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Rob Greig

Quit your job, become a... SFX technician

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

Will Wyatt, 28, Senior Special Effects Technician at Artem explains how he got into the special effects business.

Is most of your time spent blowing shit up? 

‘I actually spend a lot of time thinking, designing and problem solving. If say we have to make a rig to collapse a castle, I’d come in and sit at the computer for a few hours drawing before the building crew get in.’ 

I guess castles are fun too…What other awesome jobs have you worked on? 

‘One of the coolest moments of my career was the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics. I had to attend to rigs, make sure things went off at the right time and generally run around like a madman.’

How did you get into this line of work?

‘I remember watching something about special effects on TV when I was ten, and thinking it’d be a brilliant thing to do. Then when I was 14 I did work experience in a model-making studio, which spurred me on to an art foundation year making animatronics, and then university, which introduced me to the right people.’

What’s your favourite part of your job?

‘I love the fact that you can come into work and six hours later be on a plane to Barcelona or India. I always bring my passport to work with me now because we might need to meet clients, do a last-minute job or fix something in production that’s gone wrong.’

Sounds hectic. Does your career make it difficult to hold down a relationship?

‘Yes, you need someone who’s understanding. Luckily my girlfriend is a video editor, so she has an insight into the industry. But if you’re working on a film or you’re abroad for a long period, it does make it difficult.’

For all our budding SFX-ers, is there an effect that readers can try at home?

‘Yeah! Something I used to do was a gunshot wound, which you can do with anything that pumps, like a water pistol. Fill it with red food colouring and corn syrup, cut a little hole in your T-shirt, hide it behind you and spurt it through your shirt.’

Hours: 50hrs p/w

Starting salary: £15,000 p/a

Qualifications: BA in special effects

Or why not become a dancer?

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