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Mindy Kaur Bilkhu: Freelancer of the Month

You are part of TCC Rising Talent program, and you’re already a Freelancer of The Month – Congratulations! Could you please share how you initially discovered the program and what motivated you to apply?

I went to the motion department at ITV a few years ago and I met a great person there would tell me about The Crewing Company, he mentioned that whenever they need freelancers, this is the first place they look. I went to the website and saw the Rising Talent programme, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it, however it wasn’t open, so I just applied to be on the books regularly. Not being particularly experienced at this time, I understandably got rejected and waited for the Rising Talent scheme to open the next cohort. As soon as it did, I made sure I got my application in!


The programme started in summer 2023. What aspects do you consider most beneficial for your career development?

The whole programme has been a really great experience and there have been many things that have been super beneficial like the masterclasses and the meetups but for me, having a mentor has been the best thing. The Crewing Company matched me with someone especially tailored to me and through regular sessions, I was able to learn how to develop and grow not only in my chosen sector but also as a freelancer in general.


Among the projects you’ve been involved in, which one stands out as your favorite and why?

My favourite experience was when I was a Junior CG Generalist at Blinkink, working on an anthology for Disney+ called Kizazi Moto. I have an affinity for children’s media and I loved the nature of the work in that everything was made from the ground up and I also learnt how to use Maya on the job. I also really enjoyed going into the studio and mingling with the super talented team!


What aspects of 3D creation do you find most exciting?

I come from a technical background so when I was learning 3D, I took a real shine to modeling. I enjoy starting off with a 2D concept art or reference image and then making the model match. I enjoy making assets from scratch and enjoy the process of starting with a grey, primitive shape and turning it into a complex asset with a cool texture.


As a creative professional, what emerging trends or technologies in the field of 3D animation and design are you most excited about exploring further?

In terms of trends, I’ve seen a number of films experimenting with render styles in 3D, so that the final output has the more artistic feel of 2D but maintains the process of 3D. I’ve always loved the way 2D animation looks, being unable to draw this wasn’t something I thought I’d ever get to play around with. I’m excited for when this technology becomes more accessible to the public as I really enjoy creating different things with a variety of styles.


In your experience, what has been the most challenging aspect of holding a junior position?

It’s been my experience that most places are really kind and welcoming to juniors, especially The Crewing Company. However, in some places, particularly in the advertising industry, I’ve been subjected to some hostile behaviour, being taken advantage of and being underpaid. Sometimes it can feel like a real challenge to find a company that respects you but I’m lucky to have met and worked with a lot of great people and should I ever be in a situation like that again, I know the grass will definitely be greener on the other side and that would give me the confidence to make the right decision for me.


During your internship at Blinkink, you contributed to the Disney+ series Kizazi Moto. What aspect of this project did you find most enjoyable or fulfilling?

When I got to Blinkink, they were super generous and accommodating with what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to improve. I said that I was really interested in 3D modeling, so this is what I did for the majority of the contract. I learnt a lot of techniques and really developed my skills. It’s really hard to pick out one thing I found most enjoyable as the entire experience was utterly fantastic. It was extremely fulfilling to watch the short in the end on Disney+ and a really special moment to see my name appear in the credits!


Mindy Kaur Bilkhu, Disney +, 2022.


With aspirations to work in Children’s TV, what aspects of creating content for a young audience do you find most exciting?

I’ve always liked the look and feel of children’s animation and a lot of my favourite films and TV show date back to when I was a kid. Because we watch this content at an early age, it has a really magical and special feeling of nostalgia when we watch it as adults and I’d really like to have a hand in that for future generations. I also really admire media that’s able to simultaneously educate and entertain and I’m fascinated by studios that are able to pull this off.


Reflecting on your journey so far, what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about yourself in the field of 3D animation and design?

When I was first learning 3D, I used to work on projects nearly every day, trying to refine my skills and learn new software. Although I’m not strictly a beginner anymore, I’ve learnt that keeping this mentality is key. In an ever-evolving industry, there are always new things to learn and studios will often be asking for these new skills. It can be hard to find the time to learn whilst holding down a full time job, but it’s definitely something I consider important.


Who among 3D artists serves as your greatest inspiration? Or is there an animation that continually influences your work?

I wouldn’t say there’s one artist that is really a sole inspiration to me but I’m definitely inspired by many people in the industry. I’m always going to festivals like BFI events, MAF, Rendr, and I’m excited to be going to Annecy festival in France this year, I enjoy being exposed to lots of styles and seeing what new things people are doing. In terms of an animation inspiration, I always look to older Walt Disney media, not only for the timeless graphics but also because he serves as an entrepreneurial inspiration too.


Freelancing can sometimes be isolating, especially when working from home. Could you describe your typical workday and what motivates you to stay productive?

With my freelance bookings, I’ve always worked from home. I actually really enjoy it, I tend to get a lot of work done and I make sure I stay motivated and productive by ensuring I’m really comfortable and entertained. 


What would be your ultimate dream job?

Currently, I’d love to gain another position as a Junior CG Generalist or a Modeler in an animation studio that makes a range of content as well as some media for children. Eventually I want to start my own studio with my best friend, Nico Bacialli, who is a great Cinematic Artist and who I’m always travelling to animation events with. At the moment we’re working on a 3D animated short called Jeff with a lot of other talented people and we’re excited and hopeful to see where it goes.


To find out more about Mindy Kaur Bilkhu and other freelance talent, please contact a member of the team.