Escape Studios 3 min read

International Women's Day: Interview with Yulien Tso

Rachael Jones

Rachael Jones posted on

Today we sat down with Yulien Tso one of our Compositing Tutors at Escape to discuss her career as a woman in VFX, projects she’s worked on and her advice for women wanting to get into the industry. Yulien teaches compositing to our undergraduate VFX students.

Yulien's career started in graphic design. She has worked in the VFX industry for 17 years, as a compositor for 14 years and a Nuke demo artist and trainer for 3 years. She has worked at major facilities like Framestore, Cinesite, MPC, and Zoic Studios, in Los Angeles and London. Her compositing experience spans film, commercials, episodic TV, and VR projects. Her film credits include the award-winning Life of Pi, World War Z and John Carter in more recent years, going back to Cutthroat Island, Beloved and That Thing You Do in the 1990's.

Tell me about your career so far
I’ve been teaching Compositing at Escape Studios since August 2018. I have worked as a Compositors for many years. I did take a 7 year break from working to raise a family but altogether I've been in the industry for 17 years and worked as a compositor for 14 years of them. Over the years I’ve worked on many films and up until quite recently I worked on TV shows and commercials. I started my career as a graphic designer creating logos and lots of print material including posters and banners. I fell into both graphic design and compositing by accident. I found compositing because of my love of art and design and I think that it fits well with my personality as I like things to be near and correct.

gray framed eyeglasses and books
Photo by Kari Shea / Unsplash

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry?
That’s a really interesting question. I never really thought about it and a job is a job to me. I like what I do and I’ve never felt any pressure from being a woman. But if I think about it there is some unfairness and it’s not just in this industry. As in any other profession women and men get treated differently. Women tend to get paid less. There are higher roles in the VFX industry that are usually dominated by men and I’m not sure why that is, maybe they present themselves better or maybe it's just a preconception about men being better. They exude more confidence. I feel that being a woman in the work regardless of the workplace you have to deal with the male and female personalities. You tend to be more tolerant to the male personalities.

What inspires you?
I like beautiful things and I like things to be proper. Not that I like things to be rigged that’s a different thing. But what inspires me is the beauty of nature. On a nice beautiful day I get up in the morning and see the beautiful sun in the sky and it makes myself feel open and when I’m doing my work I just get inspired by the tranquility of the nature.

women's white and blue floral dress
Photo by Paul Gilmore / Unsplash

**Have you noticed any trends in the industry? **
More and more women are getting in the industry and the programming side of things. When I first started in the industry compositing was dominated by men but now there are more women than ever in that field. And I’ve also noticed that other roles that used to be dominated by men, including; technical directing, 3D, Animation, Modelling and Matte Painting have more women in them now. Which is a very positive sign .

Do you have any advice for women who want to get into the industry?
My advice is that if there's something that you want to, do it. Don’t let anything or anyone intimidate you. Just go for it and do whatever you want to do. Opportunities will come and people like people who do good work.

International Women's Day: Interview with Yulien Tso
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