Sunday, 20 February 2011

LinkedIn and other things.....

To help widen my online presence I created an account on LinkedIn. This way I can become part of a network and hopefully have a slightly higher chance of people finding me by chance for projects, work or full time employment. To be honest this is not something I have a lot of confidence in but it's worth having on the off chance that it presents an opportunity for me.

Screenprint showing the beginnings of my profile creation.

One final thing I have on my plate at the moment is my progress towards joining the Territorial Army (TA). Since I was 16 I've had an interest in the army and it was what I primarily wanted to do once I finished my GCSE's, only problem was that under 18s need parental permission to join and my mum wouldn't give it to me, so I stayed in school and got my A levels and eventually came to Ravensbourne. I personally think this was a good thing because it gave me the chance to stay with my friends a bit longer, get some qualifications and meet lot's of new friends at Rave. It's just ever since i was 16 my interest in the army has never gone away, it always comes back and i'd be torn between joining or staying in college. I always ended up staying in college because my fitness was never high enough to join the military, but now is the perfect time for me. 

At the moment I'm going through a stage of getting my life on track and organising myself, setting goals and working towards them. Because i want to have a career in the game industry I decided that joining the TA would be ideal because that means I get to be in the army but on a part-time basis so I get the best of being a soldier as well as a civilian. I can't really explain why I want to be in the army, it's just something I have to do for myself, but it does have it's benefits, i'll be the fittest i've ever been and will develop lots of personal skills in a professional environment, not only will I get more motivation and self confidence, but i'll have more self discipline and extra skills that will make me capable of being a leader and setting an example in high stress situations. 

So what do I need to do to join the TA? First I have to get my fitness up, the army has strict selection standards and if you're not fit enough then you can't get in. i have to run 1.5 miles in under 9 minutes as well as perform other tests which demonstrate my endurance and upper body strength including sit ups and press ups. I've been training myself quite strictly and have made great progress over the past month, I can now run the required distance and only need 1-2 more weeks of upper body training before i start applying. 

To apply I can email the regiment I want to join which is The London Regiment, C Company based in Blackheath, they will invite me down to talk to them and run me through the required tests, if I pass then I can join and start training. One of the main reasons i want to do this is so I have a change from the usual 9-5 grind of the week, I don't want to spend all week sitting at a desk in front of a computer doing no physical activity, so being in the TA will keep me healthy in that respect as well as give me many professional skills applicable to the standard civilian workspace that I want to join. I plan to begin applying within the next 2 weeks.

What's Next?

Continuing from the last post, I've been working hard and keeping myself busy. To help give myself more experience and confidence I offered my drawing skills to a collaboration project. The project is a competition entry for D&AD and the purpose is to create an advert promoting a new shopping centre in relation to the 2012 Olympics in London. My role was to directly collaborate with the project leader to create storyboards for the camera crew and director to follow on the day of the shoot. I was given a deadline of 1 week to finish the storyboards, during that week I created a set of thumbnails which are small rough sketched out storyboards, I arranged a meet up with the project leader so we could go over the work I had produced and get his input, he liked everything I had done and only requested a few minor changes. After that I went away and made the final drafts of the storyboard and then sent them to him that night. He was very pleased with the work I had produced for him, I was even happier because I put myself out there and offered my skills to someone else, they in turn accepted my help and valued the work I had done for them, this has greatly boosted my confidence, what's more is that I will be credited in the competition entry, so if we're lucky enough to win or be nominated then it will look great on my CV.

In terms of pushing my skills, I found a book on amazon which contains exactly everything that I need to know to fully learn how to work as a digital environment artist, it includes all of the technical information and detailed tutorials on how to carry out and produce work, i already know a lot of it at a basic standard but with this book I will now be able to get to the level I need to enter the games industry and even complete the little test by Splash Damage which I showed in the previous post.

I know I have a better chance of employment if I get work experience, the problem is that none of the game studios in or around london offer it at a convenient time, and some don't offer it all, also I'd rather not do work experience at one of the many post production houses up london like many others from my class do as i have no interest in that field of work. The Splash Damage website says that they don't run a work experience program but hope to change that in the future, I sent an email asking about this and in a way was also pushing them to offer me a short placement which didn't work, but it was worth a shot.

The image above is a screenprint of the email I sent to Splash Damage and the reply I got back from them.

Luckily we was informed via email from our course tutor about a 12 month internship with Disney Interactive Studios in London. This would be a great opportunity to get some experience, plus it would look amazing on my CV if it says I worked with Disney so I definitely want to apply for the internship. However the only problem is I need to know if it is a paid internship, if it is not then I wont be able to financially support myself through the year because I will have no income, to find out about this i sent an email to Disney Interactive regarding this issue, at the moment I am still waiting for a reply as it's the weekend, but hopefully Monday I will get a response from them.

Above is a screenprint showing the email that I sent to Disney on the evening of Friday 18 February.

UPDATE: Monday is here and I got a reply from disney, it turns out the internship is a paid one so now I am definitely going to apply for it. I have to sort out my portfolio, CV and fulfill the creative brief set by Disney before I can send off my application for it.

Above is the email I sent to Disney as well as the reply I got back from it.

Newfound Motivation

I think it's important to start this blog by talking a bit about how i've been over the last couple of years. In terms of professionalism I just didn't care, I was in college for one reason....I didn't want to go to work straight from school and wanted to live as carefree as I could for as long as possible. During my 1st and 2nd years of doing animation at Ravensbourne I was very unmotivated and was lucky enough to even pass my units, even getting into the 3rd year I didn't have any goals or ideas of what to do after graduation, I was just along for the ride to have a good time hanging out with everyone, work was the last thing on my mind and the thought of a career was something I would dismiss straight away, but this has all changed now.

One day, about 2-3 weeks ago at the start of February, I started to notice that things were starting to bother me and I didn't know hit me one day in college, after continuously seeing the amazing work produced by my classmates I realised that I felt inferior, I had wasted the last 2 years doing nothing, not even trying to push myself to improve my skills and that now I understood how far I had let myself fall. I know I am capable of creating great work just like everyone else, all I have to do is put in the time and effort and keep myself focused instead of being lazy and a bum. I went from spending a few days feeling like crap and not knowing why to actually finding the answer and now knowing what I want to do and how to achieve it.

So what do I want? I want to develop my skills as a digital environment artist and become part of a production team for a video game company. How will I do this? Practice, practice, practice!! For this role I need to be able to produce concept work as well as be able to model and texture in 3D. Through my GCSE's and A levels I greatly increased my artistic ability and have become quite competent at both traditional and digital painting, even so, I still need to draw and paint frequently to keep my skills fresh and to learn new things. For the 3D side of work I need to research, learn and practice what I need to get into the video game industry.

I went on the website for a London based video game company called 'Splash Damage' located in bromley, on their recruitment page they tell exactly what they are looking for in their employees for digital artists. This includes the type of experience and the relevant knowledge and skills required.

The image above is a screenshot of the job description.

This screenshot is for one of the projects set by Splash Damage to test whether you have the required skills before applying. You have to model and texture an object appropriately based on the concept image provided, if you can successfully do it then you know you have the right technical skills for the job.

Eventually I would like to to start applying to work at Splash Damage once I have the relevant knowledge and experience.