CG artist Morten Jaeger won an internship at The Mill in London last year from the CG Student Awards, a platform for the next generation of talented digital artists to showcase their skills to top studios from around the world. Morten shares his experience as an intern at The Mill and advice on how future interns can make the most of the opportunity.
The CG Student Awards
My name is Morten Jæger and with the help of CG Student Awards, I secured an internship at The Mill in London last September.
I've wanted to work in the industry since I began working in 3D when I was 15 year old. This internship was a great opportunity for me to get out there and work with professionals and experience what this industry is all about.
I was really amazed by the work of the student reels submitted to the 2014 CG Student Awards, so it came as quite a surprise when I was chosen for the internship at The Mill. I think a fascinating thing about the awards is to see the diversity in art and skill of people from the different schools around the world. It became a kind of friendly competition which only makes you want to improve and submit something even better next year.
Morten's 2014 showreel:
After winning the internship, I went to London a little early just to get settled. During my first week, I was just trying to adjust to a new city. I studied at The Animation Workshop, which is in a very quiet and rural town in Denmark, so going to London was a big change, but a very exciting one. I think one of the most amazing things about London and this industry is that you have so many talented artists in one place. It's an amazing opportunity to learn from your peers.
The Mill Internship
When I first came to The Mill, they had just moved to new facilities and they were absolutely amazing. It was a very organic working environment where I got shifted around a lot. This means that you never really grow stale because you are exposed to new people to get to know constantly.
Before any of the work began, we talked about what I wanted to do. I outlined that modeling, sculpting and texturing were my main areas of interest, but if they wanted to give me some shading and lighting, I would be up for the task. Even though I prefer modeling, I realized it’s a good idea to show a bit of versatility.
Typically, I would come to work and start out by eating breakfast. The Mill had an impressive lineup of cereal and freshly baked pastries, so it was quite nice not having to worry about it at home and just getting something delicious at work. After that, I would talk through the day's work with my lead and then start.
My first job was working on the Honda Civic Type R ‘The Other Side’ commercial, where I had to do a lot of modeling and sculpting. It was a pretty extensive job where we had to do a lot of replacement.
They didn't just give me pretend jobs, they gave cool projects to work on very early on like Honda and BBC 'God Only Knows'. It's really satisfying to walk away with a bunch of cool shots for your reel. I also had the opportunity to do a bit of texturing, which was a nice break form it all.
I think one of the things I enjoyed most about my stay was the fact that I worked on real jobs with the rest of the company. It gives you a better view on the industry instead of just being put on a side job and you get a better understanding of how to work with other people.
Advice for Future Interns
I think a very important part of an internship like this is to communicate. Let them know you're not a one-trick pony. If there's something else in your skillset you’d like to improve, let them know. It's a tough industry, no way around that, but you have to keep in mind that if you never ask for something, you won't get it.
I tried to be very proactive and seek out information on my own. I believe that if you really want to succeed and be remembered, that's something you have to do yourself. People won't come to you with all the answers you've never asked. It can seem like a daunting task at first but the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll become.
Get to know the people around you. They probably are not going to know who you are or why you are there and getting to know them will help you improve as well as giving you a good working relationship. This really became apparent in later jobs. As I worked with more people, I started getting more comfortable with the company as a whole. This meant that I would not only model but also come with design changes and suggestions for some of the characters we were working on. And at the core this is really what made my stay at The Mill a really great one.
I think the best advice I can give is to be involved. Don't be afraid to ask a question, that’s why you're there. That goes for everything, whether you're an intern or just started on your first job, be engaged because they would rather that you seek out new challenges and show commitment.
An internship is really a fantastic experience and opportunity, not just to get a grasp of what this line of work is like, but also the opportunity to work with people who are better than you. They have plenty of things to teach if you're willing to listen.
Meet the Mill judges for the 2015 CG Student Awards and get tips on standing out from the crowd to win this year's paid internship at The Mill. Don’t forget to enter your best work at cgstudentawards.com by May 13th for a chance to join us in London, NYC, LA or Chicago!
See more of Morten's work at mortenjaeger.com