Pursuing a Career In VFX Was The Worst Decision i Ever Made

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  06 June 2016
Quote: nd the language thing is also something i've looked into but i don't know any chinese. My french is probably the best out of the languages i know but i can write way better than i speak. Italian too. Its enough to construct simple sentences, but i have to ask people to slow down when they speak. My german is probably not good enough. Theres the whole TEFL certification and whatnot and i'm going to get around to it once i have a chance (probably around the same time i take the IELTS for an international work visa) but all this relocation is pretty hectic


You don't need to know Chinese. You are there to teach English. The schools will relocate and take care of your visa stuff. Several of my friends work 2 or 3 days a week as professor level if you have ba plus TEFL.
It ain't that hard moving abroad. I've done it 3xs this year, USA to Japan, Japan to US, U.S. to Ecuador. Just simplify and travel light. If you have your BA you can teach English in most Asian countries. China is up and coming and since most folks would rather go to Korea and Japan there is not much demand. Japan is break even for English teachers but regular schedule. Korea save most money but bad schedule. China best schedule and perks but not as clean as other big two. Don't know much about teaching in Thailand but it has good infrastructure and is fun and cheap to live. Philippines doesn't need you. But yeah you don't need to speak the local language. I got by In Japan just fine. At the end of the day it is packing your stuff and getting on a plane. At least your ,only problem can be helped.

I hope you try those other things as well. Everyone else gave good advice toward your work. Just watch the language but I do understand the frustration. Those art schools suck. But you got your ba and it has some power to travel the world and pay your debt. I'm speaking from experience. Heck I no longer know how people can work 5 days a week.
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www.howtomakeyourownanime.com
 
  06 June 2016
Ok, I'll throw my two cents in, forgive me if I'm repeating something already posted. You went to school, learned a few things and made a few contacts. Sorry that cost so much money, if you had researched community colleges (plug) you might have received a similar or even better education for a fraction of that 48K. But looking forward...

You have to walk before you can run. Find small student projects. You say you're in the Santa Monica area, try going to UCLA and USC (or NY Film School) and offering VFX services to work on student films. Yes I know it seems like taking a step back and you need to make money, but you need a body of work that reflects VFX work. The images you are showing are very generalist type images. If you want a VFX job you have to SHOW you can do VFX. The only way to show that is to do it, so start with folks who need your services and use that work (maybe you do it for free or low pay) to get another VFX job. Use the contacts, the students you work with as contacts to try and land a paying (or better paying) gig. What many of my students find is that it is hard to land that first job. But as you build a portfolio of work around a specfic area of work, it becomes easier. Partly because you work with people and they get to know you and your caliber of work. Partly because as you build a body of work specifically around a specialized area, you no longer need to convince people to hire you. The work you did in the last job (or jobs) shows the quality of work you do in the exact field/specialty you are applying for. Your resume of VFX jobs completed and your portfolio of work will do the talking for you.

One final note. You have picked an extremely hard field to break into. Think about how many kids play baseball, then go on and are a high school star. Then they go to college and play and are pretty good on the college team. Then when they try and go to the majors, they realize, damn everyone is so good. You either elevate your game to the nth degree or not and get left behind. Well my friend the VFX field is as hard or harder to break into as any major league sports team. That is the hurdle you have to jump.
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Jeffrey Baker
Department Chair, Animation
College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA

Last edited by JeffB : 06 June 2016 at 10:19 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by Meloncov: Also, to my eye, the photo-editing stuff you've posted looks a lot better than the 3d stuff. Maybe spend more time searching for work along those lines?


Yeah, my first thought was that he could do work in the music industry doing album covers or maybe some stuff for Rolling Stone magazine.

The still photo stuff looks like it has a natural polish to it.

Like someone said earlier.. don't be afraid to do ANY kind of work... just make sure you get paid.

A lot of what Ben said is easily misinterpreted. Like when he says: "A friend of mine became a matte painter at Pixomondo but I know I'm better than him!" ... Actually it could be true, but reality is that it is partially about being at the right place at the right time.

The other reality, and I've seen this before, is that once someone does land a job doing any kind of CG artwork... they seem to advance very rapidly... though occasionally at the expense of their ability to conjure original concepts (but that is a different problem altogether). So that guy that Ben thinks wasn't "that good"... is probably a lot better know from having done those matte paintings and other tasks.

A lot of getting ahead in life is about knowing when to stay in position and when to move, and it's about being able to be honest with yourself about what your limits are - both in talent and in current position and opportunity.

But remember that being desperate is a conscious decision. One should never become desperate.
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"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by ilovekaiju: It ain't that hard moving abroad...
China best schedule and perks but not as clean as other big two...
But yeah you don't need to speak the local language...
At the end of the day it is packing your stuff and getting on a plane.

Correct!

A close family friend well more like a brother since I've known him for most of my life, currently lives and works in China, teaching English. Initially through the 90's he'd just save every cent then go on safari for 6mths of the year travelling through Asia. Whereby as these things sometimes turn out in the long term got married too a Chinese national, I might add to a very nice lady in the early 2000's and 'Bob's Your Uncle'... living the life at the moment or when I last checked :) He also speaks both fluent Cantonese and Mandarin along with a smattering of local dialects picked up via his numerous excursions into the countryside over the years.

