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justinfromohio

Transitioning to another career

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Hey Everyone,

Longtime lurker first time poster. Just recently I've started getting burned out and just feeling stuck at work. I get home and try and force myself to do personal projects and can't stand the glow of my computer screen. I'm having an internal struggle on if this is what I want to keep doing. I came from web dev/flash background and once I learned After Effects it was on but now after about 5 years I'm getting more back into web dev and I'm at the point were I'm trying to decide how to delegate my time. I know if I try to do both they both will suffer and the work won't be good. Just seeing if this has crossed anyones mind and some opinions.

 

here's a link to some of my work just for reference:

 

http://goo.gl/FtzTkc

 

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You are not alone. Unfortunately, I do not have any answers for you. At the moment, i'm plodding forward and trying to keep myself entertained. Every now and then I get put on a pitch that's interesting or I work with someone who I learn something from. I know all too well how hard it is to go home and sit in front of a computer to do my own work.

Which of the 2 do you prefer to do? the AE or web work?

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If you are totally burnt on mograph that's one thing. I find I get pretty burnt out on just being in front of the computer all the time. I've find it helps to make your personal projects less computer centric, try some live action, some hand drawn stuff, some stop motion.

 

I guess not really a long term solution for career malaise but a good way to shake things up and get those fun creative juices flowing in the meantime and get untethered from a glowing screen.

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Hey guys thanks for the feedback. Lately I've been doing a lot of editing as well so I think that really ads to the dislike at the job. To answer your question oeuf right now I'm prefer web work, just because it's new to me and I'm making a lot more progress and its fresh and I really don't have a any real responsibilities with it just to learn. The standard stuff is what is kind of wearing me down at the ol'job and just seeing friends transition pretty well in there development careers is another thing that has triggered this debate. In my mind interactive designer would probably be perfect do some code and still be able to animate. I'm going to throw a new reel together and see if that triggers the happy back into my life. Thanks again everyone for the responses and checking out my work. Sorry for the rambling.

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Depending on where you are at, I would also consider going freelance. I have found that the longer I stay with one place it's harder to keep the spark alive. We are all creatures of habit and like to get comfortable. Granted, every situation is different, but one of the best things about freelance to me is the variety and being able to experience different environments and workflows.

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I think there's a few things to think about.

 

One, grass is always greener. So there will simply be times when the "other thing" looks more appealing. Those times will always come and go. So look at the deep ocean swells or tides of your experiences and not the "chop" on the tops of your waves when it comes to your thoughts and emotions about a job. If you follow the chop you will be a mental wreck.

 

I think it's common for people to have a job and a side hobby. On one hand it's good to have a job you love and would be your hobby, but at the same time, doing it for a living has a way of ruining it for you as well. I had a friend when we were teenagers who loved to hang out with me and play at the public pool. Until that summer he got a job there and became a lifeguard. Guess who stopped ever wanting to hang out there and play?

 

We have ad agency people call us every few months wanted to have lunch out of nowhere and it almost always ends up with a "I'm sick of my job, can you guys make me a : director / producer / exec producer?". Yet they went to school and had all their experiences in the ad game, not the film game. But they have these pivital moments I guess where they get sick of it. I will note for the record that not one of them has ever gone on to ever produce / direct / exec produce. Whereas I've directed commercials for a 13 years now and a feature film before that and I daydream about being a quiet TD in a back room of a major effects house getting asked to program cool plugins and solutions for their artists. That's why I hang out here at mograph. I have a real job, but I admire all the things that you rugrats do. My point is. No matter what the job, you will always admire something else and focus a lot of attention on it. So you should ask yourself is it your personal interest or your career path destiny?

