/News 22.02.22


A global surge in film and streaming production has caused VFX companies in Australia and around the globe to rapidly expand. This boom has led to a tight job market and for recent graduates of Rising Sun Pictures’ (RSP) visual effects training program, operated in partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA), this is very good news as demand for junior artists with workforce-ready skills has never been greater.

 “There’s currently a huge demand for our graduates. Companies and recruiters here in South Australia, interstate and internationally frequently contact us asking when our students will be ready to work.”

Anna Hodge, RSP Manager, Training and Education

The numbers tell the story. Screen Australia recently reported that spending on local and international film and television production topped AU $1.9bn for the fiscal year 2020/2021, more than double the previous 12 months, and 53% higher than the five-year average. It noted that having adjusted to the pandemic, the entertainment industry has shifted into high gear. Australia has especially benefitted from the production boon because it was viewed as open and safe.

Hodge notes that recruiters find RSP graduates appealing candidates due to the type of training they receive. RSP’s classrooms are set up to mirror real-world production environments and students are taught by working visual effects professionals. Not only do they acquire critical software skills, they learn to meet deadlines and function as members of a team. When they land their first jobs, they hit the ground running. “Our graduates are in demand because they arrive ready to contribute from day one. Studios have trust in our program. That’s why they keep coming back for more graduates.”

Last year alone, RSP graduates were hired by studios across Australia. Unsurprisingly, the number one destination was RSP itself. In 2021 the studio hired nearly a dozen recent graduates into junior artist roles, all of whom are now working on studio features and streaming series.  Currently, there are just over 40 graduates working at RSP which makes up 20% of RSP’s overall workforce. 

Many of RSP’s graduates are taking advantage of their training and are excelling in their first VFX roles. Hodge stays in touch with past graduates of the program and has witnessed many junior artists advance into more demanding roles.

“The career trajectories for our students are quite impressive, one student who completed her training in 2016, got her start here at RSP as a VFX Coordinator and is now a VFX Producer at a studio in Sweden.  It has also happened the other way around. We’ve had several students, who commenced their careers at other companies interstate and overseas, come back to RSP into more senior roles.”

Anna Hodge

After graduating from the course, Kurt Debens, joined RSP as a Junior FX Artist, transitioned into interim Effects Lead and then promoted to Senior Effects Artists. Recently Kurt celebrated 5 years of service at RSP.  

Given those success stories, it’s not surprising that enrollment applications have also risen. All the program’s classes this past year were full. Full-time classes for the first semester of 2022 are similarly filled to capacity. With applications continuing to arrive at a record pace, RSP is working to accommodate more qualified applicants by adding capacity and developing more classes. It’s also planning to offer training through its new studio in Brisbane beginning in the second half of this year.

RSP gives careful consideration to everyone who applies, whether they do so through UniSA or some other avenue. Prospective students are evaluated based on their university grade point average (GPA), show-reels and background experience. Hodge says they are looking for students prepared to rise to the rigours of the program. “It is important to match students with training that is right for them,” she explains. “We are very careful in accepting students and work hard to match them with training suited to their skills and goals. We want to set up all of our students for success.”

Hodge says the past year has been most gratifying for her personally as she has watched so many RSP graduates take their first steps toward lifelong careers. She is hopeful for even better results in 2022. “Two more of our graduates started here recently” she states. “They embark on their working lives with confidence because they’ve already been here for quite some time. They know the department head and other members of the team, because they were taught by them. They’re excited and we’re excited. It’s wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they return as employees.”


Crystel Newman
Marketing Manager
Rising Sun Pictures
+61 8400 6577
+61 401499979

Anna Hodge
Manager, Training and Education
Rising Sun Pictures
+61 8 8400 6505