From boxing to Batman: Enrico is living his creative dream

September 21, 2021

Enrico Leasa has been on quite a journey to become a visual effects artist at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). From the professional boxing rings of Western Sydney, to studies in primary school teaching Enrico eventually pursued his creative passion by studying animation at SAE Creative Institute, and is now living his dream at ILM working on projects like The Batman, and The Book of Boba Fett.
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From boxing to Batman: Enrico is living his creative dream

Enrico Leasa has been on quite a journey to become a visual effects artist at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). From the professional boxing rings of Western Sydney, to studies in primary school teaching Enrico eventually pursued his creative passion by studying animation at SAE Creative Institute, and is now living his dream at ILM working on projects like The Batman, and The Book of Boba Fett.

“I left SAE Sydney, and within six months, I got my first gig working on the musical film, Cats, at Mill Film as a Match Roto Animator and Tracking Artist – that was really my first foot in the door,” Enrico explains.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Enrico, as he missed the cut for a position as a Junior Artist at Animal Logic on Peter Rabbit 2 just before securing the role at Mill Film. “I think that was when I started to learn about the standard of work that’s expected for a large studio, and what you need to include in your showreel.”

One of Enrico’s other passions growing up was Muay Thai boxing, which he competed in professionally for seven years, winning the NSW LightWeight Title in 2016. That period he said gave him the foundational skills for where he is today. “Boxing taught me some good life lessons. It gave me the formula to always show up, and be disciplined in everything I do.”

After stints at Mill Film and later Fin Design, Enrico came across a Jedi Academy advertisement at ILM, and successfully went through two rounds of interviews to secure a role as a Layout Artist earlier this year. “I now do everything from camera tracking to animation, blocking, and set extension – it’s essentially the bread and butter of the department.”

ILM needs no introduction. As a division of Lucasfilm and owned by parent company Disney, the studio has been a part of some of Hollywood’s most iconic films including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Titanic and Harry Potter.

Enrico is now carving his own history at ILM, working on Warner Bros’ The Batman and Lucasfilm’s The Book of Boba Fett.

“I always had the dream of working for a large studio like ILM, Pixar or Dreamworks, so to actually be a part of these huge projects now is amazing.

“Having the opportunity to learn new skills everyday, and being pushed by colleagues you work with, in what you can achieve is really awesome.”

Going back to his time studying for a Bachelor of Animation at SAE Sydney, Enrico talks glowingly of his animation lecturer, Reza Sarkamari. “He was such a great teacher, I give Reza a lot of credit for what I’ve achieved. I have his phone number, so whenever I hit a career milestone, I make sure I shoot him a message.”

Fresh out of school, Enrico studied primary education at university. Looking back on that period now, he said that he would much rather teach something he’s passionate about. “Further down the track when I have a bit more experience under my belt, I’d love to teach animation like Reza.”

SAE General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan said that Enrico’s change in career isn’t uncommon for those that study at SAE. “66 per cent of our cohort are regarded as mature students; over 21 years old. Many of these people are like Enrico, and switch careers to pursue their creative passions, or are dedicated professionals that have been working in the industry for sometime and want to enhance their skill set,” Dr McMillan said.

And to those students who aren’t sure where they’re heading with their lives, Enrico gives some sound advice. “I would say just stick with it. Be proactive and do more than just the minimum; it’s that extra mile that keeps it interesting and will help you progress in your career.”

SAE is the place for creators and innovators; the leaders in creative media education across seven disciplines – animation, audio and music, creative industries, design, film, games, web and mobile. Find out more at sae.edu.au

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