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 Unemployment Power-Ups | Scott Wiser :: ★ Animator ★ Filmmaker ★ Storyteller ★

Unemployment Power-Ups

Six months of bliss, working in my dream job, certain I had finally broken in to the animation industry. But the job ended with the project.  And fortunately that wasn’t the end of my story. What did I do next?

I powered up on unemployment! Anyone who has been “unemployed” for a month or more is familiar with the difficulties. When the going got tough, I would google “How to Survive Unemployment” and found plenty of articles. But I quickly realized I’d rather THRIVE than just SURVIVE. I’ve always marveled as the metaphor of pressure turning coal into diamonds, but it get’s abstract when you want to power-up yourself and become a diamond.  I’m not made of coal.  And rocks merely survive, plants merely flourish, animals follow instinct. What do human’s do? How can be become dazzling as diamonds? Hopefully we realize that unemployment (or any tough period) isn’t the end of the story, but a beginning of what could be one of the best periods of our life.

40+ Hours a Week

If we want a job, finding a job is now our full-time job. This is common knowledge. But for me the power up came when I contacted studio recruiters, found our what they want me to be, and worked 40 hours a week pushing myself to meet their expectations. In my case, this meant meeting deadlines and pushing each new animation to a higher level than the last.

Collaborate!

That’s my new favorite word, and a true power-up. For me, the more collaboration the better, so I found several people who dreamed of vocal acting and recorded with them. I consulted with other artists and even people from other disciplines while building projects. I asked for opinions and feedback on my work and relished the opportunity to improve. Working with people is the most fulfilling! It’s the thing I miss most about working in a studio. So any time I can collaborate, I relish it. [Update : Though brief, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to work as a generalist with Maxwell Products on some animated marketing videos, with Farr’s Fresh on some character designs & poses, with my great friend Chris Oatley at his awesome online academy, etc. These experiences have renewed my conviction that collaboration is the way to go!]

Make a Progression Plan

Success comes from making goals and reaching them – common knowledge again. So why aren’t we all millionaires and Olympians? We could all reach that level of greatness simply by discovering their footsteps, adapting their plan to our situation, finding mentors, and following through. Practice will make “perfect” if our goal is to improve with each repetition. But here’s the WARNING: We will likely doubt our abilities to reach greatness.  As great artists before me, I more I stick through those times of “can I really do this?” the more I meet people’s enthusiasm toward my work. Planning has equipped me to explore continually greater heights. Download my Free Power-Up Worksheet to begin your own progression plan.

Re-energize For Productivity

Time management transformed my abilities not only at Rhythm & Hues, but also in the many months since. I am so passionate on the subject that I chose it as my upcoming guest post on paperwingspodcast.com. But if we aren’t careful, time management may become wasteful.  When planning our time, we can choose two types of activities : those that take energy and those that re-energize. Mixing in re-energizers can maximize productivity. For example, for a few months I sketched about 3000 facial expression from Mark Simon’s book as a way to pass the time playblasting my animation. Because animation takes a long time to perfect, the quick, successful (or even non-successful) sketches gave me a boost of accomplishment and made my facial animation better to boot!

Eating Healthy, Meditation (prayer/pondering/whatever-you-call-it), sunshine and exercise are also great energizers. Oh and I love to read – that’s one of my favorite energizers when I have time. But we have to be careful. While many people consider internet surfing to be a re-energizer, it sucks my energy away. So I personally highly limit the amount of time I spend on the internet. And because of this, I have more energy and more successes. In short, some activities might appear to re-energize when they actually do the opposite.

The End Of My Story

Though I have not yet reached the end, and employment will be a new beginning, I am having the time of my life. My demo reel is night-and-day different, I have climbed personal mountains, and because of these things I am confident I will be so much more valuable to the next studio. My new digital picture book has excited collaborators every step of the way and is positioned to sell successfully. And hopefully, my words help someone else out there, hoping to power-up during unemployment or any difficult period of life. I can’t wait to hear about YOUR successes!

It’s possible for the middle of the story to be just as amazing as the beginning and end, even if unemployment is in the title. It all depends on how we write.

Download the Power-Up Worksheet
Please share your success stories in the comments

30. December 2012 by Scott Wiser
Categories: Creativity, Productivity | 19 comments

  • http://jagoanimation.com/blog/ Juan Gomez

    Sometimes I need inspiration to keep going, and that post in your site has given me a boost. Thanks man! I have been working for on Games and TV and i want to make it to Feature Film.

