Starting Wars & Making Monsters | Webster University

Starting Wars & Making Monsters

Courtesy of MPC Webster University alumna Kristin Pratt helps create new worlds through visual effects

ST. LOUIS (APRIL 22, 2015) – Fans of the popular HBO drama “Game of Thrones” know the show doesn’t skimp on the budget and the season 4 episode “The Watchers on the Wall” was the show’s most expensive to date. For close to an hour, viewers were captivated by a fierce battle fought between hundreds of thousands of soldiers, giants and wooly mammoths. One of the magicians behind the battle, Kristin Pratt, is a 2010 graduate of Webster University’s School of Communications.

“Game of Thrones really gave me an opportunity to spread my wings in a way I hadn't before,” said Pratt “There was such a fast turn around and it all had to be very high quality work. Couple that with the layout team just being myself and my lead and you have a recipe for an intense few months. There were a lot of late nights where I was tackling shots and throwing ideas at the wall just to see what sticks. My lead and VFX supervisor were really great at not only facilitating me but also letting me take the reigns on senior level work. I have them to thank for really pushing me to the next level on that project.”

In the five years since Pratt received a degree in Animation from Webster she has worked on not only that episode of Game of Thrones but also Hollywood blockbusters such as Maleficent, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lone Ranger, Kristin Prattwhich received an Academy Award nomination for visual effects.

Pratt will be discussing her visual effects experiences as the keynote speaker for Kinematifest 8, Webster University’s International Animation and Interactive Media festival. She will talk about her career and focusing on computer graphic (CG) layout work for the 2014 blockbuster Godzilla.

“Layout is this great mix of technical and creative,” said Pratt. “Integrating what was filmed on set with our CG elements isn't always straightforward and there is a lot of troubleshooting that we do to make sure things fit together. Similarly with something that is full CG, you still have to find ways to ground that shot in reality.”

Pratt credits her education at Webster along with her post-graduate education at Vancouver Film School (VFS) with helping her on the successful start to her career.

“The September that I graduated from VFS I also found work as a runner at Moving Picture Company (MPC),” said Pratt. “That first job was the catalyst to my career in Vancouver and it was only supposed to be a two week temporary employment. I was just covering for someone who was going on holiday, but I took the opportunity as a challenge to see what I could do and if I could make an impression along the way. Five months later I was not only still employed at MPC, but I was able to transition into their layout department.”

Pratt recently moved from MPC to working as a Layout Technical Director at Double Negative in Vancouver.

Being invited as the keynote speaker has given Pratt an opportunity to reflect on her time at Webster.

“Each class and mentor at Webster shaped me in different says,” she said. “Josh DiCarlo’s classes were critical in the first stages of what would be my career. Kristen DiFate really developed my eye for good design, Larry Baden impacted my character more than anything else and Michael Long kept me passionate about animation.”

As the date for Kinematifest draws closer, Pratt is thinking about what advice she will give student who attend the event.

“Probably the biggest thing a student can do starts on their first day at Webster—just show up and be present,” she said. “Be present and aware in each class. Be fully involved in each assignment. Ask questions and challenge ideas. College is more than just good grades, there is so much opportunity flowing through the halls—grab it.  Make those four years count. I promise you, if you have that mentality from day one, you will only benefit.”

Kristin Pratt will speak at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in Sverdrup 123.  To see the full schedule of Kinematifest events and speakers, visit the event website.

o view more of Kristin's work, view her reel.