November 9, 2010

My Two Cents: Land That Killer Job!

so we finally got the oct. issue of 3d world (at the same time as the dec issue! :O) and i was reading one of the topics on there that i wanted to discuss, the "land that killer job" (pg 42). Jim Thacker states the "ten simple things you can do while learning to ensure career success" which i wanted to share and put my two cents in since i wholeheartedly agree with all of it :)

1: research your course.
many school claim that they are the best but you have to remember admissions aren't the ones who are teaching or taking the classes so they probably don't know all the facts. also the more students they get, the better it is for them. i had an admission's person who said she wasn't going to sugar coat anything and told me how hard the program was going to be, but she completely BSed the credibility and the hiring rate of the students, in fact she gave me the graphic design hiring rate and not mine which is A LOT lower :(
so researching helps a lot, ask other students that are in the major and see if they like it and if it's worth it, i've had some friends from other school's asking me about mine and i told them exactly what it was about and didn't "sugar coat" a thing :)

2: use self-study material.
dooo ittt! i love gnomon workshop stuff, their dvd's completely opened my eyes to a whole new world as well as brought some of the leading professionals in our industry to teach me one on one. i think this is one if the most important things honestly. you have to study and practice every-living-waking-moment and engulf yourself in the art world because this is your industry, and in order for you to kick ass in it, you have to live it and breath it! i'm very gung ho about this subject :)
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/

3: specialize early.
i'm thinking portfolio mainly, so you have a main objective and your attention isn't being pulled into every direction. they mainly mention that commercial studios are all fine and good with generalists, but most big film and game companies prefer a specified artist who is the best at what he or she does. though some places do like jack of all or many trades (when awesome at all of them of course), so looking into the studio you want to work for and the artists that currently work there would help you see what they're looking for. also it helps because you can see the quality of work they produce, so you can set your limits to match or be even better than their's :D

4: use all your contacts.
definitely agree with this, network, network, network, i honestly need to hit the forums a bit more myself, but this is really helpful, i've been told that it's not only your portfolio, and what you know, that gets you in the door, it's who you know as well. so make friends, even with schoolmates you don't particularly like, suck it up and be the better person because one day you might be knocking at their door.
http://www.linkedin.com
http://www.facebook.com

5: get industry feedback.
3d forums have a bunch of professional artists around who are posting their current work or helping students out. our industry is pretty nice so most are more than willing to help you out with a critique, as long as you're polite. being humble is the key, i agree, don't assume you're the top shit just because you're the best in class, you have to remember that the real world has sharks and not just minnows :) however it is true that it won't be all "5 stars!" they'll tell you the good, the bad, and how to fix it, and usually another lift with something like "this is coming along nicely and if you make these changes it'll really be awesome!" artists like to give back and most don't bite :)
http://www.polycount.com/
http://www.zbrushcentral.com/
http://www.gameartisans.org/forums/index.php
http://www.cgsociety.org/
http://www.cgtalk.ru/
http://www.3dtotal.com/
http://www.cgland.com/
http://cgtantra.com/
http://www.cgsculpt.org/sculpt/index.php
http://www.cgcoach.com/beta/forum.html

6: keep reworking your reel.
yes please do, because you learn so much after you graduate, so you can't just stop there, you have to keep improving because like everyone in the industry says "you're only as good as your weakest piece" (like "you're only as strong as the weakest link" which that link can hold you or let you fall) which is completely true, so make sure not to fluff your portfolio with C quality work when you know you can do A+ :O
also make it as purrdddy as you can, don't half-ass the shots, you're trying to get a job at the studio of your dreams, think of like you're trying to woo a girl...or guy, and dress it up, read up as much as you can to make it better, and get that second date!... or job interview :D
http://gim.acanaday.com/?p=93

7: enter contests.
hell yeah enter those contests, whether it be dominance war if your a character artist or unearthly challenge if you're an environmental artist, plus there are always a ton going on the 3d forums, and everyone likes looking at contests especially professionals that entered the contest as well. people do get picked up like this quite often :)
http://www.dominancewar.com/2010/en/index.php
http://www.unearthlychallenge.com/2009/en_index.php

8: build up professional experience.
yep yep, working on group projects and what not does build up your credibility, so paid freelances aren't the only things out there. though i would recommend the doing free things for your friends and people you trust and not someone who is going to use your for your talents and then throw you away which does happen. i'll definitely put in the extra 100 to 200 hours (honestly however long it takes) for free on a project i really think will go somewhere, though i'd look in another direction when someone who only knows how to play games and doesn't know the first thing about developing a video game is like "hey we don't have any money BUT we are working on this totally koolz game i thought up that needs next-gen or whatever stuff and requires your total dedication with 60 to 80 hours a week, so you should join us because we are awesome like that. we'll give you credit and stuff" um yeah. i'll get right on that cowboy. :/ though if an awesome artist approaches you who actually knows something about the making of games (or animation shorts) and wants to produce something worthy of your skills, that's a pretty nice project to work on :)

9: consider post graduate training.
um yes. always consider training, our industry is always developing so there is ALWAYS something new to learn and you HAVE TO keep up if you want to play in the big league. this includes watching/reading tutorials, auditing classes, taking new ones, doing online courses, anything that keeps you up to date on today's awesomeness of our industry.

10: think globally.
if you are willing to move to north america (usa and canada) or somewhere in europe (like england) or many other countries, go for it, our industry is developing everywhere and getting your foot in the door is the first step, if you have to do it all the way across the pond, so be it :)

anyways, my two cents. i like them very much, not very polished though since i'm not much for a writer but as long as i get my point across i'm decently happy :)

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