Nuke Artist Spotlight: Freddy Chavez Olmos

Compositing Supervisor, Writer, Director, Special Effects Make-up Artist—there are many strings to Freddy Chavez Olmos’ bow. But, the journey to his successful career hasn’t always been easy. 

Growing up in Mexico, there weren’t many opportunities to pursue a visual effects (VFX) career in his home country. With no VFX schools or specialized courses being offered, Freddy began teaching himself the basics of stop motion animation and in-camera effects. 

He was later offered the opportunity to go overseas and learn special effects make-up which gave him a clear understanding of the disciplines involved in filmmaking, and he still uses much of what he learned in his work today. Having always loved horror movies and special effects, Freddy arrived in Canada where he decided to take his skills from the practical world into the digital one. 

But first, he had to get his foot in the door. 

“Landing my first job in a VFX company was a big challenge,” Freddy tells us. I remember applying to all the studios I knew about back then and no one called back for months. After getting some feedback, I realized my student reel was just too broad. I spent a few weeks after that reworking the material and adding a few more shots focused only in compositing.”

Later, once he’d sent his new reel, Freddy received job offers from two different studios. Since then, Freddy’s career has skyrocketed, having the opportunity to be a VFX supervisor on shows at FuseFX, Barnstorm VFX and Umedia in Vancouver, and an artist on projects such as Annihilation, Fantastic Beasts and Blade Runner 2049. On top of this, Freddy has been writing and directing his own film projects on the side, including the spine-chilling Duérmete Niño (Rock-a-bye Baby). 

We caught up with Freddy to talk about his career from starting in Mexico to working on big named projects in Vancouver, his own personal projects and how Nuke has helped him through his different roles.

Q: In your experience, how does the VFX industry in Mexico differ from major studios in Vancouver?

A: In the last 10 years, Mexico has become more relevant and competitive in the VFX and Animation industry. There is a really good talent pool out there, and having accessible training and education has played an important role. More studios and boutiques have opened up offering new opportunities to artists. It’s not uncommon to be working on a Netflix show or a Hollywood theatrical feature anymore. For the most part, the main differences are mostly related to the scope of work, budget and salaries. I’m hoping overtime compensation will be more regulated in the near future. 

Q: What made you want to work in the VFX and film industry?

A: I love telling stories and enjoy making creative decisions. When I was a child, my mom used to say that I would never get bored during family dinners. I would always find a way to keep myself busy creating characters out of breadcrumbs, straws and napkins at the table. My dad used to lend me his Video8 Camcorder and I would edit my videos using a VHS recorder and a Walkman. 

Q: You’ve said that your inspiration for Duérmete Niño came from your own fatherhood experiences, can you tell us more about this

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