Paying It Foward: How are you helping to mentor the next generation of artists?

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  07 July 2017
Paying It Foward: How are you helping to mentor the next generation of artists?

We live in a small world, and honestly we CG artists have to rely each other more and more.
So tell us,
How are you helping to mentor the next generation of Cg artists?
How do help kids from falling on the same traps that befell you when starting out in the industry?
*
I am looking forward to your stories..
*
-R
 
  07 July 2017
In the workshop I teach (http://training.cgsociety.org/cours...a-better-artist), it is crammed full of very valuable lessons that helps artists avoid the numerous common pitfalls that will show up during their personal artistic development and their professional career development. It's also filled with all of the most important things I've ever learned as an artist, ranging from the critical foundations, to effective time/life management, professional workflows, developing a compelling creative vision, to effective artistic development strategies. And I maintain a long-term relationship with my students, so it's just "good-bye, and good luck" after the workshop ends; we continue to interact in a private alumni forum, where I answer their questions, give them guidance and feedback on their artistic and career development, and share useful/inspiring resources. Even the students I taught from years ago are still in the alumni forum now and I continue to mentor them.
 
  07 July 2017
I try to answer questions, occasionally I get emails from other people in my area, my name comes up in the searches. I plan to do very short videos, a rigger's advice for modelers, texture artists, animators, etc, showing some useful things that would help in the work.

To be honest, I am a bit annoyed by the shear number of streams and tutorials.
"uuu, I drew two lines crossing each other, I want to do a tutorial about it". Or people who make tutorials with the things they just figured out, partially, so half of the time they are looking for some UI things.
It's remarcable that people we look up to usually have very few courses/tutorials.
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  07 July 2017
I try to mentor High School students. We work with organizations that bring students into our workplace.
Also I have been working to get speakers in the industry to give lectures to local school groups about the industry.
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  07 July 2017
£$%@ the next generation, I still have years of work ahead of me. The next generation can eat my dust.

Is what most of the industry thinks atm, Given that getting and keeping your place doing something nearly anyone can do with a few months of learning.
The claim of experience only goes so far when renders all look the same.
 
  07 July 2017
I understand that sentiment, but frankly what has let us to the sorry state the industry is in right now is that very same dog eat dog mentality.
This attitude is also prevalent in the computer sciences and it has been a disaster.

-R
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  07 July 2017
I try and be proactive on art forums. While I don't personally teach, I am very transparent about everything I do.
 
  07 July 2017
I helped the entry level talent for many years. My focus over the last 5 has been helping experienced pros stay employed and motivated. Once you experience a layoff, it can be a bitch getting back in any doors, especially if you are over 40+. It's worse with ageism and when you require a higher salary to support a family and your current lifestyle.

I got laid off last Christmas and haven't had full time steady work since. I just got picked up through a friend I've went to school with and have known for nearly 20 years.

That's been how most of the talent I know lands on their feet again, through their career long relationships.

I focus on those folks now. I feel better served helping the old guns. I compared us to the Expendables and one of them quickly corrected me by saying we were more like the Expendables (25+ pounds later)

My best advice to everyone though is to master selling, creating side revenue generating streams, and setting up your future investments.*

It's not a matter of if you get screwed over one day, but when. So be prepared for it so you don't have to feel the pain as much.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 07 July 2017 at 04:23 AM.
 
  07 July 2017
I would add, Network like crazy.
XLNT-3d you are good with 3D studio right? I know a studio in Alexandria that is hiring. Send me a PM with you contact info.

Great conversation guys, keep it going.
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  07 July 2017
Quote: I helped the entry level talent for many years. My focus over the last 5 has been helping experienced pros stay employed and motivated. Once you experience a layoff, it can be a bitch getting back in any doors, especially if you are over 40+. It's worse with ageism and when you require a higher salary to support a family and your current lifestyle.

Same here. I won't turn away someone younger who has a question, but I find more often than not that they don't tend to want help like a lot of us did when we were coming up. There are so many avenues for self learning now that I really don't know how crucial actual mentoring is. It can certainly help with some of your more intangible things, but in terms of actual skills? Most of the time the "new generation" folks have found the answer they were looking for on YouTube/VideoCopilot/Digital Tutors, etc in the time it would take them to ask me anyway.

