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Neonski

EPIC Depression !!! Advice please.

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I've been working as a motion designer for 6 years now on TV-Staion here in Croatia and I must say I'm a little bit lost. I'm afraid that working as an in-house designer I will never live up to my full potential, main reason being that I clash with the firms view of values and style. So most of the time i force myself to do things that are completely uninteresting, and usually I lose so much energy defending the idea, correcting it until its unrecognizable, that i don't want to have anything to do with it in the end. That happens because there are no clear roles in the management.

 

I tried to find a different job, but the croatian market for motion design is so small that its impossible, I got a few job offers, but all of them in end were less paid and it always the same system. Familiar frustrations would surface soon, and then I would be stuck in the same situations with even less money

 

Simultaneously i try to work on side projects for some times, and lay the ground for going freelance, and now a few years later i find myself burned out and not step further to starting my freelance career. I have always some clients from here, but the fees are so low that its better not work at all. And I learned that working freelance and full job simultaneously is just watering down my work because I'm to tired and overstressed to make it look great. So i keep producing average results and going further and further from the path i wish to be on.

 

I would like to start working over the internet on the international market. But i need a honest opinion.

 

Here is my reel

 

www.neonski.com

 

 

Can i make stuff good enough for the international market. Where to start. Be as brutal as you like. Maybe i just need a cold shower, maybe I just don't have what it takes to make it on my own.

Edited by Neonski

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First off, I think you need to recut your reel because there is some really cool stuff on your vimeo that's not included in your reel (the Sirup pieces). You have some nice illustration and print work that looks like it shows off your personal style more than some of the pieces in your reel do. Why not animate some of those?

 

I don't think your reel opens very strongly either. The title screen is very random. Randomly placed star balls, randomly moving red flourescent tubes, random camera wiggle and blur, and a film dust and scratch effect that appears to be a random addition. So it's not a very strong first impression. Then the next few shots we see are not some of your strongest pieces either. The first one I like is the flower opening.

 

You could definitely get work in the U.S. if you lived here. The problem right now is that there's probably nothing that jumps out and would make somebody say "OMG I have to work with this guy in Croatia" over hiring somebody local.

 

I think your options are:

 

1: Move

2: Start your own studio where you live that fixes the problems you see with other Croatian companies.

3: Keep your day job and do good work there when you can. Don't get so emotionally invested in it, and just let the bad stuff be. Keep working on personal stuff in your spare time, and gradually build your reel up, but be much more selective about what you include. Try to get your work up to the point where you would stand out in an international market as somebody that people will want to hire no matter where you live because you're provding something they can't get elsewhere.

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I feel your pain. I'm kind of in the same situation, although I'm in NYC (so I do have a bigger freelance opportunity). I work for a major corporation and the artistic vision they have often clashes with mine. I know how disheartening it can be to work on something you are just not in to. I'm also in the midst of branching out and starting my own freelance business, but like you said, along with a full time job, the stress and how tired you get can be very overbearing.

 

 

I read a thread on freelancing here a while ago and most people say to just jump right into it. Bite the bullet, leave your job and start freelancing. Not sure if I'm ready for that just yet, but maybe you are. Lots of freelancers were saying, in hindsight, it was a great decision.

 

My advice would be to really examine if you are committed to staying in Croatia. Is there another place (bigger city) you'd be willing to move to?

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Hey Neonski,

 

nog is absolutely right, the reel is very random and the opening needs to be re-worked. I'm also noticing too much repetition in the pieces, I would try to cut a reel thats under 1 minute. Other than that you obviously have talent and I think you could definitely find work, we just have to get you to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

 

Now as far as nog advice (which i totally agree with):

 

1: Move

This would be amazing for you, a change of environment and energy will help you break from the "depression" that your feeling right now. I moved back to NYC to get that environment back, you need to be at a place that you don't hate so you can make good work haha

 

2: Start your own studio where you live that fixes the problems you see with other Croatian companies.

