View Full Version : Generalization sucks, but how to stop it? (And explaining why to the boss)

06-08-2007, 01:48 PM
First, a bit of history. I'll do my best to not turn this into a rant.

I'm a cog in the corporate wheel here in Portland. I work for an advertising agency that has a fairly elaborate in-house post production facility with 3 adrenaline suites and then there's me, the sole motion graphics animator in the building. Ironically, there's no lack of job security because anyone in this position has to have their hands in practically everything. I'm not bragging here, this is more of a cry for help. Here's a short list of what I work with on a regular basis (not including the 3D I'm trying to squeeze into my list of disciplines).

Motion Graphics Design,
Special Effects,
Tracking & 3D Camera Matching
Compositing and Keying,
DP Consultation for shoots,
Creative Direction and
DVD Authoring.

The key of the whole process at this company is generalization. With today's modern software it's very possible to do all of the above but at the expense of being able to do any of it as well as I would like. Add to this is the apparent ramping-up of business and tightening of deadlines that frequently happen and the questions start to flow. "How can we work character animation into our capabilities?" "How can we do some of the stuff we end up sending to Flame?"

In short I'm getting to the point of metaphorically trying to play a piano with my hands, feet, and face. How can I make the argument to hire another animator and create specialists? I'm trying to work on how to sell this to the big boss but I need help coming up with tangible results that a second animator would add other than the obvious "gets more work done in the same amount of time". I'm seeing gorgeous work coming out of seemingly small studios and so is he. How can I set something like that up here?

Any help would be greatly appreciated because I think I can see down this road and figuring out this challenge head on would be awesome.

-Dyn :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:

06-08-2007, 02:37 PM
Wow, you have your hand full. I'm not sure how to appraoch your argument because part of the reason they love you is you appear to do the work of so many people for the price of one.

Maybe the argument is a quality issue that you should address to them. Explain that your not a Character animator but a motion graphics person and the skill and training of a Character animator is a specific skill set.

I character animator will understand the choreography and staging much more effeciently, skillfully and thus "cost effectively than a jack of all trades.

The arts is one of those things sometimes that management assumes that all the aspects of the arts are the same kinda thing just the same thing with different names.

06-08-2007, 03:30 PM
Basicly I think you have two possible options- a carrot or a stick. The stick is painful and possibly dangerous- it involves letting projects crash and burn. It won't take too many of these before the cry goes out that 'something needs to be done'.

The carrot involves stressing that taking on a new guy will allow them to have all the wonderful new toys they currently see all the other guys playing with, like character animation.

Being spinaly challenged I would opt for the carrot. The crash and burn option is more entertaining but could backfire if you are seen as the source of the crashing and the burning.

06-08-2007, 03:54 PM
I'm in the same situation, although in a completely different field of work. (and want to get out of it too, would love to go full graphic designer instead of a jack of all trades)

I think a good argument would be that with 2 you could tackle more ambitious (in the words of management : more money) projects.

When you look for someone, look for someone with a skillset slightly different than yours (for example better at CA) but still someone able to do different tasks.

It would be a good idea, when a project arrives to propose a more ambitious idea only feasible with extra help.

06-08-2007, 03:58 PM
The crash and burn option is more entertaining but could backfire if you are seen as the source of the crashing and the burning.

Indeed, and being generally the sole source of the work in house it's pretty easy for fingers to start pointing. :hey: I'm glad we at least do hire out (more frequently as of late) freelancers to pull an assist now and then. I think I can sum this whole quandry as striking a balance between personal interests (I'm fascinated by compositing, motion graphics as well as 3D) and corporate interests (just about everything else that's under the post production umbrella).


06-08-2007, 04:08 PM
Freelancers are great. They will appeal to management in that they don't have to keep them on payroll when there is nothing for them to do. The downside is that you need a pool of freelancers to pull from. Freelancers are like ducks, in that as long as you feed them they come back. When the work dries up for them they go elsewhere. When you need them again they may be gone.

I think a better option would be to convince them to get a second generalist. One that is perhaps primarily a CA, but can do motion graphics or such in a pinch.

Maybe set up an internship for DAVE school or FULL SAIL students as generalists to help. Also like freelancers they are attractive to employers as a cost benefit. However you aren't guaranteed the quality. It is a bit of a gamble.

06-08-2007, 04:18 PM
:D I wish we had more animation classes locally to pull from. In Portland, OR however we have just one main place (and the results can be questionable merely because of how little I see at portfolio shows) and that's the Art Institute of Portland. I do know that the boss-man is open to the whole internship idea since our interactive department just brought in 4 of em. I would like to have it at least be a paid internship so that is one route I can go.

Thanks for the tip. Heh if you can't find the plant, grow one of your own.