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Meet Jacquelyn Racine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacquelyn Racine.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jacquelyn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, a town northeast of Toronto. From a young age, I dreamed of moving to a big city to pursue my passion for the arts. My parents nurtured my dedication to the arts by putting me in a variety of classes to help express my inner voice. Dance, drama, music, choir, improv, musical theatre, art, etc. I did it all and loved it too. In middle school, I attended a program which focused their curriculum through an integrated hands-on approach using arts as a foundation. But it wasn’t until I discovered my love of film that I really understood how I could harness my ambition and define it on screen.

In high school, I became a woman obsessed, consuming all the content available at my fingertips. I even attended an extra course specifically focused on filmmaking to ensure this was the path I wanted to take. I knew the road I had chosen wouldn’t be easy, and I dreamed of making it all the way to Hollywood but didn’t know how to make that a reality.

Thankfully, I had the best support system every step of the way – my family. They could see my ambition from a young age, and always nourished it with their optimism. I would not have any of this success without their positive reinforcement. I am lucky, and I will never forget that.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The film industry is not an easy career path to pursue. It takes dedication and determination, in the face of adversity. There have been many roadblocks along the path I have taken to achieve my goals. VFX is not for the faint of heart; it requires constant learning and evolving to adapt our knowledge to the latest technology, as well as resilience through each stage of production on a project.

At the start of my career, I worked in administration for a visual effects studio. The key duties of administration had always been a strength of mine (organization, scheduling, time management, bookkeeping, etc.) but I knew I wanted more. I wanted to explore the VFX production process and challenge myself. I had to prove my worth within the industry, to be considered for a new role. I was up against people with more experience, the proper education and knowledge of the current softwares. But that didn’t stop me, in fact it fuelled me to achieve my dreams. I persevered and showed my dedication to my craft, which led me to reach new heights in my career, sparking my interest to push even further.

The film industry is very male dominated, to this day, and visual effects is no exception. As women in this field, we have to prove ourselves time and time again. Since VFX leans heavily on technology, we must justify our knowledge and understanding of the creative techniques being used to produce our work. But we can see that things are changing, there is a new conversation starting around filmmaking as a whole. Our audiences want women in the room, giving their opinion and insight to the process. We want to hear stories by women and about women. We are getting to a place, however long it might take, where women will change the filmmaking process all together.

As a Canadian living in Los Angeles I can see first-hand that our industry is in a time of change and growth and I want to contribute my own unique perspective. I have a distinct voice and I feel I can grow into an effective leader, overseeing teams that seek to change the face of film itself. I know visual effects will play an integral role in this movement, both creatively and technologically, and I want to be a part of the collaboration. 

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I have always been fascinated by the film industry as a whole. I watched films and television series seeking to understand how a masterpiece could be created from an idea. I am a big picture thinker, with a deep appreciation for the collaborative effort; capable of seeing how small distinct parts come together to form a greater final product. Film is that to me. It signifies the fruits of labour and cooperative effort among a production team. I wanted to be a part of that team. I chose to pursue a career in the film industry, studying Media Arts at Sheridan College.

After graduating, I moved to Toronto to work for the CEO of a visual effects studio. Though VFX was not my focus in film school, the marriage between technology and creativity in the department intrigued me. Learning more about the visual effects industry satisfied my curiosity for understanding the production process, from an entirely different standpoint. Despite being the youngest department, VFX is quickly becoming the most essential. With technology constantly advancing, the department needs to stay on trend and ahead of the curve. Learning all this made me want to serve an integral role on the frontier of advancements in film. In order to achieve this goal, I knew I would need to move to Los Angeles. As a leading production team member in my work in Toronto, I liaised with many Los Angeles-based clients. This allowed me to pool my resources, broaden my horizons and move to California. I had a goal, and my ambition was the driving force to project me forward.

I have been living and working in Los Angeles for just over two years, pursuing every opportunity for growth. I am enthusiastic about the direction the film industry is headed, with major changes afoot. I am excited to be living/working here at a time like this and being a part of advancements in the industry.

Where do you see your industry going in the next five years?
If you had asked me this question a few months ago, my answer would have been very different. But as things stand today, filmmaking, and all businesses for that matter, are in a time of great change. No industry will be untouched by COVID and the film industry is no exception. The key challenges emerging during this pandemic are the methods and techniques of production. We will need to adjust our practices accordingly in order to comply with new health regulations (i.e. physical distancing, crowd limitations, etc.). Visual effects will help us negotiate safety measures without compromising artistic vision. Production teams will have to collaborate more intimately with the visual effects department to help guide their creative vision while maintaining the safety of their crew.

VFX has made the physically impossible, digitally possible. It has permeated every aspect of the industry, changing the way we create and execute films. We can no longer make a movie without the need for visual effects– our audiences demand it and the artistic visions of our filmmakers are enriched by it. It is the invisible partner to the filmmakers, not always obvious but essential to every shot. Visual effects gives the filmmaker the confidence to envision what cannot be humanly achieved, and that is a powerful tool in the storytelling process.

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