I've actually found it more useful (and rewarding) to help the generation that came up right before me to advance their skillset and pick up new things so that they can take maximum advantage of the fact that they have years of wisdom and experience under their belts. My manager allowed me to set up a program called 30 minute Thursdays where I have three 30minute sessions set aside to mentor folks on things like animation/After Effects/C4D etc. 

We have about 120 designers/artists globally and I also lead a Skype call once a month where we review industry trends, do quick tutorials and share resources.
 
  07 July 2017
I'm a big fan of paying it forward. I continue to make free training videos, source files, scripts, etc. for the community.

https://www.pixelfondue.com/training/

I think everyone can add to the mix.
https://www.pixelfondue.com/blog/20...q=giving%20back
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  07 July 2017
Originally Posted by Crotalis: Same here. I won't turn away someone younger who has a question, but I find more often than not that they don't tend to want help like a lot of us did when we were coming up. There are so many avenues for self learning now that I really don't know how crucial actual mentoring is. It can certainly help with some of your more intangible things, but in terms of actual skills? Most of the time the "new generation" folks have found the answer they were looking for on YouTube/VideoCopilot/Digital Tutors, etc in the time it would take them to ask me anyway.
Very interesting.  I think you're onto something there.  When I was "coming up" maybe around 10 years ago, I was on these forums all the time trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could.  Guys like Jeff Patton, Zap Anderson, Neil Blevins, Tyson Ibele (and tons of others I'm going to forget to mention now, sorry) were fantastic mentors and inspirations.  It was very hard to find information and build knowledge back then, and you had to learn as much as you could and then try to piece it together.  Now, you can see entire start to finish workflows and video series online, all pre-made and ready to go.  It's so, so easy to hit the ground running and get up to a good speed that most people just go that route.  I do the same when I need to learn something new.  Why spend the time hunting around on forums for pros when I can go to Lynda.com and watch a few series to get comfortable with a tool?

I think there is also less to "figure out" now.  So many specialized tools exist that it's not a matter of asking "how can I do this?"  It's just a matter of saying "that's the tool that does this, let me learn it quick."  It also feels like things move a lot faster now.  Every 6 months there is basically a tool or workflow that can upend an entire pipeline and you need to learn it to keep current.  It definitely felt slower 10 years ago.

I suspect that folks who are working in the industry now and have been for a while might barely be keeping in the game themselves, and it's difficult to know how to give meaningful advice to someone just starting in such a different landscape.
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  07 July 2017
Buying drinks for them in pubs, telling them the stories I got told, and then making sure they get home safe when we're all too drunk to walk straight.

Edit: Actually, one of the things I do (in pubs usually) is talk straight about the industry and about ... money. I can't always tell people everything but I think there's a strange element of secrecy and bullshit that obfuscates the industry at the (especially) early artist level. Not enough people really understand what the problems are with our industry and they parrot a bunch of bullshit around it. I think more people need to understand the business of VFX, and it's something you don't get insight into until usually quite late  in your career. But yeah, requires a G&T or three for this to go down well
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Last edited by axiomatic : 07 July 2017 at 10:32 AM.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
I'm surprised that people sometimes have a negative feeling about mentoring others. I've mentored people for years and never feel threatened by them learning what I know. Despite popular belief there really is more than enough work for everyone and in the end, experience tends to be something you can never teach, so that usually keeps me ahead of the rest. It's also just good networking, i've mentored some people who in turn have gone on to develop strong industry connections, that in turn pushed those relationships in my direction. So see glass half full!  
 
  4 Weeks Ago
I'm all about taking my experience and abilities and show folks how they can help themselves.   
I've been training several people how to get out of the 9 to 5 job and use their talents to earn a living whether it music, acting or art.   I've had a few people I've been able to train to use their abilities to earn money and not have to do a job they hate.    I'm working on a few others now.  
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