Advices for new foreigner VFX Artist

Hi again!

So, as i stated in an other post, i just gratuated as a VFX artist at Inter-DEC College of Montréal and i’m at a point where i have to find a job.

My teachers told me i will get a 2 months internship in one of the company that were present for our final evaluation but… There is no salary so i’m basically working for free for 2 whole months and i have bills to pay and i have to deal the papers so to able to stay in Canada.

A. So my question is: is it worth the shot ? I mean, in the end i will make my own decision but i’d like to hear what you have to say about it.

I’m also in the middle of a process where, since i’m a foreigner, i have to meet some conditions to get the permanent residence permit to be able to live in Canada. The problem is, the career i choose as a VFX artist isn’t classifed in the list of the jobs that are eligible to get that permit. Which means i will have to do another job eligible for the immigration which kinda put me on a tight spot. I still need to do some researches on this matter to find an alternative.

B. My question is: does video game companies offer helps to smooth/speed the immigration process so it could allow me to still work as a VFX artist and fill the necessary conditions to get that permit ?

I don’t know if i will find answers here but hey.

Where are you from, since you say you are a foreigner (I mean, this forum isn’t from one country xD [or are we?]). Working for free is generally not a very good practice, it kind of shows that the studio itself isn’t willing to invest in you to begin with, hence later on they will keep doing it with others and wonder why bother paying people, when they can get others for free(it’s not cool, but I’ve heard stories like that).

Video game artists are generally nomads until they like it somewhere well enough to stay. Just consider if you like it that much in Canada that you want to stay there and work, if yes, then just work towards that, if not, try to see what else you want to do :slight_smile: It can be a tough thing to figure this out.

Hello! I’m from French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora-Bora…). About if i really want to stay in Canada, the answer if: Definitely YES.

And thanks.

Yes to B. Any serious company that has more than a few employees usually has either a legal department or outsources it and will defiantly help you out with the visa process.

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Making the decision to work those two months for free is a toss up. Are you guaranteed the internship position?

I don’t know how internships work in terms of taxes, benefits, labor laws and other legal stuff, so I’m not sure if the reason there is no pay because it’s only 2 months, or if they just don’t/can’t pay at all. The no pay is a bit of a red flag though. If it’s a successful company or new startup, they should have the money to pay you a livable wage for 2 months. I haven’t heard of too many places that still do that nowadays.

What is the reputation for the company? Do they have talent or a good history? This can probably go one of three ways: first, you could waste 2 unpaid financially stressful months and learn absolutely nothing while making lens flares and dust motes and getting coffee. Second, you could learn a lot, but be given a huge work load and basically do a chunk of the company’s vfx work for free. Third, it could be equal parts learning and workload, where you would learn some good skills, get a feel for the workflow of a studio, and get a few things into a game and your demo reel.

With no more information than what you gave us, you have to determine yourself if the cost will outweigh the benefit or not, or if you will benefit at all.

I’m sorry that isn’t too much help, but some stuff to think about. There are as many internship horror stories about people’s work getting stolen or doing a bunch of work for free with no pay off as there are success stories. We don’t want you to fall into the former. :frowning:

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Yeah that’s what i’m worried about :neutral_face: As for the company, i don’t know if i should name it or if i will receive backlash for it. That may sounds dumb, but like i said, i don’t know.

You don’t need to name them, especially if it would get you in trouble. Just do some research on them if you haven’t already, maybe even privately reach out to some people who work there and ask them about their experience working there or what a typical work week looks like.

Have you been in direct contact with the company about the internship, or is the opportunity just up in the air?

Yes i was in direct contact with the recruiter yesterday and said that i will hear about them the following week.

Definitely inquire about responsibilities, expected work load, estimated work hours per week, etc.

Alright. The interview is tomorrow so i’ll ask them about it.

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Answers for those questions will probably give you a better feel for if you should accept the internship or pass


I’m a Montreal born VFX TD and while my career started in a different video games era… There is still one truth left in this place and it’s that contacts / people you know in the industry is still very important. It’s 2 months yes, but it’s also Montreal. It’s one of the most “video games per capita” producing cities in the world. Not a bad place to get your foot in the door at all.

One thing to note, while you are interning in those 2 months, you can also still be looking for a job, make sure your LinkedIn is up to date, and the intership is likely to do more for you and your future career than spending those 2 months home working that portfolio.

Also, correct me if I am wrong, but those 2 months internship, they are part of the school / company partnership, correct? Aka, it’s more like the school giving you contacts / work experience in partnering with the industry, rather than the company trying to edge out free labor. Back in my days (old gramps voice) this sort of school / industry partnership was the former and more often than not resulted in formal hiring after the internship period.

My 2 cents.

Good luck!


I don’t know if it is a partnership. It probably is. I’m torn between these 2 options:

  1. I refuse the job and work on my portefolio (which includes the game we made as students because ) while working as a fulltime QA tester and have a minimum of wage.

  2. I accept the internship, because this is an opportunity (we’re in Montréal after all, that’s why i decided to come here in the 1rst place). I also heard that 90% of people working as interns ended up being employed. But that also mean i would have to live on my economies, which are running down at this moment.

The good compromise would be the internship to be part-time. Then i could accept and i take the nightshift as a QA tester. But at this point i’m probably asking too much.

The interview is in a few hours so i will make my decision when i’ll be there i guess.

Thanks thoough! It’s good to have different points of view.

Some companies are able to do that, make sure you ask about it. When discussing the internship make sure they understand your situation, sometimes they could help you out. You might not be able to apply for a PR right away but sometimes you could get a temp work permit, and then later apply for the PR. Being in town makes it easier! Make sure you apply for companies all over the town right away. Have your cv and reel updated, and good luck! Let me know if there’s anything I could do to help you out.


Maybe this has changed on recent years. But me myself I started from a foreign country and applied as a VFX Artist. Got a work permit, then after 1 year in this status and with the pertaining French language skills tests passed I applied to “Certificat de Selection du Quebec”. With this last certificate approved and in hand, you can apply for a full Permanent Resident.

Can you point me to a portfolio and/or CV? I work at Gameloft and we are always on the lookout for new candidates.

Good luck.

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For my portefolio, you can find me here on ArtStation:

I’m off for the interview, i’ll give you guys some feedback when it’s over.


Good luck @Fenix! Hope it all goes well

So… The interview went pretty well and was predictable. They began to explain me why they do not pay you for 2 whole months (basically because the company invest on you blabla, etc.), told me that 90% of the interns end being employed and that it mostly depends on me and my behavior but even with that they couldn’t guarantee me a job. So i made my presentation, showed my reel, asked them about the expected workflow (on which they replied it will be heavy), the estimated work hours (it was Full time).

The made it clear that they would negociate any wage. The only thing i could negotiate was the work hours and that’s it.

So i just explained my situation, saying i couldn’t afford to work 2 months for free and that i had to deal with the immigration. After that i just refused and we parted away. They asked me about my resume though in case they would contact me again.

And that’s it.

As good as it is to have a foot in the door and contacts in the industry, I think you made the right choice. With no guarantee of hire, and a heavy full time workload, for two months, for free sounds like it would be way more stress for you than it’s worth. Keep working on your stuff, and there will be other opportunities in the future. Keep your head up!

That’s the plan! (i don’t know what to say else since i’m forced to write at least 20 characters to reply).