Gavin Camp is living a dream. The 30-year-old IUS alumnus works for The Mill, an industry-leading visual effects company based in London, New York and Los Angeles.
Camp recently won The First Boards Award for “Murals” and “Rock Band,” two commercials for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The awards have been distributed for the past decade, and they give recognition to the best new talent in the advertising industry.
While studying at IU Southeast, Camp majored in journalism with a concentration in advertising.
Camp’s creative signature can still be seen on the walls at IU Southeast. He is responsible for the designs on the posters asking students to consider a major in advertising.
Vijay Krishna, professor of advertising, said he worked with Camp to develop a strategy and message for the posters.
“It got everybody’s attention,” Krishna said. “Some of them didn’t like it, but it got them talking.”
According to Krishna, the message strategy was based on the idea to get people talking about the advertising program.
“Gavin is very good with strategy, visual effects and people,” Krishna said. “His goal is eventually to get an Oscar, and I’m sure he will get it one day.”
Camp started going to IU Southeast after he and his wife had to relocate to Louisville from San Francisco for work.
“I thought, while I’m here, I’m gonna go to school and when I graduate we will leave and go somewhere else,” Camp said.
Camp said he was given a lot of creative freedom by his professors while at IU Southeast.
In addition to learning marketing strategy from Krishna, Camp studied visual communication with Ron Allman, associate professor of journalism.
“Ron and Vijay would give me a task and let me run with it, which was helpful because it let me explore what I know how to do,” Camp said.
After college, Camp worked as a freelance production artist with The Vimarc Group, an advertising company based in Louisville, and as a freelance videographer for the local CW television channel.
At the CW channel, Camp networked and got information about a job opening for a runner at The Mill.
“A runner is the lowest position,” Camp said. “You’re running errands, getting coffee, answering phones and cleaning, but it’s how you get into the business out here.”
Camp said “running” was like an apprenticeship.
“They see how you handle situations and interact with people, and then they decide to move you forward or let you go,” Camp said.
“You’re making impressions the whole time; they’re looking at everything you do and asking how it will translate when you get advanced,” Camp said.
Camp was a Runner for five months. After the five months, he was moved into an art support position.
“Art support is basically prepping titles, prepping logos and essentially all the things that go into a commercial that are typed,” Camp said.
While doing art support, Camp said he learned how to work with different computer programs. This new knowledge helped him segue way into designing the visual effects for his award-winning commercials.
“The agency said they wanted the PlayStation 3 commercial to be on the wall, but they didn’t know what that would look like,” Camp said.
“They came to me with what they wanted, and I made some mock-ups,” Camp said.
“They picked one of my mock-ups and used it with almost no change to the original idea.”
Halfway through the job, Camp was promoted to his current position of full-time flame assistant.
The flame is a high-end graphics compositing machine used by visual effects artists.
Camp said despite his success, the journey there was difficult.
“This was not an easy job to get into at all,” Camp said.
“Being a runner was one of the hardest jobs I’ve had in my entire life, and there were times when I didn’t think I was going to finish, but the end result was worth it.”
By MICHAEL MARCELL