 

Another thing to think about is your age and where it's all leading you. Harry "Gray Machine" Frank had a brilliant post a few years back about age, being over the constant struggle of being a mograph artist and the long hours to appease someone else or someone else's career. When you're a teenager or in your 20's or early 30's it seems reasonable but there's a point where you grow out of your give-a-shit to do that. When you have a wife and kids you will then be questioning why you waste your life clocking in crazy grueling hours, missing time with them which is the most important commodity to you at this point. SO, understand from this 41 year old - old dog. Life moves fast as fuck. I barely remember my 30's they flashed by so quick. Make plans that set you up for how you will feel in your 40s and beyond. Work towards that always. Don't be satisfied because you got a chance to work on some AE comps or some sites for some folks. For that is just the beginning. Where is that leading to? What is your end game?

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Chris Smith nailed it.

 

I think everyone gets to this at some point in their career. The toughest part, at least for me, is figuring out what *really* is causing the burnout. Is it boredom with mograph? Is it lack of "end game" with mograph? is it just creative burnout? Is it your employer grinding you down? Is it coworkers? Is it lack of time off? Is it personal/family problems? Is it physical/psychological?...I think you get the idea. We don't stop enjoying what we once loved to do for no reason.

 

Regardless of the cause and fix, digging deep to figure out your motivations is never a bad thing to do.

 

If you're looking for just a non-personal comparison between industries, I'm sure we can give you some biased answers here too.

 

My 2 cents: Compare the number of successful IPOs on techcrunch.com vs the bankrupt vfx/design companies on fxguide.com/etc. Which industry can scale? Which has better profit margins? Which provides the lifestyle/locations you want?

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Thanks for the responses. Chris you nailed it. I'm taking a step back and going to clear my head make the decision I think is right, I still want to do motion graphics but to what extent I guess that's what I need to decide. When you brought up age and end game, those are the two things that have been on my mind a lot and kind of what sparked this thought. I'm turning 30 in a couple months and I'm probably just having a freak out because holy shit it's 30, but I know it's not that big of a deal.

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I had that same mini-freakout heading to 30, but it's silly in hindsight. In your 30's, you'll look back at your 20's the same way you look back on your teens now. Basically, "that kid didn't know shit" is the sentiment, in the best way. And hopefully you keep growing, so that at every point in your life, you look back and say "I'm better now." So really, the anxiety of being older should be excitement for what you've yet to become. This is almost universally true, except for people who stop growing, like those dead souls who think their best years were in high school. Be excited. You've got a long way to go.

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I had that same mini-freakout heading to 30, but it's silly in hindsight. In your 30's, you'll look back at your 20's the same way you look back on your teens now. Basically, "that kid didn't know shit" is the sentiment, in the best way. And hopefully you keep growing, so that at every point in your life, you look back and say "I'm better now." So really, the anxiety of being older should be excitement for what you've yet to become. This is almost universally true, except for people who stop growing, like those dead souls who think their best years were in high school. Be excited. You've got a long way to go.

 

I am almost 40 years old and I try to live by this that Binky wrote. When I started it did not even have the official "motion graphics" name and I rocked the now obsolete "Basic 3D" filter on lots of projects... and even after almost 20 years, I still feel like I am just ok at this stuff. I know I am not great like a bunch of people here... but shit, I just can't imagine doing anything else. So I keep at it.

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If you can support yourself with freelance work, you can use your current career to fund a search for a new one. That's what I'm doing right now, and I'm so glad I did. Maybe you'll find something new that you love, or maybe you won't, but either way I think it's a worthwhile endeavor.

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Any career in an advertising related industry is pretty much unfuckingsustainable. Check the divource rates (or even better, lack-of-marriage-rate): leading all other industries.

Edited by parallax

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Great thread. Especially since now I'm in a similar boat. Thanks for digging this up.

 

I guess I should dig around the archives for all the great advice. Maybe we could start a thread that links to the best stuff.

