It’s always hype-worthy when Marvel Studios drops a trailer for the latest buzzworthy addition to their record-breaking filmography. As one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2022, the surprise release of the first trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder was met by fans with elation.
But for Toronto Film School grad David Pynkoski, whose work as a texture artist is featured in the film, the experience of seeing that trailer for the first time hit a little closer to home.
“I cried, I cried. It was an overwhelmingly satisfying moment and the culmination of lots of hard work and collaboration,” said Pynkoski, who graduated from the Video Game Design & Animation program in 2020. “It’s the first time I have seen my work go from my work computer to being included in the final production, so it’s a very exciting time for me.”
In Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) has decided to take some time off from being a superhero and instead focus on finding inner peace. His plans are quickly thwarted when he must return to action to stop the villain Gorr the God Butcher (played by Christian Bale) from destroying all gods.
In the film’s trailer, there are several clips of Thor on a Viking boat, being pulled by two goats. Comic fans (and Norse historians) will recognize these goats as Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, two mythological beings with superpowers of their own, who can be summoned by Thor to help him traverse the realms of the universe.
The “Goat Boat”, as it’s being called, plays a major role in the film and it was Pynkoski’s job to bring the digital model of that boat to life. It’s an opportunity that was unexpected, he said, but one he worked hard for.
After finishing school right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pynkoski said he felt a lot of uncertainty about the future. Initially, he struggled to find opportunities in the gaming industry. However, the skills he developed at Toronto Film School enabled him to be nimble in the type of jobs he was applying for.
“I broadened the search to visual effects, because I thought it would actually be kind of cool to work on movies,” he said. “At first, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. But the more that I looked into it, the more I realized that the Venn diagram is quite overlapping.”
That adaptability paid off and soon enough Pynkoski was offered a position as a texture artist at the Montreal office of Method Studios, an award-winning VFX company with credits that include such high profile projects as The Eternals, Loki, and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick. It was at Method that Pynkoski worked on Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as some future projects that he has to keep under wraps.
“I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about those ones,” he said, laughing. “There are two other ones I’ve worked on that are definitely just as exciting, but I think I can’t share anything about them yet.”
What advice would he give to recent grads?
“Pick one discipline you want to do in the industry and figure out who’s good at it. Look at the credits of movies and see who are the people doing that role. Find them on LinkedIn and add them. Find them on Art Station; their names are there. Build up your portfolio and compare your work objectively to the top of the top. Keep working until it looks like that; keep trying until you’ve felt like you’ve done your best.”
Thor: Love and Thunder is the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be released July 8.