If you could do this, that would be a amazing but I think the move is a better option

 

3: Keep your day job and do good work there when you can. Don't get so emotionally invested in it, and just let the bad stuff be. Keep working on personal stuff in your spare time, and gradually build your reel up, but be much more selective about what you include. Try to get your work up to the point where you would stand out in an international market as somebody that people will want to hire no matter where you live because you're provding something they can't get elsewhere.

nog is onehundredandfiftythousandpercent right on this ... I've had to do jobs that I could care less about. So to keep my sanity I don't get invested in them. I still do a good job but if they want to change things, I just think "it ain't no thang" haha

 

This may not be the best or most complete answer but it's a start for you, don't stress out so much and just focus on what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

Good luck duder

Florio

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I would say keep your eye out for people that could either bring connections or producer skills or both, and set yourself up financially and then set up yourself as a lean mean mograph company

 

i know thats easier said than done and thats maybe built on a US city or big Euro city model - dont know about the economics or moving options from croatia.

 

That is the middle class curse though, being tied to a reliable source of income that cuts off your growth potential in favor of stability

 

good luck man - i think a lot of us go through periods like that - yeah and really work on having a sick reel, which by the looks of it you have the skills to do

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neonski, you have some very strong, original looking work... though mostly in that newer stuff on your vimeo (missing from your reel) and in your print projects. especially considering you work in such a (relatively) small market. here are some thingees that might help...

 

- like others said, recut your reel. i feel like you've managed to make your work look less impressive than it is. bolder, snappier, tighter, blah blah blah. i feel like you could just have all your individual projects on your site too, so you could just cut it down more to just the frosting moments. maybe throw in a quick sequence of your print work, to help show your more innovative design sensibilities that don't get a chance to be used in your motion projects.

 

- at your job, if you have a lot of ho-hum projects, adapt what i call the "1.5 second rule". meaning that with every project, no matter how lame or bang-outty, put in a 1.5 second portion that you're proud of and uses some technique etc that you've been wanting to try. as for the project overall, just give the producer/client what they want instead of burning your coals on fruitlessly fighting for more innovation in the project. before too long, you'll have a bunch of new juicy clips for your reel that show a wider range of looks/techniques.

 

- don't say where you are in your site bio if you're courting international clients. too many will see that and just prefer to find someone closer... unless you're somewhere like london or LA or somewhere where your close proximity to a lot of clients will be a benefit. maybe just specify that you're an EU citizen, i dunno?... if that seems to be a beneficial thing to mention. if you being in croatia is a benefit to a prospective client, you can mention in the email you send them, etc.

 

- if you can't seem to get any fun, good-paying freelance projects at the time (recession, duh), then maybe go after some that fulfill the following criteria: 1. will allow you to make something quality & innovative, and 2. will reach a lot of eyeballs that are attached to the skulls of people who hire motion designers... like maybe if there's any film festivals that you can do the opening intro for (guaranteed to pay horridly but be seen by influential people and they'll probably be open creatively).

 

- approach unconventional clients. like any interactive shops that might want prerendered motion design elements to a flash site. Or any company that ever does anything video, like to put on their youtube or whatever. these kind of new clients might be a nightmare due to a combo of their inexperience working with motion designers and low pay, but even having an initial meeting with them (even if you end up declining) will result in new contacts that later down the road could lead to good projects via a referral or them changing jobs, etc.

 

- find the biggest band on the biggest, most organized record label you get obtain access to, and make a video for them. the good thing about this is that once you're done, someone else will be spending time & energy putting it in front of as many eyeballs as possible, which is arguably even more important that being actually good at design/animation.

 

- make a personal project that is about something you care about. not just a strategic self-promo project, but make sure it's about something you wanna convey (ie. make 'art" as cheesy as that sounds). it won't feel like work that way. make a thingee about how you hate your current job, whatevs.

 

- and of course... maybe move somewhere where there's greater quantity and quality of work.

 

hope this somehow helps & best of luck.

Edited by jaan

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Well fellow motiongraphers I must admit I am pleasantly surprised.

 

Some great advice here. The main one begin recutting my reel and moving. I will make a new cut ASAP. Also I would like to move but Croatia is not in the EU yet so this complicates things a bit.

Actually there are lots of great ideas in this post and directions.

 

Thank very much.

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