'IT'S NOT WORTH IT': Ad Exec's Brutal Rant Before He Died Of Cancer Is Absolutely Ch

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Old 11 November 2012   #16
Didn't we just have this conversation? I've made choices in my life that weren't very smart business wise. I could be doing much better salary wise, training etc. but in the end I'd rather be at home with my people.

This guys account of his life sounds like it came from Sandler's movie 'Click'.
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Old 11 November 2012   #17
I think it's a brilliant article.

I've worked on TV ads for 12 years now and a lot of what he said rings true. The mindless noodley changes that we have to do that have absolutely no effect on the quality of the piece is just insane.

You should really read the whole article to put the quotes from the OP into context. This guy is an ad creative talking about the advertising industry, it might not directly relate to someone sitting in a basement painting orc textures. Sure it's bit of a rant, makes sweeping generalizations and I don't agree with everything but he makes similar points that folk bring up here: schedules being constantly squeezed at the expense of quality or originality; companies creatively playing safe to chase maximum dollar.

I think some of the replies here have been way too sensitive and have just missed the point. And come on, after a 30 year career I think he's entitled to post his overall view of his industry. If he feels that, on reflection, his work 'wasn't worth it' then that's fine, it's his opinion (and actually, the comments at the bottom of the article provide a bit of balance). I'm sure in 20 years time when I look back I might have a different view on my career than what I have now.

Regarding a couple of direct points he makes:
"Truly creative people tend not to be motivated by money"
I think this is actually true. The best most creative directors I've worked with fall into this category, they just want to create the greatest, coolest pieces of work that they can. I'm sure they get paid well but it's clear it's not that that drives them, heh, I reckon they wouldn't be seen dead in a Ferrari or an expensive suit. I'm pretty sure his comment doesn't mean you should work for free.

"Oh. And if your reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids"

If this line this offended you then you have completely missed the whole point of the article. I don't think he means it literally that you should down tools and walk out of work, or that soap powder should only be sold to housewives. It's an example, he's saying that if you end up working on a mind numbing, mediocre, clichéd POS just remind yourself that there are more important things in life than a tv ad and don't get hung up on it. It's just a tv ad.

Oh, and if you are in post production rather than vfx you should scroll down to the bottom of the article and read comment No. 50. I think it has the most beautiful, succinct description of our industry I've ever seen
 
Old 11 November 2012   #18
Im not sure if this guy is making a general statement about all creatives, or something more specific about the Advertising Industry and a fair warning to his peers in that field, caught up in the moment of passion (admit it, it has happened to all of us).

Having worked in both fields myself, I WOULD NOT associate the creatives of advertising with creative in other fields. And you guys should not take it as an offensive, general statement about all creatives, despite the wording. (the aritcle probably does not even belong for most of the CG crowd)

The term "creatives" is about where the similarity between advertising and other creative professions (film, animation, fine arts) begins and ends. The process is very different, and so is accountability and who makes ultimate decisions in the approval. Most studios have a familiar process and everyone is in the same boat. Not so much when your ultimate approval comes from a client who's limited specialty is manufacturing energy drinks or homes. Not to mention the end goals and implementation strategies are very VERY different. It just isn't the same environment, ecosystem or culture.

Taking that into account - Maybe I can shed some light on this:
Quote: Oh. And if your reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids.


It has NOTHING to do with sexism - There have been plenty nights I have stayed at the office late myself because the client (at home on their smartphone) cannot decide on something as insignificant as "should they pick up the soap with right or left hand" when all I want to do is go home and kiss my wife and kids... he's right, it doesn't fu@king matter.

For the other industries, decisions like that are part of telling a story, thought out for some integrated purpose or symbol. For advertising (with the client at the other end) it is not always so strategic. It is usually based on the opinion of a committee of unrelated individuals and the reaction of a household pet. They aren't trying to figure something out that will make the campaign better, they just don't want to make a decision. How the hell does the position of soap in a hand affect the customer's purchasing decision... it doesn't in 99.9999999999% of the cases.

Sure, in this life you have the freedom to choose and set your own priorities. (I left a lucrative career in the film industry due to 20hr days.) But give the guy a break, he was dying and that just puts you in a different mindset about life period. He is just mad at himself for sacrificing his time to please such stupid efforts and is just giving a different (not so crazy), strongly worded view for his peers. It is one I actually agree with.

