The Positive Side of the ‘NOTs’

      2 Comments on The Positive Side of the ‘NOTs’

Lollipops for Debi 🙂

In the last post I told you five things that storyboarding professionally is not. In case they came off with a negative feel, I’m going to flip them and show the positive side to those five things. Because there are two sides to everything and it’s always a good idea to find the brighter one, right?

So let’s spin these suckers.

1. I said storyboarding is NOT EASY. That’s right, it’s not. But who wants easy? Do you really just want to go through life without challenging yourself and pushing to do better? You can work in a factory or flip burgers if all you want is a paycheck. Do you really want to go through your whole life like that?

Some do. I don’t.

If you have the skills necessary to do storyboarding (or any other skill), you will be sought out. If less people are good at it because it’s tough, then there’s more job opportunities for the qualified folks. That very thing has kept me employed. Be good at something. Have a niche. The harder that niche is, the more valuable you are. Embrace it. I’m glad it’s hard.

2. I said storyboarding is NOT SOCIAL. Well, I don’t always have a problem with that. Yes, sometimes not talking to anyone all day can be tough. Yes, sometimes you miss the social interaction of a studio (if you freelance from home). But you also don’t have to deal with all the political crap that can go on in a studio/office too. All the wasted time. The stress of others that can rub off on you. You may not get along with everyone you have to work with.

It can get tiresome. And commuting sucks.

I like working on my own. I don’t need supervision, so I drop by the studio to pick up my show and go off to do my own thing on my own time. As long as the work gets done, I have the freedom to set my hours as I like. Then I show up weeks later, hand in the job and collect my check. If you can find a way to fit a little social interaction in your day (even if it’s online), you’re golden.

The freedom makes you feel like you really are your own boss. I dig it.

3. I said storyboarding is NOT ABOUT PRETTY PICTURES. This has an upside too. In storyboarding the drawings can be a little looser. Yes, these days studios want ‘little layouts’ sometimes, but they still don’t have to be as ‘on model’ as a layout artist or animator has to be. (Mind you if it’s a Flash show, no one is really drawing anything after you…but still). You have more leeway, more room to be rough around the edges.

This works well for me.

And the drawings aren’t always the fun part. For me it’s acting out the characters and planning the shots. That’s where my joy comes in. Forget the pretty pictures, I want to tell a story! The drawings are just something that I have to do to tell that story. If you just ‘want to draw’ all day, storyboarding may not be for you.

You’re directing the show in the traditional sense. How cool is that?

4. I said storyboarding is NOT MINDLESS. Well, thank goodness for that! Again, if you want mindless work, don’t even attempt this. Thinking through sequences and finding the right solution is good for the brain. It makes you better at your job and more valuable. Mindless workers who just want the ‘easy ride’ don’t get too far in life. Well, maybe some do…I’ve seem them.

But it’s a personal thing. I want to use my brain and figure things out and get better. I want to develop bigger ideas and try new things…in the storytelling world and out of it.

Don’t be a drone!

5. I said storyboarding is NOT ABOUT YOU. Artists tend to be ‘me’ kind of people. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But you need to learn to take critiques and learn from them. You need to learn to service the story and not your ego.

Yes, bring what you can to the creative table and add your ideas into the mix…it’s your job. That’s not what I’m talking about.

It’s when you make the show’s characters do something out of character. When you add weird ‘creative’ shots for no reason than to show off. It’s when you don’t listen. You have to do what’s best for the show at all times. It’s a good lesson to learn.

So yeah, a little humility never hurt anybody.

That’s why I’ve kept doing this job for this long. I have my freedom. Well, in a way…the job itself tends to take away much of that freedom.

So we’ll say it’s uh, freedom in theory. 😉

But when the contract is over, I take breaks. Sometimes for a couple of months.

That’s freedom.

I don’t have to be a superstar artist but I can work to be a good one. I get to work out story problems and play director. I feel my skills are valued and respected. And in the grand scheme of things, the storyboard artists can be at the higher end of the pay scale. I like that too.

But I also have other plans for my career and for you guys. I hope to have those things start to happen over the summer, so stayed tuned.

See? Not all doom and gloom. You even got lollipops.

Keep at it.

Be mindful of the story.

Get better.

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2 thoughts on “The Positive Side of the ‘NOTs’

  1. dan szilagyi

    You’re on the money as usual with these points, but i think in order to be “good” and sought after you need experience and talent, which can be hard ( they go hand in hand no?) but i think for sure being your own boss is a great thing ( teachs you how to manage yourself and how to focus) but of course that isn’t for everyone.
    now if something could just open up so i could wedge my toe in a bit….. 🙂

  2. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey Dan,

    Yes, to be literally ‘sought out’ you would probably need some level of experience at that point. And yes, you need talent. But in order to gain that experience, the talent alone can help you get it.

    Remember, I didn’t start with any experience either. A display of talent ‘got me in’. Then I had to ‘stay in’.

    That’s where delivering on that talent comes in. This where you prove yourself, show your professionalism and even personality comes into play. And a little luck never hurts. 😉

    Once you deliver, the word of mouth (hopefully) kicks in. That’s when the ‘sought out’ stuff starts to happen. People are in control of their ‘delivery’ to get that ball rolling. Of course, if there’s no work, there’s not much to be done about it.

    And don’t forget you have had your toe in. Many others don’t even get that. Focusing on what you do have and want will bring you more of it. I know it’s hard, but the negative stuff just multiplies on itself.

    You never know when that opening will come, so be ready for it. 🙂


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