Tami Carter

Compositing Supervisor
Industrial Light & Magic

What was your first job in the industry, and what were your first impressions?
Oh my God, I found my people! It was amazing - people sitting and doing art and using both sides of their brain which was what I needed, that's what I was looking for. They use the technical side and you actually got to do art with it and that was exciting.

How do you feel about the current state of the VFX industry or Hollywood and its inclusion of women and diversity?
Well, there's not a lot of that (women in the industry). I feel like in the Visual Effects world it's definitely primarily men in all of the supervisory type positions. I think part of it is that there just aren't as many women that are fanatical Star Wars fans but I’m hoping with the current Star Wars movies with and the female leads that that's gonna change. That more girls growing up nowadays are going to want to go into the industry and it will change sort of slowly that way.

Do you feel like there's a work/life balance issue?
Absolutely. I think this job expects all of you - every ounce of you. And because it is a male dominated industry, if you push back, that's not okay. It’s not normal. I think that the more women that are getting into the industry the more women are insisting on a work/life balance.

There's the argument that people say we need to hit a quota of 50/50 men and women. But there are also people who say you should just hire the best person for the job. What are your thoughts and feelings about that?
I would like to see it be 50/50. Right now I think it’s about educating, like giving women the opportunities to be in the room and to show that they can be as good. I do think that you need the best people for the job but we need to make it so that women are on a level playing field to be at least 50/50.

Any words of advice you have for future generations of women interested in VFX?
My feeling is up until now, at least for ILM, Star Wars has been for the boys and I think that is not the way it should be. I think that if girls are interested in Star Wars they should be going for it and I think that it’s been probably intimidating for women because it’s such a male dominated discipline that my advice would be, go for it. Not to be intimidated by the fact that its Star Wars and lightsabers because really it’s not about necessarily the movies we are making it’s about the creativity about what we do day to day which is art and what the content is. It should be fully spread between men and women. It’s a great career, it’s a great job

What was your favorite project?
For me it's not really about the movie that comes out in the end because that has very little to do with what becomes my favorite. I look back very nostalgically on (Star Wars) Episode I because it was sort of me blossoming and like really coming into my own as far as an artist at ILM. So working with John (Knoll), Tim (Alexander), and Eddie (Pasquarello), just we had such a sense of comradery and it was so fun and I look back on that one very nostalgically. But for me it's who I'm working with day to day as opposed to the project I'm actually working on. I mean it's nice to make pretty pictures too.

Learn More About Tami!

Years in Visual Effects: 21
Hometown: Mill Valley, California, USA
Favorite project: Star Wars: Episode I –
The Phantom Menace