Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What If My Dreams Don't Come True?

There's a lot of commotion and influx going on in the animation industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Many animators and visual effects artists have been given a pink slip as of late and jobs are becoming more and more scarce. This leads to a lot of speculation as to where the industry is going and how long things will stay this way. 
Those who have had the joy stripped away from them are no doubt dealing with the loss, and my heart goes out to you and your families, but there are also those who are still working to earn their degrees and watching all of this in horror.
What if I never get to work at Disney/Pixar again?
What if I never get to work at Digital Domain? 
What if...
What if...
What if...
What if my dream never comes true?
I read an excellent article by Chris Oatley that finally inspired me to write after a long hiatus. He addressed the issue and asked, "How should you respond to the troubling news about the animation industry?". Please read his article and take his awesome advice, but I want to offer you a different gift. Perspective. I know this won't mean much to you right now as you stare at your dwindling bank account or are staring at graduation day, but I hope it resonates with you nonetheless.
“Your dreams don’t define you”
That phrase by Chris Oatley sums it up for me. As artists we believe a paycheck from a major employer makes us artists. We use the phrase Aspiring Artist because we've yet to gain employment with a major studio, but the truth is we became artists the first time we picked up a crayon and didn't want to put it down. 
There is no such thing as an aspiring artist. You already are an artist. You create. You dream about color and form. A paycheck with a corporate logo in the corner does not an artist make. And more importantly, your dream of working at Dreamworks does not define your self worth because you're not sitting there anymore or feel like you'll never get there.
The truth is layoffs and other setbacks are moments we question “why me?”, when the truth is the universe has selected you for a special journey that you must embark on and the outcome completely depends on your actions. Will you sit around emailing resumes and playing video games to pass the time while hoping for a call back or will you get to drawing and creating things you love and sharing them (via social media, cons, galleries) as well as emailing your resume? An artist's work is never done, he or she can only choose to abandon it, and he or she can choose to do nothing special or something extraordinary in their search of their dream. But one thing we must realize and accept when having any dream, is that dreams change. That's a hard fact. You may not be an animator for Disney for awhile or getting that gig at Rhythm and Hues, but there is good news. 
You are still an artist, you always have been. No one can take that away from you. Pick up that "crayon" and be persistent and adaptable. The right people will find you in the most unexpected places and a new chapter in your life will be revealed. 
Happy Creating,
Post any comments or thoughts you may have and share this post with someone who is down in the dumps or in need of some perspective. They could really use it. Thanks for reading and sharing!