Sunday, February 28, 2010

Experience is a "dirty word".

The worst word in the creative business English Dictionary is that scab picker, "Experience". When you are starting out in business it's the one thing you need but almost always lack and when you have pantloads of it you are perceived as an overpriced, opinionated bag of pain in the ass who will be too difficult to manage.

Ever notice that most job postings want 2 to 3 years experience and not 10 to 15 years? The only solution for this kind of ridiculous job market is to get a new job every 2 to 3 years that way you will have the perfect amount of experience every time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Post Story

Ever been in "post" with a knucklehead? It is a special moment. A favorite of mine occurred during a spot for a hospital chain near Cleveland. We were finishing the spot in "Flame" at a Minneapolis facility with one of the greatest Flame guys I have ever worked with (Jake Parker). We were busy compositing the animated character inks with several animated matte layers that acted as the character color and background. We composited in Flame (a very expensive process) due to the complexity of the animation and the amount of animated color elements, mattes and background plates. Things were going swimmingly until the Agency Art Director started putting his two flawed cents in.

The Art Director after finishing his large lunch that we hoped that would keep him quiet, started commenting on our color choices and wanted to adjust. There were several problems with his interference, one we were almost done (in other words why did he wait so long), and two, Jake informed him that it would be a difficult process due to the way he had set-up the file and gently explained (you always have to gently explain when dealing with a creative knucklehead)that it would have been better for him to have been involved during the composite. (I am sure that Jake was trying to help us here.)
Didn't matter. So "the Jake" started breaking apart a section so that the Art Director could bless us with his well fed miraculous eye. After a short period of time it was obvious that his color choices were awful. After an hour, the patience in the room started to wane and the eyes were starting to roll. I pulled the Creative Director out of the room and asked him to help us out and shut this guy up. He apologized, said he would wring him in and confided in me that this Knucklehead Art Director was of all things, colorblind. It cost us over a grand for the two hours of his screwing around and thankfully we ended up back where we started, sweet colors intact.
The good news, the Creative Director was a very loyal and wonderful guy who utilized us whenever we could and we rarely had to deal with the knucklehead again.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Can you learn from a Knucklehead?

Absolutely. The hardest lesson to learn in a creative life is to recognize that learning doesn't take sides. Even knuckleheads teach. They can teach us in a useful negative way, by showing us the bright light of what to avoid, what one should never attempt or do creatively. But there are those disturbing moments when the universe slaps you upside your silly head and gives an idiot a burning moment of creative revelation. Scary moments for they don't always know what they do.

I had a old high school football coach who taught an uninspired film class which mostly accommodated his need to snooze in a darkened room. He was truly a challenged individual and needless to say a waste of teaching flesh but he did display the first independent animated short film I had ever had the pleasure to see. This nightmare of a educator gave me the first breath of creative fresh air and forever changed my life. I am forever YIKED, bamboozled, and grateful.

So pay attention to the curveballs this universe so skillfully drills at your unexpecting head.