Starting out his career as a freelance visual effects artist in boutique companies around Los Angeles, California, Adedunmola (Ade) Olanrewaju has lived quite the professional journey.
Early in his career, he had the chance to work on the popular series Game of Thrones, a couple of Marvel movies and a childhood favorite, Terminator. He loves that his hobby has become his job, but ultimately his goal is to become a filmmaker—which brought him to the Master in Creative Direction, Content & Branding.
Describing his journey to IE University as a funny story, Ade explains that he found out about the program via an email from his dad. At the time, Ade was working on a film and filed the email away for a rainy day. “But I got to a point where I thought about the fact that I got into visual effects to be a filmmaker, and instead I was just becoming a visual effects artist. So as I was trying to figure out how to take the next step toward filmmaking, I found the email from a year ago.” Ade checked out the program’s offerings and felt it was tailor-made for his needs. He sent in an application, and the rest is history.
From the classroom to the visual effects studio
Ade shares that his professional life since graduation has been a turbulent, but interesting ride. Immediately following graduation, he landed a job as an editor at a small commercial house that had an in-house art department. And thanks to the connections he made at IE University, he and three of his Master in Creative Direction, Content & Branding classmates started working on a project. “We learned the power of being entrepreneurs in the program, and that’s the direction we also wanted to take our lives. We created a company called BLAKBULB, and started conceptualizing a short film.”
They worked on the film from across the world, with one member in Miami, one in Brazil, another between London and Madrid, and Ade in LA.
The team decided to shoot their film in Madrid with the help of professors and other students from the program. “We all flew to Madrid and spent a week shooting it. We got into a couple of festivals, we won Best Directing, and we’ve pitched to a couple of big studios; we’re still pushing to see what happens with it.” A few of Ade’s friends came to Madrid to help with the shoot, and through mutual connections, Ade was able to meet the CEO of LumaForge, which is now owned by Other World Computing (OWC). Thanks to this connection, the team was able to use the high-end editing systems and Ade had the opportunity to learn a new skill set and land a job. “I seamlessly fell into it, which was due to my experience at IE University because I took so many different classes and had to learn so many different new software programs.”
Then the global pandemic took its effect and Ade, like many others, was left without a job because the company was sold. During that time, he focused on finishing the film—then an opportunity arose and he landed a role with Pipeworks Studios as the senior visual effects artist.
“I had never worked in video games before, and I wasn’t really planning on going into video games, but the opportunity came about in an unexpected way and I took the job.”
IE University as a gateway to success
Continuing down his journey of learning, Ade is thrilled to work at Pipeworks Studios. “The studio gave me enough time to transition my skills from filmmaking into gaming, and that’s where I’ve been now; doing that and other things that I love in life because the job really gives me the space and the independence to be able to work my hours and then take the rest of my day to follow my dreams.”
IE University was a large part of his job acquisition. He credits the LinkedIn classes and career workshops for helping him leverage his skills and send out targeted applications. The people that he met and the connections he’s made along the way are some of his biggest takeaways from the program. “I’m currently working in a group with people from so many different backgrounds. And that’s exactly what I did at IE University—and it was pretty special in the essence that our program group was 90% women. So that was a brand-new experience that was so enriching; everybody was from a different culture, from a different country, and had their own different way of thinking.”
Ade is excited about the future of AI and the sector. He currently isn’t using the AI tools on the market, but thanks to the mindset instilled in him at IE University, he’s ready to see where these tools can take his work. This positive mindset is something he suggests future students place at the forefront. “I would suggest cultivating a positive mindset. I think that’s the biggest skill for any creative person, especially with all these different tools.”
“Besides, everything we see AI generating ultimately came from somebody else’s mind.”
At Pipeworks, he’s currently working in a co-development role on a project with Activision, one of the biggest gaming companies out there. The Master in Creative Direction, Content & Branding helps set him apart from his colleagues at the studio because he’s been through all the various processes during his hands-on classes and extensive group work. “The human connection that I was able to make at IE University has helped me in my role, as well as the chance to discover a new culture and see that there’s a different way to live life from the way I’ve always known.”