Not sure if you know very much about the Matte Painting for Filmmakers Project. MP4FM is a professional recourse for people wanting to get into Matte Painting for film. MP4FM offers free DMP challenges with the focus on building foundation Matte Painting skills.
Sometimes people fall into the trap of wanting to get to the meat of Matte Painting before they take the milk. I know that foundation skills (the milk) sometimes seems boring but, a real love of the craft will help anyone weather through any boring parts—as with all professional trades.
When referring to the “craft” I do not mean painting on glass. Matte Painting has evolved and keeps evolving. There are many reasons for this change—the demands of modern film techniques and audiences just to name a few. I know there is a bit of heartburn when thinking about the end to the golden days of Matte Painting. But people evolve or die in this industry. Even my chums and former colleagues of the old school—Chis Evens and Mike Pangrazio made the transition to “Modern Matte Painting” when Matte Painting went digital.
You said there are too many gatekeepers to VFX. Actually, there is not enough gatekeepers! The industry is in great need for qualified artists to join the industry—VFX is very much understaffed. And what makes it all so crazy is there are so many people wanting to get jobs in VFX that cannot. We have a University system that does not adequately prepare people for jobs in VFX and VFX companies do very little to help qualify people. Many people have invested saving and based their livelihood on getting a job in VFX. Too many people have fallen by the wayside. Those people need help! I am happy to say that the soul purpose of the Matte Painting for Filmmakers Project is helping people.
Speaking of that, you may like to hear that I am partnering with MPC and teaching a 3DDMP Academy in May of 2017. MPC is taking applications right now. Here is the link:
The MPC 3DDMP Academy is a one year contract with MPC as a Matte Painter. The first 4 Months of that contract is a dedicated 40 hour week, full time Matte Painting training. After graduation they work on some of the industry’s top films. Last year my Academy students rolled on to “Fantastic Beasts”, “Wonder Woman”, “Alien Covenant” and “Ghost in the Shell”. Really a fantastic program.
Let me know if you have any questions Gfilmman.