So to the OP, I'll reiterate previous insights in formulating possible solutions moving forward, by thinking outside the box pretty much beyond ones comfort zone. Because opportunity in my experience tends to rear its head when you least expect it. Now the only trick, is recognising the moment and seizing the chance presented...
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I like criticism, but it must be my way. - Mark Twain
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Yeah, my first thought was that he could do work in the music industry doing album covers or maybe some stuff for Rolling Stone magazine.

The still photo stuff looks like it has a natural polish to it.

Like someone said earlier.. don't be afraid to do ANY kind of work... just make sure you get paid. .


If you think VFX is hard to get into, wait until you see how hard it is to get into music industry photography. Oh, anyone can shoot for a blog and never make a cent, but to actually get paid? Hardly anyone wants to pay anymore, and the few magazines that do, can afford to be very, very picky about who they hire. And they already have excellent photographers on their books. I know, because I do it on the side, and really wished I could make a living from it but that boat sailed a long time ago. The print industry is dying and very few, if any magazines are going to survive. And trying to make money working directly with bands is nigh on impossible. They don't even have money for themselves anymore.
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leighvanderbyl.com
 
  06 June 2016
Well, nothing is impressive in your work but it is ok.
it is hard to tell what you are good at, focus on a specific part like modeling maybe, and show only the model with a decent topology, then you might hand a job as a junior modeler, and I am sure after a couple of years you will become a senior in what you are doing.

And try to show some artistic skills in your portfolio. so far what I can see from your work is that you know how to use the tool, which is fine but nothing special came out of it. your textures is very plain and also your lighting.
so spend more time to study how each surface should look like and what kind of layers you should add to get a realistic result at the end.

apart from that, I am sure you can get a job as a junior position in a small studio. if you are targeting only the big studios so you have wasted your time.

and as everyone said, think again about what you said in this forum and try to correct it, using a bad language will not do you any favor. we know you are facing a hard times but believe me we all have been through hard times. the devastation and no purpose of life. but you will get through it and it is not too late to apologize.
good luck.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace: But even with the real mixed bag of teachers, my education didn't end at school, i'm pretty sure i've watched nearly every video digital tutors or gnomon has to offer. lets say hypothetically still i'm not good enough for an entry level job given a 4 year bachelors degree, and over 10,000 hours worth of work... all skullduggery aside, there is something seriously wrong with that.

Well this industry is very face value. Watching the videos doesn't mean anything. Using what you've learned from those videos to add all new pieces to a demo reel do. Learning all kinds of stuff and not practically applying it to new content is a dead-end. Anyone can push a buttons and follow tutorials.

You might know more about digital art than anyone you know personally-but prepare to be humbled when you are surrounded by everyone knowing more than you. And then learn from it. This is the world you have to 'break into'.

Originally Posted by flightspace: And what you're saying about cutting the line is absolutely true, i was offered a paid internship with pixar in college and i turned it down because it would have been nepotism. My mother met some of the executives over there on some kind of charity retreat and they gave me the internship without so much as even seeing a website while i hadn't even applied--dozens of the animation majors in my class had, they were better at it than me, and they weren't being considered. That kind of shit pisses me off. In hindsight, from a selfish perspective it was a total mistake. But it still feels like the right thing to do.

Had a conversation with a compositor from Method Design yesterday about this exact matter, Its hard to draw a line between networking and nepotism because people hire their friends even when theres someone as qualified or more qualified going through the traditional channels. (or the dead end email channel) It doesn't mean they're not qualified but there is a bit of favoritism, still, its hard to fault them for hiring someone whose work ethic and abilities they are actually familiar with.

Yup that Pixar internship pass was probably a really bad idea. Heck my mom helped me find my first real job too. But it was still my proven skills that landed it. But I never spent long unemployed since!

You can call it nepotism if you want-but networking is HUGE in many industries really. When somebody can *vouch* for you because they've worked with you before-respect you and your work and like you. Know you can make dead-lines. Are reliable. Its worth its weight in gold. As others have said-if a team know they can work with somebody Vs a total unknown-then the 'sure thing' always gets the nod. Nobody wants things to get complicated by 'experimenting' UNLESS your presented work is undeniably awesome.
So see above. Improve your reel.

Last edited by circusboy : 06 June 2016 at 01:30 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
Amount of time in school or watching videos doesn't mean anything, you have to demonstrate that you can actually do things. I've seen incredibly good work from people with like 2 years of experience, that means that people like that will get the job offers over someone like you with more years.

And if you really did pass up a Pixar internship offer, that's probably the biggest mistake someone could make in this industry. If you weren't good enough for it then they would have figured that out after you started working, no reason not to go for it.
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The Z-Axis
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by leigh: If you think VFX is hard to get into, wait until you see how hard it is to get into music industry photography. Oh, anyone can shoot for a blog and never make a cent, but to actually get paid?


But thats exactly the problem a lot of beginners in the vfx biz have: no contact, little to no production training, and a biz wich has a narrow thin employment rate.

