Forgive the long post, but its my 1000th one!
Well, here I am at number 1000. My short time here has seen many ups and downs, I hope some of the new up-and-coming artists out there can pull some inspiration from this thread, and any of you old guys may nod your head if you see some similarities in your career path as well.
After graduating VFS in 1999, I lucked out and got sub-contracted to work on the intro to a video game. My first job paid a little over $1 an hour. The experience was great even if I got shafted in the paycheck. Students: when you hear stories about ‘paying there dues to break into the industry’, we have all had to do it. After spending a summer sending out my student reels and stockpiling all the “Thanks but no thanks” postcards the local studios, I took a break and travelled Europe for 3 months. (Sneakily funded by a student loan over-payment that I am still paying on .
My first ever realization that I made the right choice to do CG was one day on my travels. I was backpacking around one of the smallest towns you’ll ever not hear of in North Wales when I walked by a store. On a big screen TV I saw something very familiar… I didn’t realize what it was for a good 10 seconds or so then it hit me…
It was the game I had worked on 4 months earlier.
I only hope every person that has ever wanted to be a CG animator gets to experience that feeling I had. Heh, as I type this I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I went into the store and gabbed with the clerk for a bit. He was a nice guy, but was probably humoring this crazy over-excited Canadian kid. A few months after I get home from my trip I get a large tube in the mail. I open it, and there is the full sized game poster from the store manager…! (Some relatives went to the store after I left for home to give him my address.) How cool is that?
The first thing I did when I got back was get deep into Maya… Version 2. For me, it was like learning from scratch. If Softimage 3.8 was an angry canine, Maya was a schitzoprenic Grizzly bear with a love for PCP. It took me ages to get comfortable with the program, and it had so many features that I had never dreamed about (Can you say Set Driven Key?!?!). Salty the seal still haunts my darkest nightmares.
Fast forward to May 2003. I had a few jobs, but all were contracts that seemed to end as fast as they started. In a 2003 demo reel mail out, I sent one tape to a small company in New York. I almost didnt send the tape due to the high postage… (At this point, every dollar my unemployed-self had really REALLY mattered.) I had spoken with the main animator a few times over email, and they had me do some animation tests. In the end they gave me a chance and had me on a few short but EXTREMLY cool projects. They even put my name forward and got me an interview where I was flown down to San Fransisco. (I didnt get the job in the end, but hey… Thats good treatment!)
2 best things I have ever done for my CG career: Joined CgTalk and not skimped on New York postage
So now here I am. Posting in the Maya forums trying to help a few of the new guys get thier footing, and posting in the main forums trying to create Haiku that will keep martial artist tea-drinkers amused.
And to celebrate my 1000th posting, I have emailed the mods to change my username to my REAL name.
Mike Rhone… formerly Rhonedog!
Sorry for the long post, hopefully it was worth the read…!