Yes, English teacher and Pineau-Clifford Awardee Mrs. Vivian Ocampo has her very own award-winning “3D special effect”. No, it’s not from any computer, but one she nurtured from birth. It’s actually her son, 3D effects artist Tony Ocampo, who bagged the Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for his Trojan horse in the 2004 mini-series Helen of Troy, in the models and miniatures category.
This proud mother shares her son’s success story. In hindsight, there were early signs that Tony would do well in his career. While in Kobe, Tony’s nursery teacher told Mrs. Ocampo, “Tony no atama wa ii desu.” (Tony has a brilliant mind.) , an observation echoed by the Principal of Stella Maris International School where he studied Prep.
In Kuwait, as a high school student, Tony was recognized by his class adviser and art teacher as having raised the standard of art in the school with his high-quality projects. “But the most prophetic,” she says, “was when an American friend said, after surveying Tony’s sketches, that his works were of superior quality - he could even work in places like Walt Disney!”
She was therefore surprised when Tony failed to enter UP in the course of his choice. Undaunted, he shifted to Fine Arts which would eventually lead him to a career in computer visual arts. It’s undoubtedly this mix of talent and determination in Tony that earned him success.
After making his way up in GMA-7, he set his sights to work in a top-flight visual effects house, which meant relocating his family to the US. On his last night, Mrs. Ocampo, on impulse, told her son that God’s message to them as they journey into an uncertain future was, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future!” (Jeremiah 29:11)
From a mother’s hopeful words to a dream fulfilled. After intensive search, Tony landed a job at Stargate Digital, a broadcast visual effects studio working for programs like CS, ER, Las Vegas, and the current hit, Heroes. Today, he co-leads the 3D team and supervises the work of nine creative artists. There will surely be more awards for him in the future; but for Mrs. Ocampo, there can be no greater reward than that her son is living his dream.