Animators! They’re a crazy bunch. Sittin’ by their computers all day manipulating dimensions and shit. What a life. Bah! If you can get it that is. Well that’s exactly what our friend Cam Gough (http://dirtypuppet NULL.com/) did. He left his secure job at a studio to pursue his dream of working for himself. At only 25. What a legend. So this week, we ask Cam why the hell you would take the plunge, and ask for some tips for when (or if) we do.
Junior: Everyone wants to quit their job and work for themselves, no matter if they’re into photography, film, animation, design, writing… Hell, whatever. What’s your story? Why did you do it and was the transition as smooth as you would have liked?
Cam: I was reasonably satisfied with the job that I had, but I was craving more. I had always taken on freelance and independent projects outside of work hours, but found myself enjoying freelance a whole lot more than my daytime work. After gaining enough experience in a studio, and with my roster of freelance work slowly expanding, I felt that I was at the stage where the jobs that were once just small side projects could fuel a career in themselves. I knew there would be a market for what I do.
When working as part of a Animation Production team, you often have a task, or certain tasks to complete, and your work is then passed onto the next person who has their role and so on. I felt that the working process was sometimes a little convoluted, and managing the pipeline became too much of a task in itself, and like most people in the creative industry, I had a desire to work on the most creative and satisfying work possible. So it was time to move on.
I had two options, attempt to move on to a different creative studio, or start my own. I figured that if I tried to start my own, as long as there were low start-up costs involved, worst case scenario was that I would be exactly where I was anyway – with a folio and experience, looking for work at a different studio – so why not give it a shot. I had confidence that the quality of work I could produce and facilitate had a place in the industry and the strong passion for what I do would make working hard at it, well, easy.
It’s been just over a year now, and I can’t really imagine working for someone else. Things kind of fell into my lap one after another with the few contacts I had made, but the most fortunate thing was probably having other friends in the industry who were in a similar place. They were great to bounce ideas off, gave me advice on working for myself, shared studio space and pushed me creatively. I think I’ve been pretty lucky in how smooth the transition has been and I’m very appreciative of it.
Jr: Can you give us ten key points to consider before any one of us was to quit our job and go it on our own?
C: Here we go…
01 – Love your work, be passionate about it, don’t turn your passion into a ‘job’
02 – Constantly push yourself, there are lots of people trying to do what you want to do
03 – Don’t ever burn your bridges, contacts are everything
04 – Have a backup plan
05 – Only promote the sort of work you want to attract
06 – Don’t sacrifice quality of your work regardless how big or small the job
07 – Quality work should always shine through in the end, the right people will recognize it
08 – Find a good balance between jobs that are good for your reel and jobs that are good for money
09 – Don’t over commit to a job that you may not be able to do
10 – Don’t sell yourself short