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HomeNewsMr. Wolf Snaps Up Recent Exceptional Minds Graduate

Mr. Wolf Snaps Up Recent Exceptional Minds Graduate


Nicky Benoist
Nicky Benoist
Culver City-based VFX house Mr. Wolf recently added Exceptional Minds graduate Nicky Benoist to its boutique operation after a brief internship. Exceptional Minds is a vocational school and working studio that provides autistic students with training and experience in the visual arts, including live-action CG integration, 3D animation, story development and marker tracking removal and compositing.

The studio hired Benoist as assistant to the creative director in June, a day after the 26-year-old graduated from Exceptional Minds’ comprehensive three-year vocational program. He provides greenscreen comps, cleanup and graphic additions on visual effects shots. His most recent project is Nickelodeon‘s TV series, 100 Things to Do Before High School.

“We’re a small, boutique studio. Every person here counts,” said Mike Pryor, Mr. Wolf EP. “We saw what Nicky could do and, in fact, we are looking into expanding our business because of his skillset.”

“I finally feel like I’m starting my life,” said Benoist, who received his associate’s degree in computer drafting and design from ITT Technical Institute prior to enrolling in Exceptional Minds, but was unable to take the next step into employment due to a lack of self-confidence and interviewing skills.

“He has been contributing since Day One. We have yet to throw him something he can’t handle,” said Pryor.

Exceptional Minds has a close working relationship with the visual effects industry. Its graduate artists have contributed visual effects and title work on movies such as Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Game of Thrones.

“Rather than focus on perceived disabilities, we’re bringing out the abilities in these individuals,” said Susan Zwerman, visual effects executive producer and job developer for Exceptional Minds. “That is what studios of all sizes are drawn to, the ability of our graduates to produce exceptional work.”

The school’s job development program provides graduates with the additional support needed to attain and sustain employment, as well as ongoing support to the companies that hire them.

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