award for graphic design for Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. Nguyen will be speaking at the Rotary Career Symposium at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg on March 17 and 18. He has been a regular at the symposium for nearly a decade. After a few years in Toronto, he decided to move home to be closer to friends and family. Because of the relationships he had made, and the quality of his work, he continued to get offers to work on big projects. He and a few like-minded techies bought a bunch of computers and rented a one-bedroom apartment as an office. One day, one of his colleagues was in a chat forum debating how to tackle a particular shot in a movie. The anonymous person on the other end turned out to be an actual Hollywood producer. "He was impressed by the ideas we were pitching and he flew us out to do a test shot for Swordfish, a movie starring John Travolta and Halle Berry. We nailed the opening shot of the movie with the explosion. They were super impressed with it and they awarded us more shots in the movie after that," he said. Nguyen and his three friends formed Frantic Films, an outfit that became the biggest movie effects company in all of Canada by just its fifth year of operations. "We were churning out movie after movie — Superman, The Matrix Reloaded, Catwoman, The Italian Job, the X-men series and The Fantastic Four," he said. "They would ship the footage electronically and our team of artists would work on them. Frantic expanded and opened offices in Vancouver and Los Angeles. I was one of the leads so they flew me down and I did a chunk of the year in L.A. working with the movie director at the studio on the lot." For example, one of his jobs in Spider-Man 2 was to erase the wires — frame by frame — on Dr. Octopus's tentacles. He also cleaned up the spider sentinels scene in The Matrix Reloaded. Today, Nguyen is the principal at Pixel Reborn, a local visual effects and animation studio. He has been recognized as one of the best in his field. He won an Emmy for outstanding graphic design for MLB Tonight in 2015 and an Emmy nomination for outstanding graphic design for the show packaging of Monday Night Football in 2006. His message to students is that there are plenty of opportunities in their hometown and there's nothing they can't achieve if they set their minds to it. "I work remotely with all of these big brands from around the world. (Having a great career in Winnipeg) is a very achievable goal if you work hard and practise," he said. Liem Nguyen has won Emmy awards for graphic design for Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 and for MLB Tonight in 2015. Turn creativity into a career BY GEOFF KIRBYSON Supplied photos

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