30 Day Challenge – Day 8

“Why are you not currently doing what you dream to be doing, or in other words, what are your excuses?” Day’s assignment is to list the things that are holding me back, or that I think are holding me back.

Financial stability has always been #1 for me. I became a father young, 21 in fact. Since that day, it’s been foremost in my mind that I have to provide for my family. It makes me risk adverse, inclines me to take the sure thing. Bird in the hand and all that.

Fear of failure, or lack of ability has always been #2. When I first became interested in character animation, I learned about places like Calarts and Sheridan. I also quickly learned that there was no way in hell that could every be a reality for me. Financially, it just wasn’t possible. I already had a studio art degree, such as it was coming from Kalamazoo College a liberal arts school. I wasn’t going to qualify for aid and as I said, I had a family to support. So self education was going to be the way of it, and that’s how it ran for a long time until Animation Mentor came out. AM was the first time I felt like, “Yes, I have the skill and talent to do this.” I got good marks, I could help other animators in critiques. I could see well. I was technically skilled with the software due to my years of self learning. Coming out of AM though was very hard because I felt marooned back in my old life.

Which segues nicely into #3. At AM I often joked that if there was an island as far as it could possibly be from the center of all things character animation, I would be living on that island. Michigan is simply not where character animation is done. California, Vancouver, Montreal, these places are where animation gets done. I’m in the wrong place, but for reasons #1 and #2, picking up and moving just to search for work isn’t feasible.

#4, the competition. No matter how good I am, there’s always someone better. The number of seats for character animators is not large, so competition is high. Plus it’s a glamour position, like all things entertainment. Which means that there’s a whole lot of folks who want to get in. Statistically, that makes getting a break hard. Not actor level hard maybe, but pretty damn hard.

Finally #5, I’m not a sales guy. I don’t sell well. I don’t network well. I don’t shmooz. I want to do art, not talk about doing art. Walking around networking meetings, handing out cards… it’s a tiny version of hell for me. I like seeing what folks are doing. I like meeting folks who are doing interesting things. That part I can handle. That part’s fun, besides the whole insecurity thing of comparing myself to them. The whole notion though of trying to “brand” myself and sell myself and my work… ugh. I would much rather be in the studio, doing something that feels productive.