Considering a Career in Special Effects?

Are you suited to special effects?

Special effects people tend to be a curious mixture of artists and engineers. This is because most effects require elements of creativity and mechanics, pyrotechnics, construction or electronics. So if you are primarily an artist or an engineer, get some experience of the other side. If your name is Leonardo da Vinci, then a glorious future awaits you in special effects.

You also have to be prepared to work unsociable hours at times. Most studio work starts early in the morning and if the shoot over-runs then it may be the next morning before you get home.

Being an international company, we work all over the world. Whilst we design and build most of our effects in our London HQ, we sometimes have to travel further afield for the actual shooting or installation. This can range from two days in the Maldives to two weeks in the storm-swept Scottish Highlands. Exciting though it may sound, travel can be tiring, frustrating and damaging to your personal life.

Above all, you need to be able to work as part of a team.

Next Steps

If you think you have the personality, drive and determination to succeed in special effects, here's what to do next:

  1. Get a formal qualification. Several universities offer degrees in relevant subjects. See below for some of the more recognised courses.
  2. Write a good CV and make sure it is relevant to effects work, demonstrating both your experience and your personality.
  3. Build a credible portfolio. This is a photographic record of your achievements and could include paid-for work, coursework and/or personal projects. Make sure the photography and lighting are good - a great model can look dreadful if it looks flat or out of focus.
  4. Market yourself with some memorable angle and be prepared to work freelance. Remember, flexibility is essential.


List of courses and contacts:

Arts University Bournemouth

AUB runs a BA Honours Degree in Modelmaking. This is full time over three years.

Applications must be made through UCAS.
For more information on the programme contact Paul Johnson, Course Leader at: or call +44(0) 1202 363252.
You can visit the main college website, or view the course details here


University of Hertfordshire

The School of Creative Arts offers three undergraduate degrees which share a common first year of study:

All three courses are three years full time with ample opportunity for students to include three months of work experience with leading companies in the Film, TV and Media Industries.

For further information contact:
Nick Morgan, Programme Leader. at: or call +44(0)1707 285359 
or visit their website at:


ual: Wimbledon College of Arts

Wimbledon College of Arts runs a BA(Hons) Technical Arts for Theatre and Performance. Three year full-time course.

Applications must be made through UCAS.

For more information contact: visit the website, or call +44(0)20 7514 9641


ual: London College of Fashion

The London College of Fashion runs three full-time three year courses. 

For further information contact: or call +44(0)20 7514 7344

or visit their website at:


These are just a few courses that may be of interest. You can find more on the UCAS website. Always research before applying.

If you have an interest in working for Artem then please e-mail your CV for the attention of Sharon Walter at or by post to Artem Ltd, Perivale Park, Horsenden Lane South, Perivale, Middlesex, UB6 7RH, UK

Please note though, we do get a lot of CVs. We do get around to answering them all, but please be patient. We regret that we cannot consider anybody under the age of 18 for either work experience or employment.