Alum Corner with Blake Laing-Smith

Blake Laing-Smith explored various paths after school, including working in independent film, managing a franchise, and construction. He pursued his passion for cinematography and visual effects, completing programs at Capilano University and the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts. Blake worked as a visual effects artist and editor in Canada and the UK, contributing to projects like the Total Recall remake and Dark Shadows. He values his relationships and considers his career success as an artist a significant achievement. Blake credits Waldorf for encouraging independent thought and fostering his creative bond. His fondest memories include fall hiking trips and classes with inspirational teachers like Eitel Timm and Philip Thatcher. Blake lives in New Zealand with his family, thriving in the film industry.

After graduating from the Vancouver Waldorf School in 2003, I took some time off from school. I worked on an independent film in Ashland, Oregon, managed a Bean Around the World franchise, and worked in construction, giving me some practical skills for my tool belt. On returning to post-secondary, I took the Cinematography program at Capilano University. I followed that with a program for visual effects for film and television at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (Vanarts). After graduating, I worked at a small visual effects company where I composited on B rate TV movies of the week.

To close the gap in my long-distance relationship, I moved to Calgary, where I free-lanced as a visual effects artist and editor and completed work on two independent short films. I also worked in sales as a video equipment expert. In 2009 my fiancé and I moved to the UK so she could complete her post-doctorate at the University of Bristol and I worked as a visual effects compositor and 2D prep artist at The Senate in London, working on the Total Recall remake. I was also involved in some independent projects working as a visual effects supervisor.

I enjoy creative problem solving and pretty pictures, so my job as a compositor is a perfect fit. It is fun to be a part of a massive creative process and see our work on the big screen. It is also great to be able to work internationally.

I would have to say my relationships are my greatest successes in life. I hold loved ones as the highest priority in life. Regarding career success, I am happy to say that I am working as an artist, not the starving kind! I got my first rolling credit on Dark Shadows. I also received a Leo Award for best visual effects in a short drama for my work on Hop The Twig.

I was already interested in the film industry before I went to Waldorf, so I cannot say that it affected my career choice, however, I think Waldorf embraces independent thought and equality, which helped me enter the job market. Waldorf also helped me develop a strong bond with my creative self.

My favourite memories from school include the fall hiking trips during high school, which were lots of fun. I have fond memories of “The Art of Soccer” with Eitel Timm and Creative Writing with Philip Thatcher. Perhaps my most special memory is of the late Colin Dutson — we compared hand sizes, and his big hand must have been over twice the size of mine.

Editor’s Note: Blake is living in New Zealand with his wife and child and has a successful career in the film industry.

Compiled by Michelle Gibson for Development, June 2010

Blake Laing-Smith
Blake Laing-SmithClass of 2003

The Vancouver Waldorf School provides an experiential, age-appropriate approach to education based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner that inspires students to love learning, to be creative, open-minded, and compassionate. With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right hemispheres of the brain but the whole human being. A child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development is considered equally, supporting a conscious unfolding of the individuality within each student. Waldorf graduates possess capacities for empathy and clear, creative and independent thinking that enables them to carry out a chosen course of action with moral courage and social responsibility.