This is a topic that I always come back to every couple of years, whenever faced with a new batch of college graduates and job hunters. General etiquette and preparedness for job fairs and networking. I find it is always worth repeating.
Always have a business card even if it isn’t your ideal design.
I was surprised by the number of people that didn’t have a card, whether because they haven’t designed one they liked or they just didn’t get to it. Continue reading →
A frequent problem of mine – coming up with too many tasks to do in my free time. Its something that plagues me when I’m too busy to add to the list; I have to keep piling it on. A backlog of games/books/movies, new projects, blog updates, clean out files on my computer or desk, picking up gardening, trying new recipes, begin an exercise program, catch up with old friends, and the list can go on and they do and they multiply. Often it leaves me just sitting and staring at the wall, not knowing which way I should be turning and my brain scattered across the room. Or even worse, it ends with endlessly streaming through Facebook posts and articles, mindlessly going where everyone has gone before. I feel lucky when it’s more productive procrastination, cleaning the apartment and reorganizing my desk, both usually on my “Household List.” In the end comes down to me not getting anything meaningful done.
I of course am inspired by greatness, just like anyone else. To see someone blow away the confines of normality. An artist, that effortlessly paints a masterpiece, with you just sitting there unbelieving of how easy it is. But I think that I am more inspired to see how those same people screw up. To see how it wasn’t smooth and how they are just like the rest of us. To see the way they work is how I work and that I am NOT doing it all wrong. To see that when you constantly redo the same gesture over and over again, amassing a pile of papers next to your desk, that the greats do the same thing. That is truly inspiring.
It instills the confidence needed to do great things. To push boundaries of convention. You are no longer focused on the technique of your task. You are now focused on your task and how to drive it forward. The technique means nothing if the outcome is right. This very concept is so important for any artist, whether they are a writer, painter, sculptor, or director. There is no right way to do it. There is only a right outcome and even then that gets a bit hazy.
I am a firm believer that when it comes down to your goals, it is your journey that makes the person. Again there is no right or wrong answer to this. Its what you get out of it. Can you learn from your mistakes? It is how comfortable you are with your path. YOU only have YOU to answer to. You can look for inspiration in all the greats, and yes that is a good place to start, but it comes down to you. YOU make it happen. YOU make the choices. YOU are the director of your masterpiece. We sometimes forget that, but those truly are words to live by.
One of the most important things I have encountered on any project is “communication.” Usually overlooked, it is the one thing that can hold a team together. The lack of talking to one another can lead to any batch of problems, as you can imagine, but what I really want to talk about is “language.”
There will be situations where you will be working for a company that does communicate to some extent, yet ideas aren’t mingling and people are running around confused. (Just to clarify, this is not my current situation but just an example.) This situation is about “language.” I remember going to high school and taking lots of English courses so I would be prepared to write papers in college. I got to college as an art major and quickly came to the incorrect conclusion that I didn’t need those classes. Now that I am in the work force I am happy I did.
Everyday I am faced with a situation where I am talking to a coworker and need to get my thought across or just need to understand what they are trying to convey to me. A list of adjectives are thrown around like confetti, in either of these situations, and they have to make sense. This is where “language” comes in stumbling with a martini. This is probably an artist talking to a technical person or vice versa. 3D people have a chance sometimes, but really its all Geek to me.
My favorite conversation like this was about the word “model.” Go up to a modeler and ask them to define model and they will respond with something to the effect of: 3d sculpture, mesh, or a batch of polygons creating a cohesive object bound by points and/or vertices. (I made up these definitions) Go up to a programmer (which I am not) and you will hear something more along the lines of: something along the lines of a complex system. (Again I made up the definition and please don’t kill me.) Both examples are just examples, but none the less you get my point. That conversation lasted a day with the modelers making some headway since we were already using the word for something else in our daily activities. That was our only arsenal in the argument.
This is really a message to the art minded. When you have the chance to find out what the more technical minded are talking about, take that advantage. Don’t be scared to ask what words mean. Most likely that person will be completely happy telling you, because you are showing interest in their profession. Programmers know that artists are special to some extent and we usually feel the same about them. We have to work together everyday, and wouldn’t you want to know what they are jabbering about? Your life will be easier in the long run. You never know, someday you may end up in a lead position where you have to communicate with the other leads on the project. It would be best to know what they are talking about.