Simple Advice for Digital Artists

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As my first post for DMA/LA, I wanted to spread a simple idea that I hope will give some of you inspiration moving forward with your career and as a member of DMA/LA.

Let me start out by saying that I am brand new to blogging.  When Ko first asked me and a couple of others to start blogging for DMA, my first reaction was that I have no idea what to share or talk about with all of you.  Many of you do not know me besides the guy taking pictures at our meetings, however, I am an editor/graphic artist.  I am not an expert in advice and this career, but nevertheless I am going to try my best to share what I do know with all of you and hope this will start a dialogue outside of our monthly meetings.  Everyone brings something unique to the table and we can all learn from each other.

I think one of the most important pieces of advice I have heard recently came from a friend of a friend via Twitter.  Chris Dowsett (@Chris_Dowsett), whom I met briefly at a NAB dinner, sent out a tweet several months ago that read, “Always take the job that scares you the most.”  I had never approached work with this mentality before.  The concept sounded ludicrous; why would I take a job that scares me?  What does that even mean?  I have never wanted to stress myself out by taking on a project that I didn’t have a clear and easy method to accomplish. But after thinking about what Chris said, I wondered: how am I pushing myself to be better?  What steps am I taking to land that dream job?  So a change was needed.  Thus I recently decided to take on this philosophy as a fundamental approach to my work.   After three months of working with this attitude, I’ve come to learn that “take the job that scares you” means to take the job that you aren’t sure where it will take you or how you will get there.  In fact, it’s OK to be scared and here is why:

Too much fear can kill your creativity, but some fear can also push you into another realm of creative expression you never thought possible.  Some of my best work recently came from a job that I took tackling the largest amount of work I have ever had to produce in the shortest amount of time.  The idea seemed daunting in the beginning.  Furthermore, there was a portion of the job that I wasn’t sure exactly how to create.  How was I going to do all of this work and how was I going to execute their vision?   “One day at a time,” I told myself.  I quickly realized it didn’t matter that I didn’t have those answers right now.  I would find the solutions as I went and, more importantly, there is a community out there that could help me when I was unsure of something.  Of course, the community to which I am referring is DMA/LA.  I found myself sending some emails to Ko and a few other members asking how they would tackle certain aspects of this job.  Sure enough my fellow members came through.  I had all the raw skills I needed to execute this job, but not the specific knowledge to get past one hurdle.  With some advice, I was easily able to confidently direct my skills in the proper direction in order to solve that problem.  It is invaluable to have a soundboard for ideas and techniques.  You are not alone in your endeavor to better yourself, your work, and your career.

The community of DMA/LA is a vital one for artists like us.  Reach out to one another– make it a goal to meet at least three new artists at each meeting.  I fully admit I am guilty of not reaching out during meetings as I move around like a stalker trying to snap some candid pictures of you all without stopping to say hello.  So come to the next meeting and reach out; you never know what it will lead to down the road.  DMA is only as strong as its members and the support we give each other.  There is so much to learn out there and no one has it all figured out.

So in the spirit of my own advice, I am taking the job that scares me the most and thus entering the world of blogging.

Brant Wells (@wellsfilms)

*Future Blog Posts will feature photos from the meetings, inspiration, and AE tips.  Look out for my next post looking at some of the best scripts I’ve come across in After FX.

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