Edited by jayfaker

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i dont understand how or why people want to leave mograph. it is the most diverse occupation with the most directions for potential growth i have ever heard off. There are soooo many things you can learn that will be useful. You can direct yourself towards character design, learn animal anatomy, story telling, you can go on a more macro level and write stories, you can learn biology and all kinds of awesome things about plants and how they grow and then use those skills in animation, or move into a more of a medical vizualization direction, learn more chemistry. Or you can learn to code and develop all kind of creative solutions to a massive amount of infinitly varied problems. Or you can learn VFX and blow stuff up, morph water into fire. and the list just goes on. And especially in our day and age where you can learn all this from your home. And i didn't even touch the interactive side of this. I mean, interactive projection mapping?! and then tie in any of the above mentioned areas into it. Growing a plant which is influenced by body movement and the time of day/weather outside. Comon, how cool is that?

 

And the great thing is this is all cumulative. You learn something, you change direction and the stuff come back in unexpected way.

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i dont understand how or why people want to leave mograph.

 

Sadly, it's a tough industry. Depending of were you work, things always take longer than they were originally planned. Clients will almost always value your performance based on the last job you did and the preassure is always there to navigate the subjective view of descicion makers, that is, if you are lucky to not have a pyramid of people that you need to climb before floating that little quicktime to the right person. Add to this, shrinking budgets, high accesibility of technology and the globalization of these services and you do have a pretty good recepie for a tough career path. The choice is to adapt to these changes and work smarter not harder. I hope my kids have some memory of me not sitting at this computer. Before you know it, you've spent decades doing this shit.

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i dont understand how or why people want to leave mograph....

 

And the great thing is this is all cumulative. You learn something, you change direction and the stuff come back in unexpected way.

 

I think mograph is a great first career. It exposes you to a lot of other people and business types.

 

Mograph as a business, as it currently is in the US, is terrible. The business model, along with what este.eri said, sucks. The overall situation still continues to get worse. I see no sign on the horizon of it improving either.

 

For some of us, pushing pixels all our lives might be enough. Hey it is a relatively easy living and at the end of the day you have made other people's ideas prettier. Where would we be without pretty ads or shows?

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I think mograph is a great first career. It exposes you to a lot of other people and business types.

 

Yeah it's funny even in Vozz's response you can kind of see that in all the way he is branching off the possibilities of mograph, it's more of a starting point than an end point.

I really feel like the term motion graphics is almost becoming meaningless, now that it's so main stream and intermeshed with VFX and the rest of post in general.

I'm interested to see where it all goes in my little end of the globe I really feel like I am witnessing the death of the agency which is quite painful right now (at least for my business), as well as a general move to quantity of media vs. quality, but could end up being really beneficial in the long run (e.g. smaller budgets but mograph shops are direct to client so agency has no cut).

At my shop we've started developing some of our own content/IP to try and monetize that, as well as partnering with some technology companies to develop products. So I'm still loving "mograph" but it's definitely not the old pure service model of mograph (although we still mostly pay the bills with that), it's definitely fun, still too early to say if it will actually be financially viable.

I'm definitely in a place of being burned out on what mograph was for me, and a lot of that has to do with the brutal business model, but I'm loving the process of taking what I've learned and trying to re-invent my business and exploring what I can do with that but only time will tell if it actually works.

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But what are the better options out there?

 

and yes, by mograph, i don't mean purely animating typographic design, by mograph i mean animation of all types and flavors, with a target towards the advertising industry.

 

I personally can't work on feature films, they would just bore me to no end working on the same project for years. And then getting screwed over by the studio... no thanks =)

 

But doing stuff for tv is great, everything is relatively short, there is heaps of variety. In the last 3 months, ive worked on airplanes, dolphins, water sims, cartoon parrots, new deco style set design, horses on a looping track and then some particle animations to top it all off. Where else is there going to be that much variety?

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I'm definitely in a place of being burned out on what mograph was for me, and a lot of that has to do with the brutal business model, but I'm loving the process of taking what I've learned and trying to re-invent my business and exploring what I can do with that but only time will tell if it actually works.

 

 

Same here. I've worked with networks and agencies of all levels. That experience has to be put to use. I think creating your own content is a really good way to go.

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