Going Pro: Staff designer Duarte Elvas
Issue: September 1, 2014

Going Pro: Staff designer Duarte Elvas

Duarte Elvas earned his BFA in Film and Television from Savannah College of Art and Design (www.scad.edu) in 2003 and began his career in the broadcast industry. As his interests led him in the direction of compositing and motion graphics, he attempted to learn new techniques by doing his own research and experimenting, but ultimately realized he needed a more formal plan to achieve his ambitious goals. As a result, in 2012 he enrolled in SCAD-Atlanta's Motion Media Design MFA program. Not only did this give him the in-depth immersion that allowed him to develop his skills and take them to a high level, it also introduced him to his future employer.

"I first heard of Sarofsky (www.sarofsky.com) during a motion graphics conference in 2011 where Erin Sarofsky presented her work and talked to the students about her career," he says. "I was very impressed and really enjoyed Erin’s fun and approachable presentation. At that time, working at a studio like Sarofsky seemed so far-fetched that I didn’t even go introduce myself."

According to Elvas, SCAD's MFA program sharpened his conceptual and creative skills, solidified his understanding of technical applications, and emphasized the need to be well rounded across all creative disciplines. Following those confidence-building experiences, when Sarofsky visited the Motion Media Design program, he jumped at the chance to speak with her. 

"We discussed the program, but it was also great to hear Erin speak about her company, her process, and design in general. I learned so much in those few minutes that I decided to write her a note with a link to my work and apply for an internship at Sarofsky."

Immediately upon completion of his coursework, Elvas was awarded the internship, which brought him to Chicago. By his account, during his very first week, he was invited to be part of a pitch for the ABC series Trophy Wife, where his storyboards were actually presented as part of the pitch. During his internship, he also contributed to motion tests and storyboards for numerous other entertainment and advertising projects.

"When my internship was coming to an end, I was offered a full-time position with the company as a designer," Elvas proudly reports. "Around that time, I was working on the main title sequence for Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This is the first project I worked on that was broadcast on national television. It was a really exciting moment for me professionally and personally; I really enjoyed watching the show, too!"

Since becoming a full-time staff designer for Sarofsky, Elvas has worked on commercials for CenturyLink, Verizon and Michelob; main title sequences for several television series; and the main titles for Marvel's blockbusters Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. It's no surprise that Elvas feels that his career is now completely on the right track. "Working at Sarofsky has been an amazing, life-changing experience. The projects are fascinating and the whole team is beyond talented."