June 2005 Archives
Well, I'm back from the trip down to LA over the weekend. What a journey!
It happens in every field. You push yourself too hard, and the worst happens. You break down. You get pissed at everything. You get tired. How do you deal with burn out, and what happens afterwards?
After having a good chat with a friend of mine, and after reading several sites dealing with the ebbs and flows of visual effects production, I wondered how people can make this job a career. Especially in this day and age. This is a question for both the new guys and gals, and the seasoned people. I've had many coworkers and friends really push themselves when it comes to visual effects. Always staying late and working overtime, or just staying late and working! Despite being unhealthy, many people do it. Have the seasoned professionals in this career choice learned that too much is not good? Is there a time limit or "expiration date" for fresh workers in this field? Can you really make a career out of creating visual effects, for both movies and television?
This is sort of an arbitrary question, since you're reading this right now with a) the goal to get into the business or b)to read what other people think about the business. However, if you've been in the business for a long time, over a decade or more, how do you feel about your career choice? Is it something you fell into? Many schools tell students that visual effects could be a career option. But this is entertainment, something other people don't really need.
I've burned out in a previous life. I swum competitively for twelve years, the last four or five at the national level. After a certain point, I got sick of it and gave up, cold turkey style. I haven't swum competitively since. Could this be the same syndrome that may come about in the near future for artists that have been around for five to ten years? Is there a point of diminishing returns where you have to realize that you've been working in visual effects for so long and haven't gained the knowledge and experience that you want? Is visual effects really for you? You're either in it for the long run, or in it for the very short run. It seems that very few people stay in this business as a career choice, and the ones that have, have really pushed and excelled in every aspect of the industry, and continue to learn of the new tools and techniques that shape this field. I know of several former coworkers that have either given up in the visual effects field, or have sidebarred and have gone into a related field with a different technology angle that being a visual effects artist.
The other question that is tied together with this one is, can you make a living? Can you support a family in the future? If visual effects is your only career, and you start in the same company and know the same people and work on the same shows and everything's always been the same, how can you support yourself and your family if everything else is changing? Film visual effects seems to be predominately on the coasts, which have been and are currently very expensive places to live. Can you really raise a family on the coast with one income? Sure. If you have a huge income. Or if you live frugally. But then you're always working overtime to make ends meet and the family that you're working for never really gets to see you.
This post is just an open book into what I've been thinking about the last several days, trying to wrap my head about the options that I have for the future. I'm still young, and can still make changes to my life if necessary. They say a person has an average of nine separate jobs during their lifetime. I've had two.
Because I like to tinker with things, and after the successful creation of my projector (it's working beautifully, by the way), I bought a subscription to Make Magazine.
It's a pretty sweet magazine! I'm starting with Issue 2, which goes into detail about making an Atari 2600 PC, how to podcast, HDTV on your Mac, a light seeking mouse, and your own R2D2, to name a few cool projects. It's a fairly thick magazine, chock full of interesting tidbits about ingenious ideas around the world. If you're interested in that sort of thing, I would definitely recommend checking it out at a bookstore.
I've fixed the subscription notification for this site, since it was busted after my recent blog corruption. If you don't visit this site frequently you can be updated automatically if this site updates, in both comments or entries. Scroll down and enter your email into the Get Updates box at the bottom. You will be able to manage your subscription without having me do anything.
This weekend is the VES Festival! This year it will be held down in Santa Monica at the Aero Theater.
Like last year, I will be attending this one, albeit for only Saturday's festivities. I highly recommend going to this if you're in the LA area this weekend. Saturday's events include:
Visual Effects Paradiso - 700 Years of Visual Effects
Star Wars III
Next Generation: The Future of Gaming
I would have loved to see the other shows, but as this is down in LA this year, I can only attend one day. Hopefully next year it will come back up to San Rafael.
I'm slowly delving into my ATAS DVDs this weekend, and have encountered yet another series from the Law & Order creators.
This series, called Trial By Jury, follows the jury and chambers drama that unfolds. There's no half hour of police questioning followed by a half hour of jury deliberation, it's solely both sides of the story told in an hours time. I'm not sure when this came out originally, but I'm guessing last year, hence the reason why it's on the list of NBCs DVDs! There are two episodes of each L&O series on four DVDs, the original, Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, and now Trial By Jury.
I wonder how long this series will last! Unlike some other offshoot series (CSI: Miami and CSI: NY to name a few), the ones from the L&O universe have some good stories.
Well, hopefully this entry works. I've tried migrating to a mySQL database, but I don't think it's using it yet.
All sorts of little things keep getting busted. You're going to have to add yourself to the mailing list once again, which is listed below at the bottom of the page. I have to add the recent comments section again, as well as on every page. Luckily MovableType should be able to migrate everything fairly painlessly. Whatever you do for database systems, don't use Berkeley DB!
And back into the swing of things! I spent the last week back in hot and humid Washington DC, and am I glad to be back in cool and sunny San Francisco!
Yesterday marks my first day of working on a commercial here at Tippett. I'll be doing two chocolate commercials for an overseas manufacturer over the next several weeks. It looks to be a fun short! I'm scheduled to do four shots across two spots over the next six weeks or so.
You may have noticed recently that the blog has been getting hit with comment spam. I'll be checking and deleting irrelevant comments, and am also looking into a comment blacklister which will make it much easier to weed extraneous comments out.
I'll be getting back into more frequent updates again this week.