Kincardine-born visual effects artist up for Emmy Award

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By Barb McKay

A Kincardine native is living the Hollywood dream after being nominated for one of film and television’s highest honours.

Greg Astles, a senior digital compositor who grew up in Kincardine, has been recognized with an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Visual Effects category for his work on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful as a compositing supervisor. This is his first Emmy nomination.

Astles, who lives in Toronto and works for Mr. X Inc., learned last week that his team is up for the award for an episode titled And They Were Enemies.

“I was pretty excited,” he told The Independent in a phone interview last Wednesday. “It’s a big deal.”

The visual effects artist graduated from Kincardine and District Secondary School in 1994 and went on to pursue a career in visual effects after graduating from Seneca College in 1997.

“I was always big into art in high school and good with computers, and it seemed like a good way to combine the two,” he said.

Astles started his career working on projects for smaller studios and moved up though the industry to where he is now, working at a senior level on major film and television productions. He said compositing is the final step in the visual effects process.

“You are controlling the quality of the work. It can be long hours, but it can be very rewarding.”

Aside from Penny Dreadful, which he has been involved with since the first season, Astles has worked on the hit television show Vikings and numerous major films, including Babel, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Resident Evil and Hairspray. He has worked under Oscar-winning director AlejandroIñárritu and director/producer Doug Liman.

“I enjoy the creative aspect of it,” he said. “It’s fun to bring a director’s vision to life.”

Astles will attend the Emmy ceremony in Los Angeles on Sept.10. Technical awards will be presented one week prior to the televised Emmy ceremony. Astles said he has never been to L.A. before and is looking forward to meeting fellow visual effects artists.

“It will be quite interesting to see what other people have been working on.”

Astles said he has some interesting projects, both film and television, coming down the pipeline that he is looking forward to working on but won’t reveal what they are due to non-disclosure agreements. He said he plans to continue to keep an eye out for exciting work to come across his desk in Toronto, where he can remain close to his wife Sneha and daughers – four-year-old Lillian and two-year-old Evelyn.

“Once you get to a certain level you can work on any production you like, but you have to be willing to travel,” he said. “I prefer to stay close to Toronto.”

Working close to home also allows Astles to return home to Kincardine monthly during the summer to visit family.