As a child, Steven Benjamin dreamed of working in the movie industry and now, at the age of 22, he has been involved with three Academy Award-nominated films.
Benjamin, a 2008 graduate of North Augusta High School, worked on visual effects teams with Lola VFX on the Life of Pi and with Luma Pictures on The Avengers and Prometheus.
“It’s still very surreal,” said Benjamin, who recently began working with Eden FX as a computer graphic generalist.
Working with visual effects allows him to combine two loves: movies and computer graphics.
“I always had a passion for movies and an interest in working with movies,” he said. “When I was around 10, I got more into computers. I started seeing more (computer graphics) in films, and figured I could combine both.”
He would test out different programs to create his own projects, he said.
“I was always trying to do something to get into this field and better my own skills,” he said.
After graduating from North Augusta High, he attended Full Sail University and received a degree in picture animation in 2010.
The first movie he worked on was The Avengers.
“That was phenomenal!” said Benjamin who now lives in California. “I couldn’t begin to describe it. I was happy to be working on a feature film finally. To see it do so well, it means more than anything I could ever imagine.”
It’s also exciting for his family to see him live out his dreams, he said, adding that growing up, he would tell people that he was moving to Hollywood when he got older.
“My family always has my back,” he said. “All of them have been very supportive and ecstatic for me.”
His message for youth: follow your dreams.
“There were many obstacles but it’s all about sticking to it,” he said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it…. Pursue your dreams, pursue what makes you happy. Grab hold and let it lead you.”
Benjamin’s family members include his mother Monica, father Russell, stepmother Shannon and siblings Austin, Colton and Amanda.
The Oscars will be broadcasted 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC networks.