What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

December 25, 2010

The middle management in the animation/vfx industry and you. Part 2.

continuing from part 1

The following post will sound like sour and bitter gripes of previous experience. But they are all teach me something.

One of the common issues arises is when the middle management look after their own self interest 1st while preaching teamwork and taking one for the team to the artistes.

In a corporation, there are a lot of these middle managements all looking out for themselves. Hey, for a lot of people, its human nature to want to climb the ladder and be in a position of power.

A classic example would be the production manager to tell the artistes that they have to work through the weekend to get the shot out and then himself taking that weekend off to some beach resort.

Of course there is nothing technically wrong with the above scenario since its the artiste's job to deliver the shot, not the manager.

December 24, 2010

the good side.

this is the season to be ranting.. tralalalala...lalalala...

with all this perceived negativity in the air...... let me remind myself why I got into this industry.

Its a playground. You can create anything. Seriously anything that your mind can think of in CG. Entire civilizations, worlds, creatures, spaceships and for the sadder ones, digital fantasy females. And make them come alive! Living breathing digital entities. (can't shag them though but if you tried, I do not want to know).

Even things that you didn't think of via noise frequencies as well as modulation of particles and geometry. .

man.... You get to play god! How cool is that. ( I can see the messiah complex thing in a lot of guys in the industry) But seriously that is awesome.

Z-brush and mudbox man.... u can sculpt something out of a cube with no mess and almost infinite Undos. Its a awesome tool for a creative outlet. I wait for the day that we can sculpt in holographic mode.

And you can get some pretty pictures even with a simple 3 point setup, you can move and frame the camera to get the perfect composition. And animation wow..... making your creation come alive. That is the ultimate coolness.

But most importantly you want to tell stories. Stories that people can feel for and like.

But that is something that CG can't do. Which is to tell stories. It can create the most amazing worlds and creatures that is beautiful to look at but if there is no story, there is no soul to your creation. Its the stories that define and shape who the people that live in your world are. Their hopes and fears, their advantages.

And that to me, is the allure, the addiction and the magic that is animation. The POTENTIAL in all of us to tell stories with these really amazing tools.

Ideas to help improve yourself and have fun at the same time.

Often after graduation, The skill sets that you have won't be production ready. Even if you have been working in the industry for a while and you want to take the next step up in technical skills or learn a new software, its quite draining and daunting to start.

I personally found it very very hard to get motivate to start. After working long hours, how can you find the energy to do more stuff? Its a hard and long climb by yourself. Facing the computer at home after work with so many distractions not very conducive. Its like dieting,you know eating healthy and less food is good for your health but its so hard to maintain a diet especially during liulian season.

December 23, 2010

The middle management in the animation/vfx industry and you. Part 1.

Who are they, where do they come from and do they actually do? And most importantly how do they affect you as an artiste.

If you work in a big vfx/animation/games studio as an artiste, you will have dealt with these guys.

Who are they?

These are the executives who "manage/coordinate" the talent, the schedule, the budget and everything else in the middle.

Where do they come from?

From all walks of life. Graduates from art school, film school, computer animation school, business administration. People who are interested in film, movies and want a career in this industry. There are some who cannot hack it as artists or find the life of an artiste too hard/ prospects limiting/not their cup of tea therefore they will move to the production side.

There isn't a specialised technical skill set but more about their people skillz. Ability to manage people.... duh.

What do they do?

December 22, 2010

Planning for a career in animation locally and overseas.

Let me tell you something you already know....

You will not get rich becoming an animator, td or modeller in Singapore. No. Fucking. Way. For those that is stepping into the industry and harbouring illusions of owning a new Lamborgini or a BMW, definitely keep on dreaming. Life is meaningless without a goal.

But unless you wrote a software that will be bought by a major company or a game changer, its a wee bit hard to retire at 40 or even 50. Or you convince the Govt to give you money to conduct subsidized courses or open a company for outsourcing/collaboration work and you take the middle part. Even then, compared to the Shenton way crowd, the amount is insignificant.

For the rest of the people in this industry, if you are talented, hardworking, easy to work with and most importantly lucky, you should have have a fairly comfortable existence. Job satisfaction and long hours not withstanding.

The problem is long term wise, this industry is still very dependent on contract work. People work for a stated contracted period and then take a few weeks off and then start again. And even then no CPF contribution. Or if you are lucky to be a full time salaried staff, you will get a stable job but the salary won't be the greatest and more often then not, their is no bonus at the end of the year and/or the job isn't the most rewarding/challenging/satisfactory. It is very hard to break this cycle.