This is my final post for the series “Getting the J-O-B”. We’ve covered training, portfolios, professionalism and contacts in the industry. All with views for the animation and live-action film industries. You’ll find the rest of the articles by myself and Adrien at the end of the post. This image may not have a lot to do with ‘attitude’ but it’s illustrated by Quinn Simoes (a buddy of mine) and I think it’s pretty cool.
Last week I handed in my third storyboard for the series I’m currently working on. For the previous two weeks I had been going to bed around 3 and 4am. That day I was running on one and a half hour’s sleep for the last 28 hours. That was not in a row…I had three half-hour naps. When I handed it in to the director, I dared him to fire me.
Then I begged him.
I was obviously kidding (and delirious) and the director knew that since we go way back. I wouldn’t joke like that with just anybody (don’t you feel special Boots?). And I knew full well he wouldn’t let me go…as appealing as it may have sounded at the time of my pure exhaustion. 🙂
Would I be considered as having a lousy attitude? Maybe, by some. But I was really just being a smart-ass. And there’s a difference between being a smart-ass and having a crappy attitude.
What is a bad attitude?
Well, if you’re always sitting around the studio in a foul (or even nasty in some cases) mood and complaining. If you’re always trying to stir up controversy between the artists and management (or between artists and artists). If you publicly say negative things about the studio you’re working for. If you constantly put down the show you’re working on.
Those kinds of things.
No one wants to be around a negative-Nancy. It brings everyone down. There can be good-hearted complaining with colleagues and all that. Which can even bring artists closer together in a way. Knowing you’re not alone in your current ‘misery’ of a looming deadline is always a reassuring thing. But the point is, that it’s in fun.
When it’s real animosity, it’s poison.
If you want to work in the animation industry you’re going to have to face a fact. You’re not always going to work on amazing, popular projects. Many times you’re going to work on an average show. And sometimes you’re going to work on crap.
I am currently not working on crap. I repeat…the show I’m working on is the best show that will ever grace your television sets (*flashes big smile*). In fact, most of the shows I’ve worked on over the years haven’t been bad or anything. I’ve been pretty damn lucky in my career. But even if they were, I wouldn’t look at them that way.
That’s the difference.
I’ve never really put down a show I’ve worked on, weather it was for a pre-school crowd or too ‘gross’ for my taste. It’s a waste of time. I may have had issues with the way things have been run or crazy schedules or the money. You learn from those experiences and can always move on. But I don’t put down the shows themselves.
It’s just a reality of TV animation.
There can be ‘less-than-amazing’ shows being produced. It’s not all gold. It’s a business and it spouts out a lot of shows at high speed on tight schedules. There’s not always time to make it gold.
If you can’t accept this fact, then don’t work in this industry. If you come into it with this ‘I’m so above this’ attitude, you’re going to be miserable and make everyone around you miserable too. Because they’ll be sick of listening you.
You may feel you don’t have much input in the situation. You may feel stuck sometimes. But I always try to approach each show with the attitude that I’ll do my best.
As the storyboard artist, you can help the show by caring about your episode. Don’t storyboard on auto-pilot. Put some thought into the characters and the situation. Add great visual gags and strong acting. You have more input than most of the artists on the project, so run with it.
I look at it like this; I didn’t create it, I didn’t write it, but each episode will be the best I can make it. After my storyboarding job is done, it’s out of my hands and I move on. It’s all you can do.
But what else can you do?
Well, you can always work on your own projects on the side. Make your own cartoons and put them online. It’s very do-able these days. Start a blog. Collaborate with some friends. Make a short, live-action film. Take some classes in something totally different. Play music. Dance.
Be creative in other ways and if that crappy show comes along, just do the work and make your money until the next one.
And maybe that next one will be a gem. It does happen and it’s great.
So cheer up.
Here are the other posts in this series:
Getting the J-O-B Part 1: Five Key Things You Need to Storyboard Professionally
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Training
Getting the J-O-B Part 2: Building a Storyboard Portfolio
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Portfolios
Getting the J-O-B Part 3: Professionalism in Animation…or Anywhere
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism
Getting the J-O-B Part 4: Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry-Part 2: Unions and Film Commissions
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on the Right Attitude