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Working in the industry (for those interested in making a career out of this)

2008-07-06 20:55:44 by Stuart-Hart

Today I briefly talk about what it's like making Flash content for a living.

So far, personally, I think it's quite great. But, I imagine you'd find a lot of varying opinions on what it's like working in a company. For one thing, a company may treat their employees quite poorly. Or you might have an unfriendly boss. Perhaps you're forced to work long hours, being forced to miss lunch to meet ridiculous deadlines.

Fortunately, none of these things apply to me. I feel I'm treated fairly well at where I work, I get along quite well with my boss, and it's vary rare I have to work even just 10 or 15 extra minutes at the end of the day. Other perks I get is the free Coca-Cola (among other soft drinks), free fruit every day, MSNing/Skyping/whatevering at work, flexible starting times in the morning and free alcohol on Friday nights in the office. Most importantly is I don't ever need to think about work once I've stepped out the door. My work in the office is work. Anything outside the office is my time. I'd prefer to keep it that way. As things are now, I'm more interested in what I'm going to cook for my dinner than what I'll be doing at work tomorrow.

But then I think that depends on your mentality (perhaps you just love your job that much to think about it so frequently), or even the nature of your work. I'm not unhappy with the work I do - I generally try to do as good a job as I can - but the truth is that I don't have a ton of creative freedom. Not to say that I don't have any at all (someone's gotta make that layout and someone's gotta animate it all together), but most everything I create is not my own original IP. It doesn't bother me a whole lot. If it did, I would have left and found another job. However, If I left and got a position in some random design agency, more than likely I'd be doing things specified to a clients desires or be adhering to strict branding guidelines. But say you did land a position where you were always presented with the opportunity to create something unique and to innovate - something that is yours, your own creation. Then sure you'd think of it outside the office. Afterall, that should be the sort of work you're more passionate about doing, being your own thing and all. It's not just work's work anymore, but it's your work. But what's going on now? Are you suddenly bringing all your work into your own home? Is your life now your work or something? Again, I think that depends on your mentality. Personally, I don't enjoy the thought of having a deadline hanging over my own IP, but on the other hand I would be very happy to do what I want. For a company though? I'm not so sure... wouldn't my work belong to the company? Yikes - I definately don't like the sound of that!

The truth is, as things are now, I mostly enjoy my job and I'm really happy with all the benefits I get from it. I've met some great people along the way so far, I've learnt a ton of stuff I would never have learnt on my own and it's generally stress free.

That's not to say that the job is without it's fair share of stress, but no where near enough to break you down into tears or anything. Most headaches come from when someone on the Marketing team suddenly believes they're a better designer than you and start dropping "suggestions" (which are actually just demands) on the creative. Usually I'll do what they ask with little to no question, coz it's normally faster to show them they're wrong, rather than trying to explain to them in detail in an e-mail why you think their suggestion is a bad decision only for them to reply saying something like "Well, let's see what it looks like anyway". Just make sure you make multiple saves of your work.

Perhaps I'm sounding a bit negative? I think as long as I have the evenings to myself to do what I want then I'm satisifed, but if I were making original IP at my job and it had the companies logo slapped onto the finished product... that'd throw me in weird space.

Hmm... maybe things could be better.

Working in the industry (for those interested in making a career out of this)


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2008-07-06 21:07:31

It sounds like a fun job. Do you have to work on weekends? And about how much a day to you work? And how much do you get paid? And talk more about the free alcohol. :P

(Updated ) Stuart-Hart responds:

I don't have to work weekends. If I did I would definately be looking for another job! I work 8.5 hours a day, including an hour for lunch. Sorry, I don't think it's right to say how much I get paid... cheeky! I will say that it's not enough to afford a house here in London yet.

The free alcohol works like this - every Friday, at about 5pm, a department is chosen to take £100 (about $200) to spend on alcohol and snacks. All the £100 must be spent. If any cash is left over it's handed back to the company. Of course, a receipt must be produced to prove that the cash was all put towards the good cause!