As for Photography as a job: I don't think you can make a living without accepting the non glamorous stuff like wedding photography - especially if you don't have a name. Band photography is a _very_ narrow field and I don't think there are enough gigs to actually support your life through this alone.
(This also sounds familiar to the recommendations wich have been said in this thread, doesn't it ? )

If I would be you, I would release them as Creative Commons non-commercial on your _own_ website. So you get your name more prominent in that biz. And if you are lucky you might even get enough money from it, by commercially relicensing a few pics, to finance you equipment.

(Basically you make the following deal with the bands: free pics, but only if they are not used commercially. As soon as they want to publish them in magazines cd sleeves etc. they do have to pay for them. )

As said it isn't that much what you'll get through this, but it will bond your name and your work more closer to your image, than posting it on some random website with a little credit on the bottom of the image.

my 2 cents on this
chris
 
  06 June 2016
Try looking into joining some projects on Artella. Could be good practice, get you acquainted with working with others on projects, and help build a network. I haven't used it, but I think it's an exciting direction to head in and could be useful for people in similar situations as you.

https://www.artella.com/#/home
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-Michael

www.MichaelSime.com
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by leigh: If you think VFX is hard to get into, wait until you see how hard it is to get into music industry photography. Oh, anyone can shoot for a blog and never make a cent, but to actually get paid? Hardly anyone wants to pay anymore, and the few magazines that do, can afford to be very, very picky about who they hire. And they already have excellent photographers on their books. I know, because I do it on the side, and really wished I could make a living from it but that boat sailed a long time ago. The print industry is dying and very few, if any magazines are going to survive. And trying to make money working directly with bands is nigh on impossible. They don't even have money for themselves anymore.


I actually wrote my comment with a feeling you would chime in with your experience.
I am glad I was right. Although I guess I was also hoping there'd be some suggestions to go with it.

I feel in its maturity that VFX is just as hard to get into as almost any other line of work. In the Philippines, a vast number of Engineers can't find work... Who woulda thunk it?

The real failure though happens if one totally stops, eh?
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"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation
 
  06 June 2016
I think you really need to take a step back from your current approach. Dump the idea of wanting to find employment in the 3DCG realm and put that on the back burner as a hobby option for the time being.

Look into a field where the jobs are plentiful and focus on getting a job where the idea is to work for a living and the goal is to make money. You go to work, not to play. You might look into working for some Federal Agency where your degree would put you ahead of the pack even if it isn't directly relevant to the field you apply for.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by leigh: If you think VFX is hard to get into, wait until you see how hard it is to get into music industry photography. Oh, anyone can shoot for a blog and never make a cent, but to actually get paid? Hardly anyone wants to pay anymore, and the few magazines that do, can afford to be very, very picky about who they hire. And they already have excellent photographers on their books. I know, because I do it on the side, and really wished I could make a living from it but that boat sailed a long time ago. The print industry is dying and very few, if any magazines are going to survive. And trying to make money working directly with bands is nigh on impossible. They don't even have money for themselves anymore.


There is a saying/quote called Sutton's Law that is attributed(probably inaccurately) to a bank robber named Willy Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, his reply was because that is where the money is, or something to that effect.

If you are looking to service some sector for gainful and reliable return, the last place to look would be working for musicians or other artists who crudely put, don't have a pot to piss in. Been there done that. Worst client base to think of establishing a business model on unless you are working for one of the big boy manufacturers like Yamaha, Fender Roland etc and even then it gets tricky. The OP needs to get out of the follow your dream mode and get a grip on reality. Maybe even sign up with the US Army, Navy or Coast Guard for a few years to get his finances in order, learn some real world discipline and skills and exit after a few years of commitment with some benefits and ability to have tuition covered for a new and more practical major in one of the sure fire fields that are in demand.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by leigh: If you think VFX is hard to get into, wait until you see how hard it is to get into music industry photography. Oh, anyone can shoot for a blog and never make a cent, but to actually get paid? Hardly anyone wants to pay anymore, and the few magazines that do, can afford to be very, very picky about who they hire. And they already have excellent photographers on their books. I know, because I do it on the side, and really wished I could make a living from it but that boat sailed a long time ago. The print industry is dying and very few, if any magazines are going to survive. And trying to make money working directly with bands is nigh on impossible. They don't even have money for themselves anymore.


Actually music industry photography is one of the few sources of work i found that did pay. They're fickle, sure, but they're always trying to come up and they need promotional material to do it. Never shot for magazines maybe, but what you said is false, VFX is harder.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by Tama: I think you really need to take a step back from your current approach. Dump the idea of wanting to find employment in the 3DCG realm and put that on the back burner as a hobby option for the time being.

Look into a field where the jobs are plentiful and focus on getting a job where the idea is to work for a living and the goal is to make money. You go to work, not to play. You might look into working for some Federal Agency where your degree would put you ahead of the pack even if it isn't directly relevant to the field you apply for.

I've got a job interview on monday working the rollercoaster at NY NY in vegas. I've never gunned exclusively for CG jobs. In fact in my initial explanation i talked about going from mall to mall with stacks of resumes hitting up every single shop in there.
 
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