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How Bad Do I Want to Be Here? May 29, 2010

Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, animation, Memoir, Uncategorized.
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I had an interesting experience recently where I interviewed for and accepted a short-term position on an animated project. The company needed help tracking storyboards for a direct-to-video. Only two months of work, but frankly I needed the income and looked forward to getting direct-to-video experience under my belt. The fact the job wouldn’t last long I could live with; this business is about moving from project to project anyway and a video is naturally shorter than a series.

On a Friday morning I interviewed, by day’s end the job offer was made and I accepted.

By three in the afternoon the following Monday, I found myself without a job. Technically, you can even debate if I really had a job, since we’d been unable to make time to even sign the basic start-up paperwork. I don’t fault the company for this, some unseen factors came down the pipeline and in order to accommodate those, they couldn’t fill the position I’d been offered. Nor did it have anything do with my qualifications. It was just a production reality.

I offer this short tale as a warning. In this business, especially in the summer of 2002 as I write this, expect things to be very volatile. Situations such as this are a huge test as to how much you really love working in animation. Can you slug it through the tough times being fueled by your passion? It’s a serious question you need to sit down and ask yourself before getting in to this business in order to spare yourself some heartache. I know I never asked it when I started, so I found myself very ill-prepared to cope when Invader Zim got its order cut back unexpectedly, and even for the experience I just told you about. The result of this soul searching is that I’ve come to discover that I refuse to give up and this is where I want to — no, more like feel driven — to be.

Make sure you ask yourself the question. It’s probably one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.

Originally written: Summer 2002

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