I feel trapped

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Old 09 September 2013   #1
I feel trapped

I've been out of work for a long time now. I scour all the job listings I know of every two days for places to apply to. Every time I hear of a Canadian studio, I check out their jobs page and often send over my resume with a general inquiry. I keep sending out emails that disappear into the void. I pester the few contacts I have once a month to no avail. It feels like I'm being passed up for younger people.

I should be working on improving my portfolio, and most days I try to, but the job search is so demotivating and I constantly suffer from a block. I don't think I could support myself freelancing, or selling models; it seems only an extreme minority of people can. My life's been stuck in a holding pattern for so long and I'm deeply unhappy. I feel utterly defeated and people are constantly asking me why I'm not working as if I'm not even trying.

So, aside from what I'm already doing, what should I be doing? Should I just give up and work at Subway?
 
Old 09 September 2013   #2
I know a couple of artists (including me!) who also have other non-art related jobs...

Sometimes to hang on you have to hold the knife by the blade.
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Old 09 September 2013   #3


Same boat dude. I've had a few big league jobs but then the projects end and before I know it, I'm sitting here again with my thumb up my butt sending emails out into the ether.

I honestly don't know what the answer is, although I can tell you one thing for sure. It has a lot more to do with who you know and being in the right place at the right time than you'd think. The VFX industry is in such disarray at the moment that very few are hiring, especially people outside their network. So keep pluggin' away and keep in mind that if you have to get a job at Subway or anywhere else, it doesn't mean that you've given up, it just means that you have bills to pay while you're working towards your next big break.
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Old 09 September 2013   #4
I've been where you are right now, it's not fun at all. I know it sound weird but people feel about you the way you feel about you. So if you're down on yourself, they will be too.

When I was breaking into the industry, I did some pretty shady shit to get a job. (not illegal, just... shady.)

For example: I would wait until Friday at the studio I wanted to work at, and around closing time groups of people would head to the local pub. (I was unsure which one so I just waited and watched.) Then... I would go to the pub. I'd talk to them, but say nothing about my 3D or desire to work at their studio.

Then the next week I'd buy them a round, and disappear before they had a chance to repay the favor. They'd leave thinking there was a missing piece of reciprocation in the back of their minds. (At least, I think...) On the 3rd trip I'd know some of their names and I'd ask what sort of business they are in. Inevitably they'd ask back, and I had a job the following week without an interview or anything. Because it turns out, *who* you know matters much more than *what* you know.

Totally shady, totally worked. Maybe you just need to think outside the box.

on another occasion I was a bit down and out during the very start of my career, so I did some teaching at the local art college. Boom! Work. Signed up for siggraph board... Boom! Work.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #5
Originally Posted by Diffus3d: Then the next week I'd buy them a round, and disappear before they had a chance to repay the favor. They'd leave thinking there was a missing piece of reciprocation in the back of their minds. (At least, I think...)


I like how you think
 
Old 09 September 2013   #6
Honestly, most of the gigs I got, the interview ended with "See you tomorrow." I was living in LA though.

Your avatar says you are in Halifax, I am thinking Montreal might be the most palatable cg hub near you. I don't know what your situation is like, but if you can afford a crappy job + crappy apartment and live within a workable commute you might be more desirable.

frankly, I don't imagine too many little to no experience people are getting into gigs that will wait for, let alone assist you, with moving close by. If you can't move...your assessment of remote freelance and model selling sounds pretty spot on.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #7
@Diffus3d - That's actually pretty brilliant. Kudos to you for taking a unique approach to getting your break. It's true though, it's all about who you know... personally I got my first VFX job only because I knew two people who worked at the company. I have since learned that working a studio isn't my cup of tea, but it's true that knowing someone is a HUGE benefit to getting a job.

My only other advice would be to reflect on your career choice and make sure it's the one you want to do. Jumping from gig to gig is pretty much the norm. Not saying it's good or bad, but you have to be comfortable with the lifestyle that goes along with it.

