Alumni Corner

Interview with Blake Laing-Smith

VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS (post-secondary schooling, travel, work experience, family, etc.)

BLS: After graduating in 2003, I worked on an independent film in Ashland, Oregon. Then I decided to take some time off and managed a Bean Around the World franchise and worked in construction. This gave me some practical skills for my tool belt. On returning to school, I took the Cinematography program at Capilano University and 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. A year ago my fiancé and I moved to the UK as she is completing her post-doctorate at the University of Bristol. We are enjoying our time in Europe.

VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?

BLS: I currently work as a visual effects compositor and 2D prep artist at The Senate in London. We are working on the Total Recall remake. I am also involved in some independent projects working as a visual effects supervisor.

VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?

BLS: 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 then get to see our work on the big screen. It is also great to be able to work internationally.

VWS: What do you think are your greatest successes in life?

BLS: I would have to say my relationships. I hold loved ones as the highest priority in life. In terms of career success, I am quite happy to say that I am working as an artist, and not the starving kind. Recently I got my first rolling credit on Dark Shadows. I also received a Leo Award last year for best visual effects in a short drama for my work on Hop The Twig.

VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and your choice of career?

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

VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?

BLS: The beginning of the year hiking trips during high school 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 currently living in New Zealand with his wife and newborn child and has a successful career in the film industry.

Interview 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.