Ghalia Chammat, Valentin Gingembre and Laura Pham Van Cang tell you how and why they came to Mill Paris studio

Community February 23, 2023
  • Can you tell me more about your experience ?

Ghalia : I grew up in Morocco and then after graduating from high school I went to Montreal to study cinema where I  discovered many different jobs, especially artistic and technical ones (direction, copywritter, editor,, etc.) which was very enriching.
In my final studies year, I started to get interested in production methods, but I had no idea how it worked, so I decided to come to Paris to do an MBA in audiovisual production. I didn’t know anything about VFX yet. In my school we had the chance to work a lot with professionals, especially Sandrine De Monte, who introduced us to the post-production world, and then allowed us to take a masterclass at … drum roll … The Mill Paris! I was immediately fascinated by the universe, the  company atmosphere, the workplace and the new technologies used, so I tried my luck by sending my CV for an internship. That’s how my adventure at The Mill Paris began, starting as a VFX coordinator to become a VFX Producer a few months later.

Laura: I studied games art at ECV School and at the end of my schooling I had opportunities to work in advertising using Unreal Engine. Then I discovered XR with Led screens, still on Unreal Engine and I specialised in environment/lighting and rendering. After The Mill Paris contacted me to join their team for productions using Unreal Engine.

Valentin : Since childhood I have always enjoyed everything to do with images, whether as a viewer, watching films or as a maker. From my 10-11 years old I became interested in image making and had fun creating little video editing or photoshopping images. My first real experience in the post-production world was during my third year internship inside a parisian studio where I was able to discover the different jobs and in particular colour grading and flame which captivated me. This experience shaped and confirmed my desire to work in this field. In high school, l I negotiated with my school to be able to do several internships during the year classes and holidays, they accepted. This allowed me to do 12 internships in different Parisian studios including The Mill Paris in February 2022. Besides that, I trained at home and did small post-production jobs as a freelancer, in order to consolidate my skills acquired during my internship. Once I had reached the age of majority and passed my bachelor’s degree, I submitted my application to several companies where I was previously intern, including The Mill Paris, which offered me the chance to join its flame artists team.
I have now been working at The Mill Paris for eight months as a junior flame artist. Eight months during which I had the opportunity to work on different projects, each with its own challenges and requirements, allowing me to progress very quickly.


  • Why did you choose the VFX sector in advertising?

Ghalia: The creation of visual effects in the audiovisual sector implies the addition of elements that do not exist in real life and cannot be filmed in camera. This directly adds a very interesting creative and imaginative dimension. You know instinctively that the projects you will be working on are bound to be challenging!
What I think is even more fun in advertising is the multidisciplinary aspect of the different briefs. Each new project comes with radically different issues, from hyper-realistic to purely abstract graphics. Each new ad is different, which allows us to discover a lot of creative methods. Especially as advertising is a short format, getting bored is impossible.

Laura: I chose the VFX field because there were many professional opportunities when you mastered Unreal Engine. As this software is in full expansion, I have the chance to practice my knowledge on a daily basis and to acquire new ones.

Valentin: I chose the advertising industry for several reasons. Firstly, the flame artist job is much more developed in advertising field than in fiction. Added to this diversity offered by the sector, the duration of advertising projects is relatively short, allowing us to work on several in the same month. Not all projects use the same type of tricks and do not present the same challenges, so we have to find solutions each time, so we can broaden our skills. In this sector we value a lot the aesthetics of the image to highlight each brand in the best possible way.

  • What are your best experience and memories at The Mill Paris ? 

Ghalia: In general, the pedagogy and the caring of everyone makes the daily experience great. In the office we have all kinds of jobs and personalities. Everyone is willing to learn and teach, so no one is afraid to ask questions, ask for advice or opinions, which allows us to work properly without the fear of judgment or the need to prove something. Especially since, as I said before, each project is technically different, so we discover new trades, new vfx specificities, but above all we learn to discover the artists, their way of working and their personality, and that’s the most rewarding. The perfect mix of technological expertise and human relationships.

Laura : In the studio, I joined a friendly and fantastic team who immediately welcomed and supported me in every challenge we encountered in the projects, allowing me to develop my skills on a daily basis.

Valentin: My best moments at The Mill Paris often come after the hardest. When you work on projects that have significant technical or other constraints, it’s rewarding to see them through to completion while knowing how far the teams have come. And of course, it’s always nice to have the opportunity to see the projects you work on broadcast in the cinema, on television or on the internet. When I see them on screen, it’s immediately more concrete and I think about all the behind-the-scenes work.

  • What are your favourite projects and why?

Ghalia: The project I’ve loved working on so far is Toto the Green Gorilla because it was the first project where I was able to bridge the gap between coordination and vfx production.
It was very interesting to have my hands on the management of the pipe and images in coordination, but also a more global vision of the manufacturing and production stages by following Nicolas Huguet, the line producer of the project. It was also the first time I had responsibility for client management as I had the opportunity to manage the digital formats directly with the client. As a result, I learned a lot about the vfx producer’s job, but also about the methods of creating an asset in full CG.


Laura : I made my first steps in the studio on the Mercedes production. I really loved this production as a whole because the team was great and the project was challenging. I also enjoyed the greeting card because I had the chance to work on a very beautiful film that was completely different from what I’m used to.


Valentin: I don’t think I have one particular project to rank above the others, each one has brought me different challenges and skills. I think of the Cartier “Tank”, Louis Vuitton “Holiday” or Orange “Magic and a lot of refurbishment” campaigns, each of which allowed me to work on different aspects of 2D compositing. I can also mention the  “Monday” and Chanel “Rouge Allure Velvet” campaigns, which taught me a better approach to flame project management, from conformation to delivery. I also really enjoyed working on the music video project “La Force Tranquille” (The Quiet Force) for the rappers Djadja and Dinaz as it was the first project I supervised.

IfI had to choose only one project it would be M.I.A.’s “Popular” video, mainly because of the diversity of techniques used to create the face of the artist’s clone. A mix of deepfake composited with 2D elements, the animation of the singer’s mouth made from a 3D plate but also the use of real special effects with the use of a silicone mask during the shooting … a very wide range of visual effects that were very interesting to make.

  • What advice do you have for juniors who want to pursue a career in VFX/Animation?

Ghalia: My advice may sound very simple but it is really to be curious. I think you should not hesitate to ask questions, to be interested in areas you don’t master, because you can always learn ! It may be a very personal experience but VFX is a real team effort and each person is indispensable, you can’t do everything and master everything alone. I think it is fundamental to be humble and curious about the people you work with, no matter what your background or experience are, there are always new things to learn.

Laura: In my opinion, no matter what the experience we always learn. In our jobs we learn every day because the technical tools are constantly evolving as are the demands of our clients. Curiosity is and will remain a graphic designer’s best friend, and combined with this insatiable curiosity, you have to continually work on your skills and develop new ones to keep up with developments in our sector. I also advise you to do personal projects to put into practice your knowledge acquired in the company to improve yourself while expanding your portfolio.

Valentin: It is difficult to give universal advice as the backgrounds of people working in vfx are so diverse. In my opinion, the most important thing is to think carefully about your specialisation according to your desires but also to the evolution of the market. It’s important to choose your first internships and jobs carefully so that you can experiment with different tools and techniques in order to know what you like and develop your skills so that you don’t end up being locked into a niche.

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