2008-07-06 21:16:16

Sounds like you have a nice job, animating isn't my thing though.


2008-07-06 21:26:46

You forgot a 'w' on 'here' on the 5th paragraph and you should replace 'so' with 'as' on the 6th paragraph. Sorry, I just had to, and that was good, gave a really good look inside and not a bias opinion on how the work place is like for animators out there. What's your yearly or monthly wage?

Stuart-Hart responds:

Fixed - cheers! I did try and proof read it before, but that text window is so small... big posts get hard to read.
That's my excuse anyway - thanks again.

Sorry, I really don't wish to discuss my wage. Other people in my office may read this, causing unnecessary tension.


2008-07-06 21:46:24



2008-07-06 21:48:40

No one cares jewmonkey


2008-07-06 21:52:30

i think that its also a matter of finding your work personality in the scene.

I originally entered the scene wanting to work from my house and be very entrepeneural etc, and i lasted about a year and wound up hating it. It was cool to 'be on your own' but i found that most of my time was spent talking to clients and doing other tasks that while vital to my business, were not things i personally enjoyed doing. I just want to freakin animate/design shit so after a year of that i decided to go into working under a company and I've been happy about that since then. I find that doing my 9-5 keeps me focused about leaving my work behind after a set amount of time and being able to enjoy other things... like the forced nature of a 9-5 actually was a benefit because unlike freelancing where id have a very loose schedule and often worked at unusual times, i found that in the long run i actually made poor use of my day and i was working to the bone and not allowing myself time to just do unflash related things.
HOWEVER, theres some people that really thrive in being their own cheerleader and getting out there selling themselves, doing the work etc. I found that it just didnt fit my personality.

I do see myself maybe returning to fulltime freelance later on in my life. When i have the experience to have people work under me and be able to handle not only the technical challenges of the business but also the administrative ones.

Great post. I think i'd be interested to see how the professional scene in england is perhaps similar or different than that of the us. It opens up a whole new can of worms.


Stuart-Hart responds:

I've not done it myself, but I think I'd be really bad at keeping myself motivated and being my own boss, talking to the clients etc. Thinking about it now, I can't see how I'd find time to do all the required stuff and have any free time to myself. But perhaps that's just how it is, especially when you're starting out perhaps, maybe you're sacrificing your free time to aim for something potentially very lucrative. I'm sure there's a lot of luck in that form of work though...

I have a friend that's trying to go solo now. He got fed up being forced to work long hours (some days he had to work until about 10pm - that's starting at 9am the same day). He's not so much an animator than he is a coder and actual artist. The way he's gonna try and pave his way is simply pitch his games at sponsors and get cash that way. This way, he really has little interaction with any clients at all, save for getting in contact with the interested sponser and working out a deal.

We'll see how things go for him though. We're good friends; he's been chiming me on the situation and his highest offer for his first game is very intriguing.


2008-07-06 22:00:55

Wow, that sounds like the perfect life to me... I really want to be an animator for my career. What kind of work do you do / where is your work featured?


Stuart-Hart responds:

Unfortunately my work is not massively exciting - I mostly do advertising banners that go on Hotmail, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, among other places. I think only UK residents will see them though.

I do get to do some character animation from time to time, which I love of course. That's all on the actual website that I work for though, and again it's all just promotional content.

I won't link the website/company I work as it's an online gambling organization which is now illegal in the US last I heard!


2008-07-07 00:54:40

when are you going to do flash again?


2008-07-07 08:59:23

He is working with Flash... just, professionally.


2008-07-07 20:53:03

Sounds fun.
Currently about to start my 3 years of HNC/D Animation.
Already do part-time graphics/photo restoration but I've always wanted to be an Animator or a Graphic Novelist.
All I can say is well done! And hopefully I'll get that far.