ECI Symposium Notes
Thanks again to everyone who came to our session. Here's a collection of notes and resources that hopefully be helpful to you. If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me, via the contact form above or on Twitter @adamschoales.
Star Wars Air Hogs commercial that I worked on
Working with The Muppets, aka the best day ever
Thanks to all the artists and creative professionals who chimed in with their advice.
Find your own voice, because trying to outdo others … or to work through someone else's, just isnt going to cut it. There are too many people out there doing things better than you are. So do YOU and do YOU better than they can. - Carolyn Hebert, MA Dance, PHD Candidate, University of Ottawa and ECI Grad
Branding, marketing, social media, customer relations, product sourcing, all the behind the scenes stuff that can make or break a business. I've seen mediocre artists soar and creative geniuses flounder based on business acumen. So taking a few courses in business/marketing could be helpful. Also knowing when to outsource. - Hilary Beaumont Brown, Photographer
Maybe it's a cliché, but over the years, I've really connected with the idea that you can't grow if you don't allow yourself to make mistakes. Embrace failure. You can't succeed if you don't allow for the possibility of failure. - Ben Lariviere, Photographer
Confidence helps - even if you don't feel it. Project it and your customers will notice! - Andrea Gray, Makeup Artist
Research your industry, don't be afraid to call, visit and talk to people about their careers and if at all possible, find a mentor! - Vanessa Chiara, Entrepreneur and cannoli expert (Also, the woman who taught me how to edit)
Spec work isn't worth it - Jacob Morris, Digital Video Producer
Remember that it's a small world. Kindness goes a long way, and your reputation will pretty much always precede you. People pretty much always know more about you then they let on. Especially in the arts. - Jessica Adair, Dance Instructor and ECI Grad
I couldn't have gotten anywhere close to where I was without mentors. Find a good one (you can't always "Find" one, but learn to harvest on relationships). Don't be afraid to ask people, big wigs, for a meeting to give advice. The worst they say is no, the best is that they are usually really excited to meet young talent and usually want to pay it forward all the good deeds they received at the beginning of their career. Also, don't be a dick. Ever. - Rebecca McKay, Coordinator, Lyrical Lines Education Network and ECI Grad
Value the time you invested in your art- and other will too! - Susan Cunningham, Visual Artist
You are an artist you have goals, dreams, determination & sheer will. If you have a dream then go for it and let yourself be taken by your choices & life's mysterious ways. Allow your creative abilities to flourish and be nourished which doesn't mean always staying on one path. You will evolve and so shall your art form. Life lesson to an artist is "Always Do You" but listen and learn from others around you. You are the judge of what is essentially good for you in the end so always follow your gut. - Christine Walker Professional Dancer, Teacher & Studio Owner.
Know that fear is stupid, but then again, so are regrets. When people in NYC were asked what their biggest life regret was... most of their replies started with "NOT". Leave no adventure unturned. If you live until 80... that's only 29,266 days. Use them wisely. - Kik Di Nino, Creative Producer
Be ready to be critiqued and have a sense of humility, this is a critical industry with a lot of opinions, if you can't handle criticism then you may face some struggles. - Katrina Kostin, Graphic Designer
Don't suppress your personal style while fitting into other peoples boxes. Work with people who like your natural talent and creative style and want to give you money to develop it. Have goals, work towards them, and make sure you enjoy the work you're doing. - Grayden Laing, Visual Artist, Animator, Cinematographer, and general Renaissance Man (also, great beardsman)
Learning an art is all about learning the rules and regulations of your trade so you know how best to break them or abide by them for your own purposes. The tough thing about being an artist is finding yourself in your craft while facing societal norms. Treat society like you treat your craft: learn the rules so you can better break them or abide by them whenever necessary. - Brad Abdul, Freelance Illustrator and ECI Grad
You are worth more than spec work. Also, try not to have a narrow vision when starting out. Just because you want to end up in a specific creative field, doesn't mean you can't get some experience and insight from similar fields. The wider your spectrum, the more valuable you'll be, so don't loose faith and give up if you aren't able to get a job in the exact position you were hoping for right out of the gate. Last thing: respect and learn from your superiors. They have been doing it far longer than you, and legitimately know a hell of a lot more. The longer you're in the creative industry, the more you will absorb. So don't walk out of school thinking anybody owes you anything. Appreciate all the wisdom you can get from your co-workers. - Liz Wise, Creative Director
Don't be a jerk. Nobody wants to be friend with a jerk, let alone work alongside one. Continue to cultivate other interests and passions. Being well-rounded will only make your work stronger, and can help to take the pressure off in a stressful industry. - Stephanie Hope Lawlor, Actor
1. No spec work for free, and especially not once you are established. Once you have a good portfolio and you are an established artist/exec/whatever, your time is worth money. Period. (Failing that, on spec work, because you have to pitch in time, make sure if you are working on spec that everyone else is.)
2. Learn on the job. Unless you have absolutely no basic skills at whatever it is you're taking on (like acting, or using software, or something), a class is not going to teach you anything you won't learn from experience. (ESPECIALLY in terms of acting.)
3. Speaking for me, I would add not just business/marketing classes, but mathematics, to your course-load. Too often people don't know they're getting fucked (pardon my language). Avoid that by knowing every aspect of the business (and it is a business) that you are inserting yourself into. You aren't setting yourself up to be a mathematician or a statistician; you are learning enough to truly understand what is going on with you financially, and whether or not the numbers on a project are sound. (Rats may leave a sinking ship quickly, but you can leave quicker.)
4. In the words of my colleague Richard, be flexible/malleable. Meaning, be willing, in most cases, to modify or change your work. Professional media is a collaborative industry, and professionals must be willing to make massive changes in their work based on studio/investor tastes and current events. That doesn't mean you can't inject as much of your taste and your style into the work as is possible, but be ready and willing to work with what the customer demands as you do so. You'll make a lot more headway. - Gibson DelGiudice and Richard Haase, American producing team involved with theater, film, and television.
Thanks again to the staff and students of Eastwood for having me!