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Alumni Profiles

Maria Gordon

Maria Gordon

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 1998
Program: Computer Animation

Visually Affecting Work

The Tudors, Splice, Lucky Number Slevin, Saw II, Resident Evil: Apocalypse – these are just some of the high-profile films and television programs that feature the behind-the-scenes work of Maria Gordon. She will soon apply her special effects skills to two high-end television series, including the third season of The Borgias.

Maria joins Take Five Productions in June 2012 as Compositing Supervisor, after a long stint with with ARC Productions. Formerly with C.O.R.E. Digital Effects, Maria has been nominated for a Gemini Award several times, winning in 2011 for her visual effects work on The Tudors (Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images.).

She came to the world of entertainment via a seemingly mundane route. While working at the University Guelph as a scientific illustrator, Maria experienced her own “night at the museum,” and forged connections which led her to Sheridan.

Maria tells the story: “I was working as a printmaker, as well as an illustrator. A Canadian scientist working for the ROM had seen my art in a gallery showing. He spoke to an American scientist about me, while they were collecting specimens in the Amazon. A month later, I received an offer from Washington D.C. to intern at the Museum of Natural History.”

Maria gladly took the position. She says it was amazing to walk around the museum at night with no one around, except for security guards. “While I was there, I met some incredible artists and scientists who encouraged me to pursue my computer animation studies. We still stay in touch,” she says. “It goes to show that everything you do, from work to extracurricular activities, can give you many worthwhile opportunities.”

Maria’s time at Sheridan led her not only to a new and successful career, but to a fellow animation student who would become her husband. Patrick Kil, a Computer Animation 1997 grad, is now Senior Technical Director at Nelvana.

Maria says the lessons she learned at Sheridan were just the beginning “Prepare yourself to be a self-motivated lifelong learner.” You have to be able to work well with others. VFX (visual effects) is a team endeavour. A co-worker could easily become your supervisor,” says Maria, who recently finished working on a film called Little Boy.

She advises graduates to do whatever it takes to gain entry into a visual effects house, even if it means taking a position other than your dream job. “You will have more opportunities to showcase your skill sets to the right people in the company once you are ‘in’,” she says.

Although there's a big trend away from hiring people permanently, says Maria, there are now even more opportunities to travel for work. Toronto, LA, London, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are amongst the top destination spots for those working in visual effects.