Are we there yet? Flame artist Margaret Yang on teaching those willing to learn

Every week, we ask industry insiders across all job levels and titles to share personal stories about equality, diversity and inclusion in adland. We know we're not there yet, but we want to document the highs and lows as the industry slowly transforms for the better.

Margaret Yang
Flame artist

Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem.

I always stay to the end of movie credits, especially when there's obvious VFX work, and when I read all of the names of the artists, the majority of them seem to have male names.

My favorite TV show with really interesting VFX is a male supervisor and generally when I read interviews or watch FX reels, the leads are male. Even recently, while trying to hire a flame assistant, I believe all our applicants were male. So, I feel a bit insulated from what I know is a profession that doesn't have an excess of female leads.

How about something that proves we’re making progress?

Having learned flame here at PS260, it never struck me as any more or less male dominated than the rest of the industry. We often work with female flame freelancers and when I first started, there was a female flame artist here. I'm kind of in my own little bubble where I personally don't feel like I'm doing something rare, which is great.

What else needs to be done to get there?

I feel like if people took the time to help grow those who may not have gone to school for FX, but are interested in it and are willing to work to learn, they would find a more diverse group of people to hire. And I think to change things, it takes creative thinking and a willingness to not just do the same thing over and over again.


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