If you're like myself and after having a taste you realized you wanted out immediately, I'd say focus your creative efforts in other ways. Maybe get a temp job to pay the bills and work on art in your free time because you enjoy it. Perhaps try to freelance for interesting projects online if your portfolio is up to snuff and you have enough versatility. There are plenty of other ways you can still do CG and find joy in it. Not advocating you do any of these, just pointing out that there are alternatives and you should spend time figuring out what it is exactly you want to get out of your career. If it's working for a studio, go at it with everything you've got! If it's something else, pursue that!
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Old 09 September 2013   #8
I have to agree with people here....I got my 1st break in the architectural industry a couple of years ago because of someone I went to school with, he was the one who recommended me. But uh....have u ever thought of working as an instructor? I believe the Art Institute of Vancouver is hiring

Last edited by MissOptimist : 09 September 2013 at 02:33 AM.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #9
Originally Posted by Stankluv: Honestly, most of the gigs I got, the interview ended with "See you tomorrow." I was living in LA though.

Your avatar says you are in Halifax, I am thinking Montreal might be the most palatable cg hub near you. I don't know what your situation is like, but if you can afford a crappy job + crappy apartment and live within a workable commute you might be more desirable.

frankly, I don't imagine too many little to no experience people are getting into gigs that will wait for, let alone assist you, with moving close by. If you can't move...your assessment of remote freelance and model selling sounds pretty spot on.


Oh wow, I didn't notice that. What he is saying is also absolutely essential, you won't get hired unless you live in the city OR are incredibly talented senior-level artist. Sorry to say it, but that's the reality.

I applied to jobs to everywhere I could imagine while living in Ottawa, never ever heard back. Then I saved up enough money and moved to Vancouver. Two months after being there, I had 3-4 interviews lined up. You simply can't get entry level while living outside of the city, they just don't have time to wait (nor the interest) for you to move.
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Old 09 September 2013   #10
I should be working on improving my portfolio, and most days I try to, but the job search is so demotivating and I constantly suffer from a block. I don't think I could support myself freelancing, or selling models; it seems only an extreme minority of people can. My life's been stuck in a holding pattern for so long and I'm deeply unhappy. I feel utterly defeated and people are constantly asking me why I'm not working as if I'm not even trying.


First how good are you at modeling?
So many people come here and say they are tired or the industry sucks but never show their work.

I'm not trying to be harsh but maybe your work is not that great.
Maybe it is great but as some have mentioned maybe you are simply in the wrong place.

Also if you are good ditch the Turbosquid trying to make money and hit up the big niche market at DAZ, Renderosity and other Poser related sites. People buy tons of stuff there.
Make city models, clothing fantasy items, generic recognizable models (bigfoot, cthulhu, chupa cabra, dragons, dinosaurs, etc) Try custom characters (anime girl and anime boy, a real one! They need one there.)

I'm certain if someone made a real anime girl and real anime guy and put it on DAZ it would make a killing. Then accessorize it with tons of clothes.

Actual rigged cars and sets. Lots of sets.

Robots, ships, machinery, etc.
Everyday objects

All in PZ3 format! Try it.

I think you could make money if you can create quality items.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #11
I honestly believe you have to immerse yourself in your craft. It has to really be a passion. For the last five years or so I was jumping from freelance gig to freelance gig, without advancing my skills or being at all really motivated to learn. It just felt like a grind and the work was becoming less and less frequent. I had two choices. Either give up the industry and learn another trade from the ground up, or jump in head first into learning all the things CG related that I never applied myself to. I'm glad I chose to stick with it and pick up some valuable skills.

I think it helps if you pick up a skill/hobby that advances your career but gets you away from the computer. If you are a character artist, immerse yourself in figure drawing and that community. If you are a lighter, learn photography and how to shoot HDRIs. If you are an fx artist, find some stuff to blow up and shoot it with a high speed camera for great reference. Meet other artists who want to learn about the things you are interested in as well.

