In response to an earlier blog post about what would people like to read or basically get out of this blog, I asked for Feedback/Suggestions. I’d like to start going over some of these little by little (let me know of additional ones if you’d like me to). Please note, these are only MY opinions on what I’ve noticed over the years:

  • Blake: So I guess that would be a good topic to discuss, about “making it” or about how to get your dream job.

This is a tough one to answer Blake. I found that “making it” often changes over the years. People have different priorities. I feel like I’ve always had my dream job (working on films, period) and for a long while “making it” for me was to make it to ILM/Pixar and work in the movies. That I have always felt and feel pretty lucky about it. So, I’m not an expert and many other peopel probably will have additional suggestions or their takes on what “making it” implies. In my opinion, I think it depends on many factors I think. Some of these I’ve found to be:

  • Experience: working on other projects will always help you, especially from the point of view of working with Directors and different crews.
  • Patience: be easy with yourself…sometimes you can’t get what you want overnight. And that’s ok. Enjoy the ride and don’t pressure yourself. I’ve heard of people that want to be at a certain studio within a year. That kind of pressure will drive you nuts…and honestly, will kill any fun you can get out of what we do. Take it little by little.
  • People: Helps to know people. They will be the key people that will inform your future co-workers regardless of where you go, how you are to work with. It helped me to know people that not only were very generous and helpful, but that also adviced me tremendously as to how to go about things.
  • Motivation: I’ve said this in the past. Just because you may get rejected once, that doesn’t mean you have to throw the towel. Give it time, and try again…try as many times. But remember to keep learning in between. Don’t send the same reel you sent a year earlier just with one additional animation or two, to places because animators or recruiters won’t see much progress if that’s all you added.
  • Persistence: If you want something, keep that goal in your mind. You can also be persistent with the places you apply but without being too much, especially for recruiters or people watching your reels. Remember how many they have to watch and how many people they have to talk to.
  • Timing: That’s a self-explanatory one. I was called for an interview to work on Monster’s Inc. They called me while I was in living in Spain back in 2000. The interview I was told later went well. A few days later, I found they needed someone right THEN. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a working US Visa…and at the time it would take me 8 plus months to get me one. So they passed on me. Obviously the timing wasn’t right for me. I was bummed at the time. Who wouldn’t. However, I tried really hard in looking for other things that would make me excited. As I look back now, if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t of worked on Star Wars with the crew at ILM in 2001 whom I had a really fun and special time working with. I have really good memories of both the crew and those days. The whole thing is, just because sometimes the timing may not be right for something, don’t let it get to you or your dreams. Something unexpected and really cool may come along the way.
  • Personality: Some places will want to know who they hire more than what he/she have worked on or how well they’ve done it. No one wants to work with big egos, jackasses or people that simply are done learning. That’ll get no one nowhere. Also important to want to help your peers in whichever ways you can and not take things as a big competition. Our industry is a competitive one, and we all know that. But there is healthy competition in where you want to push yourself as an artist/help others and destructive competition in where you wanna walk all over people in order to get somewhere.
  • Talent/Originality: Do things that only YOU would do and don’t copy others. That’s key not necessarily in “making it” but in being true to yourself as an artist. As I go over my early student work, I’m guilty as hell in trying to animate or create some things in a “Pixar” way. The stuff I was glad I did also work on wasn’t influenced by StarWars or ToyStory…instead, they were the other things that in my head I was like let’s try that. It’s those reels that I go “ok, that’s something I haven’t seen” that probably other people will say the same…and that will get you noticed.
  • Practice: For animation that’s pretty self-explanatory. As I said earlier…don’t set yourself a timeframe for getting your goals. Enjoy the process, because it’s a long one.
  • Age: Don’t think you can’t make it just because you are “too old”. Who cares about how old you are, when we only get one chance in our lives to do whatever the hell we dream of doing. I’ve met animators who changed careers in their 50s…some students at AM, some people I’ve gotten to work with. Amazed me how much they wanted a life change after things such as security, family, location do matter so much. Yet, they went for it. Don’t let people tell you what you can do or not, just because you are this or that old.

I think, these are some of the things to think about. At one point I feel like I’m rumbling or repeating certain things. “Making it” sounds certainly subjective and up to people’s takes on how they want to make it. Just be honest as to what it is you want to achieve and why. I hope this helps.

Carlos.