I challenge anyone to be in that exact position and think differently. It is something you just cannot do until you have been there, but that is life and we have to be passionate about something until we go. In the mean time, his words are not far from truth.

For those of you who get it (I learned it early as well) he's not talking to you.
Don't get so worked up.
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Last edited by BoBoZoBo : 11 November 2012 at 06:09 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #19
Wow- so much rage and angst over an essay that more-or-less says "stop and smell the roses".
 
Old 11 November 2012   #20
Originally Posted by WesComan: "Oh. And if your reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids"

If this line this offended you then you have completely missed the whole point of the article. I don't think he means it literally that you should down tools and walk out of work, or that soap powder should only be sold to housewives. It's an example, he's saying that if you end up working on a mind numbing, mediocre, clichéd POS just remind yourself that there are more important things in life than a tv ad and don't get hung up on it. It's just a tv ad.


I didn't miss the point - I already know this (bold text). But it's my conviction that his advice is obvious and impractical in the functioning business world. I do appreciate my family and what I have made of my life. I do agonize of the quality of my work. There is a constant tug-of-war going on of what to prioritize and when to do it. Balancing life and work is a fluid task where the ground is ever-shifting. But he speaks of these as if they are epiphanies and not just common sense.

Quote: Taking that into account - Maybe I can shed some light on this: Quote:
Oh. And if your reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids.
It has NOTHING to do with sexism - There have been plenty nights I have stayed at the office late myself because the client (at home on their smartphone) cannot decide on something as insignificant as "should they pick up the soap with right or left hand" when all I want to do is go home and kiss my wife and kids... he's right, it doesn't fu@king matter.


Actually I was hoping someone would shed light on this. I'm still not seeing any light. I mean, what do you actually DO next? I agree with the guy on many points, but agreeing that life is full of tough decisions, that's quite a bold stance. The real work comes when you react to or act upon those decisions, and how those reactions affect the quality or balance of your life.
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Last edited by Artbot : 11 November 2012 at 06:13 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #21
Newsflash!!

Demanding job is demanding.

from a law associates separation notice
A day in the life of Ms. X (and many others here, I presume):

4:00am: Hear baby screaming, hope I am dreaming, realize I’m not, sleep walk to nursery, give her a pacifier and put her back to sleep
4:45am: Finally get back to bed
5:30am: Alarm goes off, hit snooze
6:00am: See the shadow of a small person standing at my bedroom door, realize it is my son who has wet the bed (time to change the sheets)
6:15am: Hear baby screaming, make a bottle, turn on another excruciating episode of Backyardigans, feed baby
7:00am: Find some clean clothes for the kids, get them dressed
7:30am: Realize that I am still in my pajamas and haven’t showered, so pull hair back in a ponytail and throw on a suit
8:00am: Pile into the car, drive the kids to daycare
8:15am: TRAFFIC
9:00am: finally arrive at daycare, baby spits up on suit, get kids to their classrooms, realize I have a conference call in 15 minutes
9:20am: Run into my office, dial-in to conference call 5 minutes late and realize that no one would have known whether or not I was on the call, but take notes anyway
9:30am: Get an email that my time is late, Again! Enter my time
10:00am: Team meeting; leave with a 50-item to-do list
11:00am: Attempt to prioritize to-do list and start tasks; start an email delegating a portion of the tasks (then, remember there is no one under me)
2:00pm: Realize I forgot to eat lunch, so go to the 9th floor kitchen to score some leftovers
2:30pm: Get a frantic email from a client needing an answer to a question by COB today
2:45pm: postpone work on task number 2 of 50 from to-do list and attempt to draft a response to client’s question
4:30pm: send draft response to Senior Associate and Partner for review
5:00pm: receive conflicting comments from Senior Associate and Partner (one in new version and one in track changes); attempt to reconcile; send redline
5:30pm: wait for approval to send response to client; realize that I am going to be late picking up the kids from daycare ($5 for each minute late)
5:50pm: get approval; quickly send response to client
6:00pm: race to daycare to get the kids (they are the last two there)
6:30pm: TRAFFIC with a side of screaming kids who are starving
7:15pm: Finally arrive home, throw chicken nuggets in the microwave, feed the family
7:45pm: Negotiate with husband over who will do bathtime and bedtime routine; lose
8:00pm: Bath, pajamas, books, bed
9:00pm: Kids are finally asleep, check blackberry and have 25 unread messages
9:15pm: Make a cup of coffee and open laptop; login to Citrix
9:45pm: Citrix finally loads; start task number 2
11:30pm: Wake up and realize I fell asleep at my desk; make more coffee; get through task number 3
1:00am: Jump in the shower (lord knows I won’t have time in the morning)
1:30am: Finally go to bed


