By Allison Antram, Managing Editor
What year did you graduate | What was your major | Where do you currently live?
Graduated in 2010 / Media Production and Multimedia / Lexington
From graduation to now, how did you arrive where you are professionally?
It took me until my last year of school to see I didn’t want to do live production and do animation. At the time, Asbury had no programs for it but supplied some foundation principles that helped me compositionally. Out of school, I worked at Starbucks continuing to do small side jobs here and there and eventually I got a job at a healthcare company doing interviews and while there I taught myself After Effects and Cinema 4D. I was not making really any money. From there I spent lots of time replicating great work I saw to get better and followed as many tutorials as I possibly could.
It was hugely important for me to continue to grow in skill and knowledge early on so that I could animate my ideas. I was picking up small freelance projects on the side and doing tons and tons of personal work that was really, really bad. After about two years there and my boss getting let go, my new boss came in and … transitioned my role. At that time I decided to go full freelance and began seeking jobs. It was a big risk for me as my wife and I had just bought a house, but the Lord really took care of us and has remained more than faithful.
Since then things have only expanded to the point where I could start my own shop doing just what I love. We have been blessed to work with all kinds of clients, big and small. I can’t really take too much credit for my success other than saying that I chose to stay faithful in trusting the Lord with our finances and work and letting him direct my path while I focused on working hard. Day by day, I see how he provides us with grand opportunities and blesses us.
What were your goals when you graduated? Would you have guessed where you are now?
Honestly, at the time, I was quite aimless and was at the peak of my life of not making the greatest of life choices personally. I wanted to animate and do work that I loved but had not really set myself any goals. It took God conquering me in my rebellion and me really aligning to the gifts he had given me before I started to see things really fall into place. It took learning from my mistakes, taking some of what I thought to be big risks, and putting myself around the right people to start seeing any real progress in the desires I had to pursue the work I love. Now being financially stable with a home and business that are thriving, it’s hard to say that I could have ever guessed that.
Tell us about the Facebook Reactions and how you gained that opportunity?
My relationship with Facebook started as a recommendation from a friend I had met online, who was in similar stage of professional life as me and passed on a small job with them to me. From there, once in their system, we have done tons of work for them – much of which will never be publicly shareable. I am not really sure how I gained any opportunity, but merely had built a good relationship with some internal people who knew I was hard working and very reliable whilst knowing my craft. It always pays off to work as if you are working for yourself regardless of how any employer may treat you.
What has been the most challenging thing about your work? What has been the most rewarding?
Easily the toughest thing is the work / life balance. I have been doing this for what feels to be a long time with hundreds of large projects behind me and I still have yet to perfect it. It’s very easy to work too much and it can be easy to get burned out and not work enough. The nature of this business is that you are always dealing with unknown time commitments. Every project is different and every team you build for a project is different. Some clients are great and approve everything, some clients micromanage every move you make and make your life miserable.
The most rewarding thing I would have to say is when everything comes together. Everyone who reads this may be too old for it but I think John “Hannibal” Smith said it best – “I love working with really cool people and, to me, that can sometimes be more of a payoff than the work itself.”
What advice would you give to Asbury students?
Take risks trying new things. For creative fields in my experience, failure was always a better teacher than any book, tutorial, or class (even though class does provide you with opportunities to fail). It forces you to audit your process and end result and refines your thought process and perspective. Copying people and posting any work as your own is always a bad idea but replicating people you admire can be a great way to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. It can also be an easy way to conquer the blank screen which can still be a big obstacle for anyone who creates anything at any level. Pick an artist and style you like and replicate again and again. But also create something every day that is just you. There are tons of stories out there of guys who I think of as great and the only reason they are great is because they have tons of work behind them. Always be flexible and selfless when it comes to everything you do.
What’s the most valuable thing you have learned (in a personal or professional aspect in life after Asbury?
This is a tough question; I honestly don’t know if I can label anything as the most valuable. I’d say that in the artistic realm there are two things: One, comparison and perfectionism are a huge, unseen enemies; Two, detaching yourself from your work can be your best friend. It all loops back into letting failure be your teacher. You never want to fail or look back at your failures, but doing so, it pushes you forward. This plays a major role in separating your work from what defines you as a person. If you let your work define you as a person, professionally you will never do well in this industry because you will always be offended by every client’s request to make changes to things you’ve done. Every request for a change I always try to look at as a fun challenge to improve on my work in some form or fashion… If you try to perfect anything or compare your work to someone else too much, your work will never get done or it will end up looking not like work you make.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
To continue to do the things that that I love most with people I admire and learn from. Stay relevant, and always be humble in an every changing market and world.