S. Kai Bovaird is another young animation success story, but with a twist—he gets to live in Hawaii.
This visual effects guru of Filipino, Spanish, French-Canadian, Native American, Norwegian, and Irish descent already has more than 20 film credits under his belt—including such films as The Pirates of the Caribbean, The Day After Tomorrow, Matrix Reloaded and X-men.
With plenty of experience under his belt, Kai was later made Visual Effects Supervisor at three visual effects companies. Kai later became Director of Operations at Hōkū Pixel, which was recently absorbed into AD/M LLC. [creative experiences], a company where Kai is currently Head of Visual Effects and a Co-Owner.
The gutsy forward thinkers at AD/M think that “talk is cheap. We are here to communicate transformative ideas into powerful experiences & positive results.” And this ideology allows them to create fresh branding brought to life in unorthodox and provocative ways.
Kai recently took time from his busy, hard-working and beach-going schedule to offer advice to Animation Career Review's future-animator viewers:
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus?
Our focus is on Branding, Design and some Feature Film Work. Our niche market in Hawaii is not as saturated like other markets on the mainland. 80% of our artists have trained on the mainland and then come home to assist our efforts.
Fill in the blank: The future of animation is ______.
Expanding and becoming more affordable for smaller agencies.
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation field?
The Best is the satisfaction when a clients says Job Well Done. Not to mention when our peers recognize our efforts.
The Worst is that clients are expecting more work at lower or the same budgets as years past.
Among your firm's achievements, which one(s) are you the most proud of?
Winning Best Visual Effects for Bella Pietra Commercial. Also, Winning Action on Film Festival, Pasadena, CA independent film award.
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees?
3D Fundamentals. Not to concerned with the type of software they use as long as they posses the foundational skills necessary.
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Get a solid grasp on movement and timing foundational skills. Also learn composition and framing.
What were your most challenging projects, and why?
There are not enough qualified artists who live locally. It’s a challenge for the short projects that require an artist to start immediately.
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
An art school. When seeking a school do research on who will be instructing the classes.
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? Which one would you recommend to beginners?
We use many products from Autodesk, The Foundary and Adobe. Learn what ever your local companies are using. Dont get to caught up on any one particular software. Its ONLY a tool. Learn the foundations!
Could you share with us your best story about working in the animation industry.
Every day is a great day. But more specifically working with great Directors and Actors on such movies as Matrix Reloaded and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
Increasing demand. Many more smaller studios will open over time and need to fill their ranks with qualified artists.