Maxyme (Max) Paiement
Team leader for graphics, multimedia and virtual sets, TFO
I was born/grew up in: Oshawa, ON, Canada
I now live in: Oshawa, ON, Canada
I completed my training/education at: Durham College, 3D Animation Effects (3 year program)
Do you self-identify as Indigenous?
Yes. While I’m not registered with a First Nations group, I have indigenous ancestors on my father’s side.
Describe what you do at work.
TFO is a Canadian French language educational television channel and media organization serving the province of Ontario. So everything I do is related to producing television, videos, or graphics used in videos. As the team leader for graphics and multimedia, my day-to-day activities fall into two main categories. The first is meeting with clients and team members. Those clients can be from outside TVO or they may be from inside. For clients we have to listen to what they are thinking they would like produced, when they need the product completed, and if they have any special needs. For my team, it is mainly when we have projects in place to see what is coming up, to make sure we can meet the timelines we set, or to see if we need to develop any special 3D or concept art. Half my team are graphic designers and the other half are 3D modelers so I have to coordinate the work they do to make sure our production schedule is on time.
In the television business, you are using STEM skills and knowledge all the time. For example, we are using a brand new technology that is based on video game engine to create graphics in studio. Camera trackers, info coming from the camera lens to ensure the system works well. We use specialized software and hardware in the production of our content. One of the more interesting pieces of technology we are using are the camera trackers. A camera tracker is like a second eye on the camera to record movement. It keeps track of where the camera is recording at all times. This is important because we are shooting live with a green screen. A green screen is a common tool used in video production and it allows you to put computer created graphics in behind the actors (e.g., an erupting volcano, or an outdoor scene). But when you move the actual camera the image or graphics that will appear on the green screen have to match what the real camera is doing. We are the only production team using this technology in Canada. In fact, we were the first in the world to do this.
How does your job affect peoples lives?
We produce French educational content for kids. It’s great to know that kids are learning from what we are producing. It not just entertainment. And it is fun to see my son at home watch the shows I am creating.
What motivates you in your career?
As I said earlier, we are always having to learn new technology. So my work is always interesting. The new technology helps me become more creative. It’s great that I can follow trends in new technologies to expand my creativity.
Describe your career path to this career.
Ever since I saw the first Jurassic Park movie, I wanted to work in this industry. Since then other movies such as The Matrix and Avatar have continued to fuel my interest in this industry. I’ve always played video games too (still do!). As I would be playing them I was constantly looking at the neat things they do and wondering how they did it.
In high school, I wanted to go into 3D animations but I wasn’t sure which area. So I completed a 3D animation program at Durham College. While I had the option of doing a Co-op program, I didn’t go that route. Instead, I opted to do more projects. This allowed me to focus on things I was interested in becoming better at. In my third year, I took courses on gaming.
When I graduated from college my first job was as a videographer and editor. I was working on documentaries and commercials. I did this for 5 years before getting a job at TFO. Here I worked on the broadcast side of things and got to learn about other parts of the industry. Later I got to work on the 3D and graphic design parts of the production. Switching from documentaries to 3D was a big change in what I did. But when the team leader job came up I had a lot of experience at many levels of the industry
One of the biggest challenges in this industry is that the technology changes very quickly. It used to be that the technology you would use would change about every 5 years. Now it is changing pretty much every year. That makes it difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest. Also, as the high production technology gets more accessible to more people, that leads to lots of competition Job security in this industry means you have to keep your skill set up so you don’t get left behind.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
To relax I like to listen to music. I also like to spend time with my family, keep up with my reading on gaming and film industry and play video games.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Keep practicing. As cliché as it sounds, practice makes perfect. If you keep at it you will develop a high skill set. If you are interested in it, it won’t seem like you are doing work as you practice.