Your Portfolio Blog: Now What?

Well, since the ‘blog paranoia’ is riding high, I feel I should continue this little series I have going on.

You’ve had the warning not to be an ass on the internet. Then I posed the question, why are you hiding on the internet? And the next question, why you have that blog to begin with.

Have you given that some thought? Good.

Because now I get into some nitty-gritty. Some practical advice on what to do with that willy-nilly, half-assed portfolio blog you have going on there.

Please keep in mind I am no expert on this stuff. Heck, I even make fun of some people who ‘blog about blogging’ for crying out loud.

And here I am.

Blogging about blogging. *sigh*

Oh well. Some of you need the help, so let’s get cracking.

Even though the last post may have looked like I was crapping on Blogger blogs, I really wasn’t. It’s just that a lot of animation types seem to start out on Blogger.

And guess what? That’s OK. Really.

Again, I want to stress that I am talking to people who have (or want to have) a blog as a PORTFOLIO. Some of you are trying to do it and some of you are doing it wrong.


Read moreYour Portfolio Blog: Now What?

Why You Blogging?

I’m just full of questions these days, aren’t I?

So I guess I’ve started a bit of a series here. Sorta.

It started with watching what you do on the internet so you don’t look like an ass. Then it was about being lost and found on the internet.

And because I still have more to say about the whole portfolio/blogging thing, I will.

First, a bit of a disclaimer.

I’m not picking on anybody in particular. You can turn off that tiny paranoia button. I’m just talking out loud and all of this is just ‘food for thought’.

I’m not talking to other ‘bloggers’ here (OK, Friar? 🙂 ). People who blog because they like to write about whatever. That’s awesome. Keep doing it if it makes you happy. Read no further.

I’m talking to the young animation artist (or any professional artist for that matter). The artist that has a blog up on a free service like Blogger. Because there are a LOT of you. It’s to you I pose this question and offer some advice.

Why do you have that blog?

There could be many reasons.

  • Is it just a fun thing to update family and friends to what you’re up to?
  • Is it a place to discuss your favorite movies, comics and animation?
  • Is it to show off your latest sketches and share some fun videos you found?

If it’s any of those, feel free to keep doing what you’re doing. Those are the perfect reasons to have a blog. That’s putting the blogging platform to good use. Enjoy and have fun.


  • Is it your internet ‘business card’ to showcase your portfolio and your resume?

Then that free Blogger blog (that looks so much like everyone else’s Blogger blog) may not be the best place to do that. And if you’ve combined this reason with any of the first three questions I posed, you might want to think twice about mashing it up all together.

Finally, do you have a Blogger blog just because everyone else has one?

Read moreWhy You Blogging?

Why You Hiding?

So a few weeks back I wrote about your internet presence and how it can bite you in the ass.

About what would happen if you Googled yourself and some nasty, embarrassing stuff showed up that you can’t erase. Not so good.

But there’s a flip side to that.

Last night my manfriend wanted to show me a blog of a colleague of ours. He’s been in the animation business for a very long time and is super talented.  And apparently he has a little blog where he posts up some work and writes stuff now and then.

You know. Like you might be doing.

So we Googled him.

I found some politician in Australia, and a few entries that might have been him, but no blog. My manfriend then remembered he called his blog something else, it wasn’t under our colleague’s own name.

Which is fine. But my manfriend couldn’t remember the other name.

I went searching again today and found a site that mentioned his business name. So I went on the lookout for that and I finally found his blog. He used the business name before the

So it didn’t really take too long when I knew what to look for.

But it got me thinking.

What about you?

Read moreWhy You Hiding?

Dealing With the ‘Crushing of Dreams’

When I used to teach, I would be the first person to see the students’ final film ideas.

They would pitch me the wonders of their imaginations either with or without thumbnail drawings.

It was a fun and magical time for them filled with anxiety and anticipation.

And sometimes fear.

You see, over time I had developed a bit of a reputation of being brutally honest when needed. If I didn’t think they had a decent story idea, I would tell them.

If they were heading towards making a “Huh? What?”* film, I would say so.

(* A “Huh? What?” film is when the film finishes screening, it’s met with silence. Then with the audience looking at each other mumbling, “Huh? What the hell was THAT?” A common occurrence in student film screenings unfortunately.)

I eventually started to call these pitch sessions “The Crushing of Dreams”.

Well, *I* thought it was funny.

So did a lot of the students. It got to the point if one of their classmates had a real whopper of an idea, a group of them would gather around nearby just to see my reaction.

Which was usually a silent-stare-opened-mouth-raised-eyebrow kind of thing.

They dug it.

Until it was their turn.

Then it wasn’t so amusing.

Sometimes I was met with anger. Sometimes I was met with appreciation. Sometimes I was met with defensiveness. Oy, was I met with defensiveness!

