Alumni Corner with Blake Laing-Smith
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
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.