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Old 07-07-2012, 10:30 AM   #1
Professor Az
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Default Thinking of Rebooting My Career

I'm getting sorta fed up with the BS at work, and am getting closer and closer to just saying screw this and rebooting the way I make a living.

So, out of sheer curiosity, I went to Disney's Jobs for Veterans website, and I am waaayyyy under-qualified even for the entry level artist positions. I have some 30 years of experience with traditional medium, but they are looking for folks with design degrees, art degrees, animation degrees, and years of experience in the business.

Here's my question: In this economy do I start a reboot, or keep plodding along? Don't get me wrong, my current job pays the bills, and lets me put aside something for my impending retirement. Thing is, the joy of my current job is wearing off because of the bureaucracy and politics day in and day out.

Your thoughts?
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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As far as disney goes, I bet some people who work at squaresoft (as artists) probably wouldn't be able to get a job at disney. At this point it's strictly business -just carving out a niche for itself and holding it as long as it can so it doesn't have to compete. As an upstart, merit might've counted more, but they can afford to be snobs so they go for proven workers.

One of the people who made blender's sintel movie got a job at disney -I think pixar.

If you can prove in a big way that you rock, I think they'll nab you. Otherwise, even the degrees won't matter. (count how many come out of schools each year hoping to work there, and who actually gets to work there)

In the end though, it's your life so you have to figure it out somehow. Robert Frost had it right though.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:07 PM   #3
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Nowadays theres a lot of art schools that have way better teachers than actual art schools, because frankly, they aren't trying to make a 4 year commitment out of you. I recently took a class at Concept Design Academy in Pasadena with James Paick and it was AMAZING. I know its in California so its not close to you at all but I think CGmasters (http://cghub.com/masterclasses/) has him teach online. I know the online thing sounds hokey but my sister just took his class and felt like she got SOOOO much out of it. I compared notes with her and it sounds like he teaches the same way, and he does live demos for you, which is where the gold is at.

As for Disney it depends on which part of Disney you're aiming for. I work for Disney Animation as an artist, and they focus on the in house animated film stuff, but there's also Disney interactive media that does their online games (and Playdom in SF), imagineering that has artists for the parks, and Disney Publishing is its own thing too, frequently hiring freelance artists.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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3d - I was thinking along the same lines, Disney can afford to set the bar very high because they can afford to be choosy. After all, it is Disney we are talking about here. Just putting out there that there are "jobs for veterans" piqued my interest, but it turns out to mean "only if you qualify".

jigo - Yeah, it's the digital thing that's holding me back. Although I've recently gotten comfortable with Photoshop, they are also asking for years of experience with a pile of other programs I'm not comfortable with. Sure, I've heard of some, and played with others, but there's no way in good conscience I could put those things on a reume, let alone work with for too long without getting fired for taking forever to figure it out on the job. None of the positions I saw said, "Will Train", so I know they would want me to hit the ground running.

Disney + Old ProfAz = Harsh Realm

I guess my dilemna is I'm looking for full-time employment as opposed to freelencing because well, I gots bills to pay, and I gotta eat. If I was single it would be different but I have other folks to think of, too.

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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Your reffed stuff looks wonderful but the non reffed stuff to be brutally honest here isn't all that good. So a career change into creative fields is out of question in my opinion.

Take a week/couple weeks/month of vacation(at own expense if paid vacation is out of the question) and go either abroad or somewhere interesting within the USA. My parents just left for a second time for a 30 day euro trip and they're both approaching their sixties. Last time they clocked something around 9,000km while driving a early 2000's Ford Focus. I know a vacation abroad did wonders to make me not want to punch everyone in the company on instinct.

But hey if you do find a good gig then more power to you. I'd be sending resume letters to people without quitting my current job though.
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Professor Az
I guess my dilemna is I'm looking for full-time employment as opposed to freelencing because well, I gots bills to pay, and I gotta eat. If I was single it would be different but I have other folks to think of, too.
Yeah its tough to get stuff up and running. I've done the freelance thing before and I've never been quite comfortable with the idea that its pretty much like you're continually looking for work. I didn't look it up, but I'm fairly sure that if you upped your photoshop skills through either a class or something else you can at least get started by getting some small freelance gigs without quitting your current job. Photoshop is the way to go though, sometimes they fill in a ton of different programs, but if its an illustration job, photoshop is plenty. Freelance on the side really helps you build experience and a contact list, and that goes a long way in securing a more comfortable/steady job.

That's how it happened to me anyway, I started doing just small freelance gigs in animation, and built up enough experience to eventually get hired full time. I know your time is limited with your job, so its probably harder for you to find time between work and your family. It really does help a lot, because even though its been 2 years since my first job, I still occasionally get job offers from people I've worked with in the past, even though I don't have to take them anymore.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:40 PM   #7
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RO - Yeah, I know the stuff from my head isn't as good as my reference work. I can't show you the technical stuff, but it's awesome enough for the job I do, but that contract is coming to an end soon. Maybe I do need a vacation to get me out of this forking rut. This company has been known to fire folks once they discover your co-workers can go on without you (like if you have surgery), so it's probably gonna be a short one.

Jigo - I've been doing freelance for about thirty years, and all in all I think I've made about $20k in all that time. Part of the reason for that is when I was active duty, I've done freelance at every duty station. So even though I was popular at one place, I'd move on after three or four years, and have to start over at the next.

Ugh. Maybe I just need a shot and a cigar.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jigo
I know its in California so its not close to you at all but I think CGmasters (http://cghub.com/masterclasses/) has him teach online. I know the online thing sounds hokey but my sister just took his class and felt like she got SOOOO much out of it. I compared notes with her and it sounds like he teaches the same way, and he does live demos for you, which is where the gold is at.
I think I'll actually do this.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jigo
That's how it happened to me anyway, I started doing just small freelance gigs in animation, and built up enough experience to eventually get hired full time.
so, in what way did the experience help you? Did it mainly expand what you had written on your resume, or maybe people from the different gigs gave you connections to people who got you into bigger jobs? Did you pick and choose regarding what freelance you took? Or was it more you took whatever you were able to get?
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by darkreaver
so, in what way did the experience help you? Did it mainly expand what you had written on your resume, or maybe people from the different gigs gave you connections to people who got you into bigger jobs? Did you pick and choose regarding what freelance you took? Or was it more you took whatever you were able to get?
Well... I think the main way it helped was just getting the experience, and learning on the job. My first freelance job in animation was as a vis dev artist on Frankenweenie two years ago and I was still in school. I learned a lot on the project especially when it came to approach and the thought process behind designing for film, which I'd never had much experience with. From there I was able to keep working with a few other freelance things, I didn't just take anything, I focused on animation. And many of those jobs came from recommendations by my supervisors/art directors from that very first job. Some work was shorter some were longer, but I'm lucky in that every one has been really fun, and every time I learn new things from people who are way better than me.

Portfolio/resume wise I still don't really know how much it's helped me. Only because my only public portfolio is from 2010, and I can't show any of the work done in the past 2 years until the movies get released. I really hope I don't have to brush the damn thing off and go job hunting again, it's freaking scary.
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