Just to reiterate, it has to be something you are truly passionate about. If not, you wont keep with it.

Hope this helps.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #12
Originally Posted by grantmoore3d: Oh wow, I didn't notice that. What he is saying is also absolutely essential, you won't get hired unless you live in the city OR are incredibly talented senior-level artist. Sorry to say it, but that's the reality.

I applied to jobs to everywhere I could imagine while living in Ottawa, never ever heard back. Then I saved up enough money and moved to Vancouver. Two months after being there, I had 3-4 interviews lined up. You simply can't get entry level while living outside of the city, they just don't have time to wait (nor the interest) for you to move.


Isn't Vancouver insanely expensive to live in? I wonder if its wise to do such a thing in this economy. I know if I were to do something like that, unless I managed to stay in the construction industry I'd be worse off if I was unable to land a CG job quickly enough. I'd probably opt to return home.

What I've read about the economy so far is that there wasn't a real recovery. Unless you're super rich, its still 2009 to you. Coupled with the glut of workers in the VFX/film and game industries... It may not be worth the trouble anymore.

Its definitely who you know... even my non-art job is the result of knowing and working with the right people. Sucks but its true. Of course, you'll want to appear competent and be knowledgeable about your craft, but still...
 
Old 09 September 2013   #13
Originally Posted by trancerobot: Isn't Vancouver insanely expensive to live in? I wonder if its wise to do such a thing in this economy. I know if I were to do something like that, unless I managed to stay in the construction industry I'd be worse off if I was unable to land a CG job quickly enough. I'd probably opt to return home.


Vancouver's cost of living is ridiculous. I looked into it while applying to studios there. Comparing what I'd make starting there versus a mocked up budget, I wouldn't be able to maintain the same lifestyle I had while working here. And I'd be living in a city with more crime, homelessness, drugs etc.

Moving without a job waiting for me just isn't an option right now. If I got an offer, I could go at the drop of a hat though.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #14
My advice would be to right now focus on diversifying your skillsets based on your core strengths.
If you are modeler, take some sculpting classes.
If you are a compositor/animator, take some broadcast classes.



Check out you local art league and take some core design classes.
Look into your local cable channel for some broadcast classes.

Volunteer at events like the 48 hour film challenge.
(There is one in Hallifaxhttp://artsscenehalifax.com/2013/07/31/48-hour-film-competition/)
Try developing assets for the gaming market.


Think of yourself as a castaway, and your porfolio + your skills as a life raft.
The more skills you accumulate, the stronger your life raft will be.

I would strongly suggest to start networking like crazy.
Look into organizations like IGDA, SIGGRAPH and check out the events closer to you.
Also Meetup. com is a great resource to get know local people.
And not only that, open your mind to trying new markets.


BTW When I get blue about motivation, I watch this speech from the movie Rocky Balboa. It helps me A LOT, and I do hope ot helps you a bit.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z5OookwOoY
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 09 September 2013 at 03:09 PM.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #15
Originally Posted by Maverick3d: And I'd be living in a city with more crime, homelessness, drugs etc.

Moving without a job waiting for me just isn't an option right now. If I got an offer, I could go at the drop of a hat though.

More crime, etc is likely a factor with any city bigger than Halifax.
There is more of *everything* - good and bad.

Only the largest of studios are gonna flip the bill to fly you out for an interview. And thats only if you can do something a local can't.
Even if you are willing to flip for your own transport-your current location might have you 'screened out' early in the HR process-qualified or not. But if you are local already...

Montreal is getting more expensive than it was-but it is still a walk-in-the-park compared to Van.

I'm a Haligonian born and raised-and been in the industry since the early 90's. But I've never worked (VFX, Games, etc) there. There is an industry there-but the saturation point must be pretty low.

But maybe I'll retire there...I miss the ocean.

Last edited by circusboy : 09 September 2013 at 06:16 PM.
 
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