Hi everybody, I am Lanli Su, your 2017 Rookies winner in the Photography category. I am currently freelancing with a team of elite designers on a Christian Dior Campaign as their Lead FX Artist, all while finishing up my third and final year at Gnomon School of VFX.

I have always been afraid to showcase my work. If it weren’t for my friends, I would have never applied and won. I am grateful for all that happened because The Rookies has opened many doors for me in the industry and has continuingly helped grow my career perspective.

When asked to make this video, I was unsure of what story to share that would be beneficial for other students because I didn’t know what role photography played in a CG-centric community. In terms of getting a job/internship, photography doesn’t have a direct pipeline connection like games, fx, environment, etc.

But looking back half a year later, I am able to pinpoint all the unexpected opportunities and exciting adventures that The Rookies has given me. It gave me a chance to showcase my art directing abilities where otherwise it would have taken longer to do with 3D since that learning curve is much steeper. Because of The Rookies, I got to establish myself as an artist with strong design sensibilities rather than just someone who can do 3D. So with Dior, I have the freedom to design, pitch and execute all of my own concepts. I get offers to do high profile photo shoots and DP jobs. The Rookies also jump-started my reputation at school and made me become the person that others seek for lighting and storytelling.

The Rookies was a place that gave a voice to my name. It gave me the opportunity to connect and collaborate with passionate artists around the world.

To do work that I love while not losing my individual voice and style in working production is a dream come true. I think the most successful artists know their personal brand and how to market themselves. The Rookies was a place that gave a voice to my name. It gave me the opportunity to connect and collaborate with passionate artists around the world. It gave me a community to safely grow with.

I understand what it’s like to be intimidated or afraid as a student. But a friend once told me that if you’re comfortable then it means you stopped growing. I think the best thing any artist can learn is how to be courageous, to risk ridicule and to constantly put yourself out there, and to have the grit to bounce back everytime you fail. So if you’re thinking about whether to apply for The Rookies or not this year, I want to give you the reassurance that anything involved with The Rookies is one exciting journey.

I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to seeing all of your creative entries.