Don't Let the Fear of Failure Stop You

Failure is an inevitable part of becoming an artist and improving your craft, you can’t really improve unless you fail and learn from your mistakes. However, in the moment, it can be difficult to see the positives and therefore super easy to become discouraged. As I was coming up, teaching myself animation I seemed to be faced with these situations quite often. One such time took place alittle over a year into the whole process. I had been refining my reel and had just completed a few freelance jobs for some small clients. I was feeling pretty confident in my skill set and felt that a studio job was just around the corner.

So one morning I got an email in my inbox, from a youtuber. He made cartoon videos based off of some video games and he was looking for animators to help him out. He had seen my work and was impressed so he asked if I would be interested. Of course I said yes, And I can’t forget a certain smugness I felt. After all, I was preparing for tv animation, surely this small youtuber couldn’t really challenge my current skills, it seemed like easy money. So we agreed on the terms, he sent me all the files I would need and then I got to work.

As soon as the project started, I immediately realised I had made a mistake. Not only did all the work have to be done using adobe animate ( a program I had never used before) but the character rig and animation were way more complex than anything I had done at the time. To say it simply, I was screwed!

But, I did my best, researching tutorials on how to use adobe animate and trying to figure out how to manipulate the complex rig. But in the end, I think I submitted what was probably the worst piece of animation I have ever done. It was choppy, parts were broken, the lip sync was way off, and to top it all off, I submitted it past the agreed deadline! Needless to say, the smugness I felt going into the project, had been replaced with complete and utter dread and disappointment.

Things got even worse when my client responded. He told me he was extremely unhappy with the work I provided him and that he had to go in and fix the animation himself. He said that he didn’t see us continuing our work together and to top it all off he sent me a link to a video that described the basic twelve principles of animation! (I had seen that same video hundreds of times before).

And that was that! So as you would expect I was crushed. I felt like a phoney and that all the work I had done in the previous months was for nothing. I’m not kidding, I considered just dropping the whole ‘animation thing’ right there and then.

But the silver lining was, during that time, I did learn how to use adobe animate and I did get more comfortable using those complex rigs. Even though I completely blew my shot with this guy, there were still other opportunities out there. I basically just had the chance to practise a new program and new skills in a relatively consequence free environment.

So as you can tell, I kept pushing forward and a few months later, it just so happened I got a call from another studio that asked me to do an animation test for a small show they were working on. And would you believe it? The main program they were using was adobe animate.

I was way more prepared this time and taking what I had learned from my previous adobe disaster, I did way better on the test! So good in fact, that it led me to my first ever studio job.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, don’t let the fear of failing stop you from trying new things and chasing new opportunities because without my huge failure, I really feel I would never have gotten my first job at all.

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