Meet Debbi Coleman, our Global Head of Compositing and the next star in our Wonder Women series.
What drew you to a career in VFX?
The combination of getting to work on images in a technical capacity (ie, digitally) was what I found appealing. Also, it’s such a collaborative and creative environment, which is important to me.
How did you get into the Business?
At the time I graduated from Uni, VFX was an emerging industry in London, so not something I knew very much about. I was applying for all and any jobs within post-production and got lucky when I secured a role as a runner at Cinesite. (They were impressed that I had previously secured some unpaid work experience on the set of the current Bond production). Whilst working there, everyone was very generous with their time and knowledge and I learnt loads about video, film and digital VFX, it was fantastic!
Women are still under-represented in the VFX industry – why do you think that is and what can we do to attract more women to join the industry?
I think this is due to two main reasons: early education and the lack of visible role models. Our society quietly discourages girls from pursuing technology-based subjects, so fewer progress through to career level VFX. This is a known problem and there are a number of initiatives aimed at addressing this. I also think, once within the work place, although women are equally capable, we do not see a representative number of women progressing to the most senior levels; this is something I would like our industry to actively attempt to address.
What are your thoughts about the success of Wonder Woman and what do you think it means to the industry?
I’m delighted by both the box-office success and the many reports of how inspirational girls are finding this film: clearly, there is an appetite for strong female superheroes, if nothing else! Having a female director at the helm has clearly paid off. What I would hope this means is that we see more female involvement behind the camera (content creation, as well as direction), as well as seeing an increase in strong female roles on our screens.
What would be your advice to the next generation of women coming into the industry?
In my experience, VFX is a progressive, collaborative and dynamic industry. The more diverse the team is in both content creation and supervision, the better it will be for everyone involved. As a woman joining VFX, do not be afraid to put yourself forward for roles or for responsibility or to offer creative or technical ideas: your voice is equally valid, it just needs to be heard.