Markus Kurtz – Gleisdorf, Linz, Los Angeles

Yesterday students in Hagenberg had the opportunity to listen to Markus Kurtz, Computer Graphics Supervisor at Rythm & Hues. Markus did some impressive stuff in the past, including work for Titanic (1997), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and Superman Returns (2006).

In his first speech, he highlighted key points in his career. He started with University in Linz, and was offered the chance to participate in an experimental Computer Graphics student task force. Markus agreed, the years went on and so the task force volunteers did. Starting with about 20 people, only a hand full was left. But Markus was already into the CG stuff, and finished his Diploma. Subsequently, he was offered several jobs, and soon moved to Los Angeles.

In the second part of his first speech, Markus pointed out several issues around movie making in Hollywood. Obviously, it’s really hard to get hired as a Script Writer. There are a lot of Script Writers, and almost a half is unemployed. It’s hard to get your own script to a person, who decides. Moreover, the script itself has to have a certain weight and amount of pages, otherwise there’s a good chance that Managers don’t even read your script, they just say “too heavy” and throw it into the trash can. The main film Studios in America are hold by only a few very large companies. That’s the reason why all Hollywood films look and taste almost the same, it’s the same person deciding.

After a break, in the second speech Markus talked about the general workflow in a CG studio. He highlighted each phase, which was kind of linear connected to other phases. Nevertheless, in the end Markus pointed out, that in fact there’s no linear process anymore. It’s all crossed over, every phase has to react when another changes. Therefore, digital asset management is an important thing to have.

Both speeches were really interesting, the lecture hall was filled with students. To descibe my impression, I would say: Markus took every chance he was offered and which enabled him to personally and technically grow. He seems to be a great guy, high-flyer and still down to earth. Definitely a person to learn from.


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