REPEAT

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Old 11 November 2012   #22
With everything you need balance.
There are people married to their job and for now reason.
I think this man was one of those people, who was married to his job and in the end did not get out of it what he thought he would and he felt empty in his last days.

He spent his life in front of a monitor and felt it was wasted.

Some companies do have people in all forms of jobs in a vice, the need to work and eat vs the need to actually live. It goes across many industries and not just a creative one. Some companies do force folks to work for fear of losing their job and lively hood. They pay no attention to the employee. Others force themselves to work like that seeking perfection when they could have been done hours or days ago. But that is a personal problem and hopefully one you address on a personal level without regrets later like this man did who obviously had regrets.

I feel bad that he felt that way.

Now it is time to reflect on my life.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #23
Great article. Might be obvious to some, but unfortunately there are a lot of people who work insane hours and need to be reminded that there's more to life than their job. I would almost say that for some it turns into an unhealthy addiction.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #24
I can agree with him on many levels and understand where he's coming from, though it isn't necessarily just about digital art or artists. People in other fields deal with similar issues.

We fear failure. We're given deadlines that are nuts and yet we feel up to the challenge to prove our worth to get it done. We feel like the industry moves almost too fast to keep up with and don't want to be left behind. We pride ourselves on how hard we work and getting the job done right.

It's a lot of pressure and responsibility....and it's all too easy to want to add that extra bit of detail or two or six. It'll only take like 20 minutes, err actually 4 hours - but it was worth it. Another piece for your portfolio.....or maybe not. We all have too many things we've worked on by now.

Extreme highs and extreme lows. We all beat ourselves up over these things that only other CG artists notice. Everyone loves everything you do, but it's not enough. Your previous project now sucks. You can't even look at it because you have 50 new tools or techniques to do it better. The next project will be AWESOME though. Sometimes you'll even redo a whole aspect of your project to incorporate the latest new technique you've discovered because in your head, it'll make it 5-10% better when it's really more like .05% better.

Meanwhile clients are always so amazed you can move the camera in 3D space and move objects around.


We have a lot of pride on the line as digital artists. It can make our art better, but also make our lives hell if we get too wrapped up in it. A balance is probably the best bet for taking the edge of the stress off by not holding yourself to that crazy perfection standard, but rather do what's actually reasonable.

It sucks that many people aren't in a position where they can just tell their boss that the deadline is unreasonable and turn the job down.

Then again I've done jobs I hated and said I'd never do again, but then a year later the client calls you back and you decide to take their new similar project on. You're just sure it'll be so much easier this time now that you've learned from the last one and have newer hardware/software. That pain seems fuzzy since you're not feeling it now. It's hard sometimes to have discipline and just turn a project down.

It's also hard to step back and say, "damnit, this maybe isn't my best work, but it's good enough" and move onto the next thing.

Last edited by sentry66 : 11 November 2012 at 10:11 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #25
I am a bit surprised by how offended people are. This is a veteran creative that has seen a lot more than most on this board and he is tragically dying of cancer at the age of 52. It gives him a pretty important perspective on things that should not be simply ignored. I haven't read much more than the quotes here and elsewhere but I would be careful to dismiss his writings as simply somebody describing his rediscovered common sense in times of suffering. He is basically saying that the illusion of the importance of our work has cost him too much and he wished he could regain some of the time he has lost. At least that is how I read it. He also claims that creatives have a particularly strong illusion of their responsibilities and the importance of their (own) work, which I have to agree with - it is very common, and more common than in accountants I would say.

I think people are right that regrets such as his will be the case for a lot of people if they are terminally ill at such a young age, and not only unique to our industry, but even though - he is right that we often forget that it is just a movie or just v073 of a shot that nobody will ever really care about. The point is how to relate to that kind of fact, and that is something that comes to some but not all of us. At least that is my observation. I personally have been working hard on it and think there is a way to do your job, enjoy it, care for good results but also keep a certain distance from the "destructive" forces by reminding yourself of exactly how silly and unimportant things actually are. It is just a job, albeit one that I love, often. But he is right, we all might get bad news tomorrow and v073 will hopefully not be on my mind.