    I find it hard to believe that with your skills and a reel like yours you’re not working at a big studio. Man your work is awesome, really nice! Congrats. keep working hard.

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      YESS!!! That’s what I was hoping for. I’m a fan of your work and I know your reel ranked high on YouAnimator. So it’s only a matter of time and work, and hopefully our paths will cross at a studio someday.

  • David Wilson

    Solid and well said Scott. Thanks for the post. I like your breakdown of activities: take vs. give energy. Getting stuck in either one so counter-productive.

    I think it’s also important to evaluate whether the actions that TAKE energy are directed toward the goals, small business can suck energy with little to show for the effort/time needed.

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Yep, too many re-energizing activities could easily become PROCRASTINATION.

  • David Edwards

    A great article that I personally think can be applied to more than just unemployment! Thanks for sharing your thoughts — it challenges me to do more than just survive but to thrive! Thanks Scott!

  • Ashley Hansen

    I loved reading this!! You are an amazing person Scott!! I know you will go far and get a great job doing what you love :)

  • Eruanna

    I think the advice re-energize away from the computer is extremely important. I remember my college roommate last year very rarely left the room. When she wasn’t working, she was watching a movie or doing something on her laptop. She never went to the gym, hung out with friends… and she always seemed stressed, tired, etc. For digital artists or people who pretty much make their living off the Internet, I think it’s essential to spend time AWAY from the computer, doing something unrelated to give your mind and body a break.

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Absolutely. Thanks for your additional insight.

  • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

    YESS!!! That’s what I was hoping for. I’m a fan of your work and I know your reel ranked high on YouAnimator. So it’s only a matter of time and work, and hopefully our paths will cross at a studio someday.

  • Michael Loeck

    Are you still looking for work?

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Hey Mike! I am still looking, but there are some really cool possibilities coming up in the next few weeks!

  • Yep

    Test

  • Rick Hill Studio

    This is great stuff! It’s always nice to read about a creative that’s found ways to stay positive in tough times. We’ve all been there and if you haven’t, it will happen. Thanks for sharing and your advice is spot on. I’m a character designer that’s hustling every day. I wanted to add, making contacts has been huge for me. Find creatives you admire and contact them.

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Yes, making contact has been HUGE for me as well. Thanks!

  • Marcus Busher

    Hey Scott, for someone who doesn’t live in industry heavy area, how would you suggest finding and talking with “studio recruiters” ?

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Hey Marcus, Good question. That can be tricky because you don’t want to just call them unless you have something REALLY good to say. The fastest way would be to go to CTNX in November … there’s nothing like a face-to-face connection. The slower way, but an actually great way, is to start connecting with artists in the industry through their blogs, twitter, etc. Build relationships by contributing to their interests (waiting AWHILE before you ask for something in return) and working from there. These connections could lead to other connects, but the focus should be QUALITY more than quantity. Don’t connect just to connect … connect to build a sincere relationship. If you want more information on this subject, read the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Hope that helps and thanks for visiting!

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Hey Marcus, Good question. That can be tricky because you don’t want to
      just call them unless you have something REALLY good to say. The fastest
      way would be to go to CTNX in November … there’s nothing like a
      face-to-face connection. The slower way, but an actually great way, is
      to start connecting with artists in the industry through their blogs,
      twitter, etc. Build relationships by contributing to their interests
      (waiting AWHILE before you ask for something in return) and working from
      there. These connections could lead to other connections, but the focus
      should be QUALITY more than quantity. Don’t connect just to connect …
      connect to build a sincere relationship. If you want more information on
      this subject, read the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”
      Hope that helps and thanks for visiting!

    • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

      Hey Marcus, Good question. That can be tricky because you don’t want to just call them unless you have something REALLY good to say. The fastest way would be to go to CTNX in November … there’s nothing like a face-to-face connection. The slower way, but an actually great way, is to start connecting with artists in the industry through their blogs, twitter, etc. Build relationships by contributing to their interests (waiting AWHILE before you ask for something in return) and working from
      there. These connections could lead to others, but the focus should be QUALITY more than quantity. Don’t connect just to connect … connect to build a sincere relationship. If you want more information on this subject, read the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Hope that helps and thanks for visiting!

  • http://www.scottwiser.com/ Scott Wiser

    As a late follow up to this post, I’m now working as an artist and animator at Weber State University … currently creating a new, innovative CG animated character! I’ll write a new post on that adventure soon! It’s pretty cool … what started as a small (generally student-filled) position has become much more!

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