“Yeah, but…”, “Yeah, but…”, “Yeah, but…”.

Now, when I did these “Crushing of Dreams”, it truly came from a place of sincerity and caring. Even if it didn’t look that way to the students at the time.

I didn’t want these guys to have that “Huh? What?” film. (Well OK, except maybe those folks who really didn’t give a damn. I sorta looked forward to that sweet revenge.)

Read moreDealing With the ‘Crushing of Dreams’

Will the Internet Bite You in the Ass?

Geez, I hope not.

It hasn’t bit me yet. *knocks wood*

Google me. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

See? Just boring storyboard blog stuff.

No drunken photos of me licking people’s faces, making obscene gestures or my leg draped around strange men.

No videos of me lip syncing to AC/DC, swilling beer or screaming curse words.

No sirree.

All that stuff is safely tucked away in photo albums and video tapes on my bookshelf.

Right where they should be.

That they are only on my bookshelf is one of the benefits of being an old fart. No camera phones and YouTube when I was in my twenties.

Thank friggin’ gawd.

Well now that I’ve opened myself up for my friends to post my dirty laundry on Facebook, I’ll get to the point.

What would happen if I Googled you?

Because you know, that’s what bosses do these days. And Human Resources people. And your co-workers.

Just something to think about.

I bring this up because of a little thing that happened to someone I know. He’s a storyboard artist too.

We’ll call him Mr. X (because I’m so damn original).

Turns out Mr. X was the subject of a post on some fairly famous comic book artist’s blog recently. (At least I think he’s fairly famous. I’m not really up on my ‘famous comic book artists’.)

Anyway, Famous Comic Artist Guy found the online portfolio of Mr. X. And lo and behold, it had some of his old storyboard drawings on it. Apparently Famous Comic Artist Guy used to do storyboards too.

So he called out Mr. X in his post and people left all sorts of nasty comments about Mr. X because he was passing off this guy’s work as his own.

On the Internet.

Pretty dumb, huh?

Read moreWill the Internet Bite You in the Ass?

The Positive Side of the ‘NOTs’

Lollipops for Debi 🙂

In the last post I told you five things that storyboarding professionally is not. In case they came off with a negative feel, I’m going to flip them and show the positive side to those five things. Because there are two sides to everything and it’s always a good idea to find the brighter one, right?

So let’s spin these suckers.

1. I said storyboarding is NOT EASY. That’s right, it’s not. But who wants easy? Do you really just want to go through life without challenging yourself and pushing to do better? You can work in a factory or flip burgers if all you want is a paycheck. Do you really want to go through your whole life like that?

Some do. I don’t.

If you have the skills necessary to do storyboarding (or any other skill), you will be sought out. If less people are good at it because it’s tough, then there’s more job opportunities for the qualified folks. That very thing has kept me employed. Be good at something. Have a niche. The harder that niche is, the more valuable you are. Embrace it. I’m glad it’s hard.

2. I said storyboarding is NOT SOCIAL. Well, I don’t always have a problem with that. Yes, sometimes not talking to anyone all day can be tough. Yes, sometimes you miss the social interaction of a studio (if you freelance from home). But you also don’t have to deal with all the political crap that can go on in a studio/office too. All the wasted time. The stress of others that can rub off on you. You may not get along with everyone you have to work with.

It can get tiresome. And commuting sucks.

Read moreThe Positive Side of the ‘NOTs’

5 Things Storyboarding is NOT

I like to keep a positive feel here on the Storyboard Blog (sidenote: I have registered so it’s easier to tell your friends about it…so um, go tell your friends about it 🙂 ). But I also like to keep it real for the people who want to do this for a living or who just want to do it better.

So here are a few ‘nots’ about the craft. Not to scare off or intimidate, but to inform. Hope it’s not too doom-and-gloom-y. I may have touched on some of these before but they are always worth mentioning again.

Here are five things that professional storyboarding is NOT:

1. EASY. This can be a huge misconception in the industry itself. I have heard burned-out animators say ‘maybe they’ll try storyboarding for a while’. Like their lives will be so rosy and laid back if they could board for a living. I’ve seen veteran layout artists (a job that could be viewed as the close cousin to storyboards) give it a go. And fail miserably because it’s a different animal and not easy. It’s hard work that requires many more skills than just drawing. It can also take a toll on your time, your sleep and your sanity and it’s not an easier ride.

2. SOCIAL. If you freelance or even if you work in a studio, this is a very isolating job. You may have the occasional meeting with the director, but you will be working many long hours by yourself. It’s not much of a collaborative effort in television storyboarding (it can be more so in feature films, but not every day). If you have a hard time being in your own head for hours on end (and possibly losing contact with the outside world day after day), this job may not be for you.

Read more5 Things Storyboarding is NOT