While staying late and working hard is okay, it should not torment you and you should not ever feel guilty for drawing a line. As long as that balance is found, in your own way, I hope that the regrets will be avoided. But who knows.
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Old 11 November 2012   #26
A lot of this does have to do with whether you are a workaholic or not. I don't/rarely work
weekends, I have great balance in life. I take on the projects I want to take on, and I position myself where I'm not forced into anything or be held at the mercy of others.

This is my personality, not anything to do with working in a specific field.

I love my life, my career and never regret getting into this industry. Unless you are from a wealthy background or incredibly lucky, you will have to do some kind of work. I definitely have ideas about ideals of work, but that's something i'm working towards.

Vfx has given me a lot back for what I have put in. Right now I'm sitting in Shanghai drinking an ice cold beer getting ready for a dinner party with friends, all of which is thanks to working hard and achieving a lot creatively.

Some of my best friends I've met while working, some of my best times have been while being involved in the creative process, whether on set or working things out with a bunch of people over pizza at midnight. When stuff really sucks, then I adapt and move on. I don't let myself become miserable.

My social life is great, I spend a lot of the year travelling and maintain a close relationship with people outside vfx, including my girlfriend. How ? Because I manage my time and my expectations, I'm not chasing an unreachable goal or setting my expectations too high.

I think the thing with life, is the grass is always greener, until you're there and you're bored. I spent months travelling but then felt the need to do something creative, and for me it's sitting down with a computer and creating things I'm interested in. When I look at the outside world and wish I could be there, I leave my desk and go for a walk. 5 minutes in, I rush back with an idea I can't wait to see realised.

I've actually considered just not visiting forums, as like reading the metro on a monday morning, it's sometimes just depressing.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #27
Originally Posted by mrcain: Some of my best friends I've met while working, some of my best times have been while being involved in the creative process, whether on set or working things out with a bunch of people over pizza at midnight.


That's something I just can't relate to (though I love pizza!), not saying you're wrong to think it but would you not prefer to of been with family/partner,going to the cinema, playing sport etc, I understand people enjoy being creative but personally my life outside work is far more important to me and I can't rank any experience I've had at work being amongst my best times.

It maybe I just envy you that your job gives you so much satisfaction, at the moment I am pissed off with mine!
 
Old 11 November 2012   #28
Quote: So can any job!


I don't think so !
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Old 11 November 2012   #29
While I feel sad that the man died, his message reads to me like a disgruntled employee rant. I've rad stuff like that before, by people who worked in a job for years and never grew a voice until they left or got fired, and by then it was too late to start complaining from the outside.
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Old 11 November 2012   #30
Originally Posted by Gooner442: That's something I just can't relate to (though I love pizza!), not saying you're wrong to think it but would you not prefer to of been with family/partner,going to the cinema, playing sport etc, I understand people enjoy being creative but personally my life outside work is far more important to me and I can't rank any experience I've had at work being amongst my best times.

It maybe I just envy you that your job gives you so much satisfaction, at the moment I am pissed off with mine!



Well look, last time I worked till midnight was probably a few years ago. Would I rather be doing something else that I do all the other time? I do all those things, a lot.

Would I rather spend my 8 hour working day in sales, making other people toast or working in a bank? Hell no.

I have an incredibly balanced life (I have a life outside work, can you believe it?). I've spent the last month working from home, and to be honest it can get a little boring, as everyone else is at work! I like working with people, it's social, I'm not sitting in a dark room getting angry and doing nothing about it. (So today I went to a meeting).


Back to the article, I think it's a good highlight/reminder if you are a workaholic to think about working late all the time expecting a heroes welcome, as that will just lead to disappointment. Do things because you want to do them, and try and work towards a career path that will keep you satisfied for the years ahead, and which will hopefully leave you with no regrets.

It's incredibly sad the guy felt the way he did, I guess the positive is in the last months of his life he realised what was important to him, and I guess that might have made a difference, in a good way. We all hope we can realise that early on, so if there is something to take from the voice of experience, it's to make sure you are happy right now. If not, do something about it!
 
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