I had an interview today. One for a job I’d really like to get. I did reasonably, but, man, it’s been a minute since I last interviewed. There were a couple of things I focused on that I really wish I hadn’t, and one or two things I could’ve put more emphasis on.
The first is that I really am excited by the opportunity! Working for this particular group, even in a correspondence role instead of a creative role would be a great opportunity. That, and I really do believe I’d be an excellent fit for the position.
The position is part time with a possibility of full time. I don’t want to go full time in the position. I mentioned that, but I may have been too emphatic about it. I was also a little vague about my goals in the 3D industry. I am vague about my position in the industry.
The Interviewer’s Name
One other thing I have a problem with is names. I knew my interviewer’s name. Even if I didn’t I had e-mails I could’ve looked at to remind me of her name. I don’t know if I actually called her by name the whole time we talked. I was so nervous about getting her name wrong, even though I knew it! I didn’t say the company name either, but that’s so new and kind of novel I didn’t feel nearly as bad about that as not greeting her by name. Especially since I’ve interacted with her a few times outside of this interview.
Slight Tech Hiccups
It seems like every company uses a different technology for video conferencing. Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, some product rolled into their CMS, Discord, Slack, oh my! Most of my stuff has been through Google Meet. This interview was through Zoom. I’m using a desktop and a monitor that does not have a camera. So I tried to join Zoom twice - once with my desktop in case we needed to do any screen sharing, and once through my phone.
Being on the interview twice was a mistake. The interviewer would’ve had to have allowed both my streams in simultaneously. I quickly dropped the desktop connection and came in with only the phone. Even with that the phone app asked about 5 different “Allow” permissions. I thought I was actually in a couple times and it was still waiting for me to approve its use of the Mic.
In short, kids, get a friend, or a neighbor, or family to do a meeting with the application in question before your interview unless it’s a tool you regularly use. And I mean regularly. I had Zoom installed and used for another meeting a long time ago, but with phones removing permissions from unused apps, Zoom was no longer ready to go.
Embarrassing for somebody who’s supposed to be a tech, even if it was only a minute of fiddling.
I’m doing a freelance project now. I like the project, but it’s a lot of work for not that much money. I’m working for an individual instead of a company. I am getting to be a generalist, which I enjoy. I’m doing the modeling, rigging, animating, and textures for the main characters in the scenes. While I’m working off of. . . I guess written story boards, I’m doing all the animation, and adjusting based on feedback from the client.
That’s not to say everything is done from scratch. The client bought a pre-modeled house to act as the setting for the animations. There are a few other assets that have been purchased.
I’m learning a lot from the project. I’m learning how long it takes me to do things, project management, the back and forth with the client, I’m doing more animating. It’s a great project.
Based on the pay from this project, I would not be able to live on it. Even if I were considerably faster.
Small freelance projects probably won’t keep me fed with a roof over my head. At least in the short term they will provide me with some experience, but I’ll need to graduate from them fairly soon. I also think I’m a ways away from having the chops to go to work for Industrial Light and Magic or Pixar. I’m not a new college grad, and while I’m developing things for my portfolio I’m happy about, it’s not, yet, that impressive.
My portfolio on this very website has languished a bit while I focused on the freelance project and the Boltzman Collaboration project with CGCookie.
My Position in the 3D Industry
Where does that leave me?
I could freelance or straight up work for mid-sized companies instead of small companies or individuals. I could do commercial work. Literally do product visualization and/or special effects for T.V. commercials, add campaigns on the silver screen, internet ads, etc. I could also maybe get full time work for a company that has enough products that it needs modeled and animated that it’d hire me. Or, more likely, go to work for a mid-sized company that’s already doing that.
Or, I could try to specialize a bit more than the generalist route I have currently taken. There are a couple very talented people in the CGCookie community that I think could break into 3D work outside of modeling. One is a talented rigger, which, after dabbling my toes in that field is really challenging. The other is pretty great at writing plugins.
If I got really great at, say, geometry nodes, that would be something a bit more specialized than just a “modeler/animator” like so many others. I also think I’d like specializing in geometry nodes a bit better than a similar nodes based approach to materials.
Producing One’s Own Show
The other thing I could do, and I’m a bit nervous about, is to create content for YouTube ala CBailey Film. There are already a lot of people producing tutorials. I’d probably focus on actually producing a show. There’d be a fair bit of “Making of” streams, but I don’t know how popular they’d be. They’d be less edited, less tutorial like. They’d be more just me working.
At least, I think that’s how they’d be. It’s entirely possible I’d have to focus more on them just to have something to show. The trick would be to find a balance where the audience is engaged in the videos, but that I’m not spending so much time producing and editing them that the show never gets off the ground.
Ultimately something like that is where I’d really like to be. I’d love to work in a mid sized studio for a video game company, an animation shop, or a shop producing commercials for the chance to interact with others and level up my skills so I can more quickly and professionally produce content, and to avoid forming bad habits out of ignorance.
For the job interview I wish I’d said more of this, and about what I bring to the table for the position in question. I think I derailed myself a little with only wanting to work part-time, and once one gets a bit nervous you can stay fixated on your mistake. I just hope that I didn’t.
I think I’d be a great resource for them, and a part time job for a few years while I get my 3D ambitions up off the ground would be a great match for me. Particularly with the crew I’d be working with.
Back to Work!
And, now, I really need to get back to the freelance project I’m working on. I was stuck on a particular scene for a while, and I really, really need to make up some time animating the other scenes.