Unscripted Series

Innovation Unscripted with Industrial Light & Magic

An event with professionals in the animation and special effects industry on April 27, 3 PM PT/6 PM ET.

April 6, 2021

This event features panelists Alberto Martinez Arce, Katherine Sanchez, and Andrea Zavala of Industrial Light & Magic in conversation about their collective experiences working in the visual effects and animation industry at one of the leading effects companies in the world! The conversation is moderated by Sarah Williams, a science journalist and Unscripted host.

This highlight is from Innovation Unscripted with Industrial Light & Magic. Katherine Sanchez, an Associate Pipeline Technical Director for ILM, answers students’ questions about the role of computer scientists and engineers in visual effects. Her advice for those wanting to pivot into the visual effects industry from these majors, “You’re still using the same parts of the brain, you’re still problem-solving. Definitely get some programming languages under your belt!”

This highlight is from Innovation Unscripted with Industrial Light & Magic. Here ILM panelists Alberto Martinez Arce and Katherine Sanchez answer questions posed by science journalist Sarah Williams. Can an individual interested in visual effects be self-taught, or is formal training the best path to learning the technical skills needed to make it in the movie magic industry?

about the speakers

Alberto Martinez Arce

Alberto Martinez Arce is a Senior 3D Character Animator at Industrial Light & Magic and has brought computer characters to life in movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers: The Last Knight, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Jurassic World, Avengers End Game, A Quiet Place and Bumblebee among others. He was nominated for an Annie Award in 2018 for his work on Kong Skull Island and he has given talks and workshops to students in different Universities and events in Mexico.

Originally from Mexico City, he got a degree in Graphic Design, where he learned the basics of animation. Then he went on to work in a video game studio and an animated movie in Guadalajara, Mexico, while he continued to learn at the online school: Animation Mentor before joining Industrial Light & Magic in 2013.

As a Sr. Animator, he closely works with the Movie Director and the Animation Supervisor to create believable performances using computer-generated characters. Making the digital humans, creatures, vehicles, and robots move and interact with each other or real-life actors on the screen.

Katherine Sanchez

Katherine Sanchez joined Industrial Light & Magic as an Associate Pipeline Technical Director in September 2019. Since then, she has worked on multiple commercials leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, followed by the family adventure film Finding Ohana, Star Wars: Squadrons – “Hunted” CG Short, and Marvel’s soon to be released Black Widow. She is currently working on the Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder.

She previously worked at Lucasfilm Animation as a Technical Assistant on the Emmy nominated show Star Wars Resistance, and on some of the earlier episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which premiers May 4th, 2021, where she provided support for their 3D story department as well as helped write and support tools needed for their pipeline.

She graduated in 2017 from Cogswell Polytechnical College with a B.S. in Digital Arts Engineering and specialized in Rigging, VFX, and Tools Programming.

Andrea Zavala

Andrea Zavala is a Public Relations Coordinator at Industrial Light & Magic. In her role, she supports internal and external communications for ILM as well as PR-related initiatives for Skywalker Sound. Additionally, she coordinates all aspects and ensures the success of internal and external events including, but not limited to, Lucasfilm’s Annual Sidewalk Chalk Art competition, the Filmmaker Speaker Series program, and award-related screenings, often partnering with publicity, Lucasfilm Development or ILM Marketing to execute.

She also plays an integral role in Lucasfilm and ILM’s diversity and inclusion initiatives as a Project Lead for the San Francisco studio’s Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, PR Partner to Circuit, an employee resource group for women and gender non-conforming individuals in STEAM, and member of ACCESS:VFX, a global, non-profit focused on pursing and encouraging diversity and opportunity in visual effects.

Andrea’s career in media began at CBS2/KCAL9 News Los Angeles as an intern in the Community Relations/Public Affairs department. Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Andrea was an Associate Account Executive at B/HI, an entertainment public relations agency in West Los Angeles, leading various campaigns for DC Entertainment, Universal Consumer Products, Fandango, and CBS Home Entertainment, among others. Andrea grew up in Southern California and graduated from California State University, Fullerton’s College of Communications where she studied Film and Public Relations.

Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams writes about science and medicine for publications and institutions around the world. She studied biochemistry at Johns Hopkins University before attending the graduate program in science communication at UC Santa Cruz and has been a freelance journalist for more than a decade. Her work has previously appeared in Science, Nature Medicine, Science News, and the L.A. Times, among many places. She currently focuses on institutional work, writing press releases, magazine articles, and website content for high-profile clients including the Salk Institute, Gladstone Institute, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Public Library of Science, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, UC San Francisco, and UCLA. She has written about everything from astronomy and physics to animal behavior but has a soft spot for stories at the intersection of technology, biology, and medicine. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons but– as a military spouse– moves frequently!


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