Episode 174 — Goal Atrophy


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Episode 174 — Goal Atrophy

Hey, everyone!

This is Allan McKay. Welcome to Episode 174! Let’s talk about goals in 2019 — and how to set ourselves up to not fall off.

2018 is officially over! (If you’re listening to this months later — this Episode is still relevant! I hate when people think, “Well, this is 6 months old, so surely negotiating money has changed since then!”) No matter the time of year — this is still applicable! I want to sneak this in because we all look at the New Year with hope:

  • “Next year is going to be better!”
  • “I’m going to change things up!”

[02:17] We all go through those phases. I also go through those “time to reset” times. It’s not just about setting goals. Setting goals is important: If you don’t have that compass — you don’t have a direction. But what’s just as important as setting goals is being able to see them through. I want to talk about some key mindsets that will prevent you from dropping off.

[03:12] I’m setting my goals around consistency. For example, I love that we’ve never missed a date for a single Episode this year. I’m really excited for the New Year because I want to give more. Just this year alone, I’ve put out at least a hundred hours of free high-end training and content, in addition to the Podcast. Next year, I will continue to do that. I will also be updating the website every few days. This month, I will be putting out more training as well. I’m excited about these goals!

[04:49] More importantly, I want to talk about the goals for you. I want you to set goals and practice what I’m putting in this Episode: What you start — you finish!

Let’s dive in!



[00:42] Have you ever sent in your reel and wondered why you didn’t get the callback or what the reason was you didn’t get the job? Here is the thing: Most of us think that we can put our latest work on our reel, add some music — and get the job. A lot of us aren’t aware that the majority of reels sent to a studio are skipped through and sometimes never even watched in the first place.

Everything we’re taught about being an artist is wrong! Over the past 20 years of working for studios like ILM, Blur Studio, Ubisoft, I’ve built hundreds of teams and hired hundreds of artists — and reviewed thousands of reels! That’s why I decided to write a book from the perspective of someone who actually does the hiring. I want to:

  • Give you the formula to be the obvious candidate for the job;
  • Tell you how to build a reel and put it up on YouTube — that brings studios to you!

You can get this book for free right now! Whether you’re in design, film, tv or games, go to www.allanmckay.com/myreel!



2018 is officially over. It’s time to set your goals for the New Year.

Setting your goals is important: If you don’t have that compass — you don’t have a sense of direction. But what’s just as important — is being able to see those goals through by:

  • Breaking the big goals into a roadmap of smaller goals;
  • Attacking them with urgency;
  • Leaning into the resistance and your pain points;
  • Creating an accountability circle;
  • And learning to measure your success.

In this Episode, Allan McKay talks about the key mindsets crucial to not just setting your goals for the New Year — but to staying consistent and seeing them through!


[05:08] One of the big things we always do this time of year — is set a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a really valuable thing to do. But statistically, by February, 80% of us drop off. We fall behind, get distracted or drop off completely. I’m an adamant person about setting goals. Any excuse to set a goal — is great! It doesn’t need to be in the New Year. But the most important part — is to execute it.


Set 90-Day Goals — NOT 365-Day Goals!

[06:25] Here is the big thing: Most of us set a goal and it’s a year-long thing. I feel like having one-year goals is too long of a period. That way when you don’t accomplish what you’ve set off to do by June or July, it’s too late in the year. I’m a huge fan of 90-day year: That meant having a really condensed deadline to accomplish your goals. By having such a tight turnaround, the pressure is on. That way when you start to veer off — you can course correct. I always say: Attack with urgency and fail fast!

[07:42] In other words, rather than setting long deadlines, have condensed goals. In the next 12 weeks, you want to accomplish something. It may take 5 years, but the big thing is to break it down into achievable chunks. Having a bigger goal and breaking it down into smaller steps is how you’re able to achieve that goal. The most impossible of my goals — i.e. I wanted to move to the other side of the world, to LA, when I was 15 so I could to work on visual effects in Hollywood — that was the big goal that everyone said I couldn’t do. But I knew I could do it. Having just said “I want to do this” may seem unachievable. But breaking it down into chunks created a roadmap for me and a timeline on how to accomplish it.


Create a Roadmap of Smaller Goals

[09:08] The key thing is breaking it down into sizable chunks. Anything is doable when you break it down enough. It frustrated me recently when I put out my Venom training. A lot of people were replying to it, “I want to do visual effects but I will never work at ILM.” For me, it was like, “Why can’t you work at ILM? What’s holing you back?” It’s YOU. Your beliefs are holding you back.

If you break it down into steps, you can accomplish anything:

  • Work on commercials first;
  • Move onto feature films;
  • Go work in London, San Francisco, Vancouver — wherever you need to be to work at the dream studio;
  • Eventually approach the dream studio.


Bring the Accountability Factor into Play

[10:02] Sharing goals is a negative thing at times. Most people have a pain point and they push their failures onto you. I’m selective with whom I share my goals. But sharing goals is a huge necessity [because] it brings the accountability factor into play. You need to share your goals with people who believe in you and who are willing to kick your butt when you aren’t doing what you’ve set out to do.

  • You need to announce what you’re going to do in two weeks and then check back in in two week and explain why you haven’t accomplished that goal.
  • Or you could hit your goal and tell them what you’re going to do next.


Measure Your Success

[11:22] The main thing I want to talk about has to do with the execution. You need to break your goals into manageable goals. Bit by bit, you can measure your success. If it gets measured — it gets managed. Achieving goals is just a muscle. The more you do it — the easier it becomes. The more you abandon them — the more you fall off — the more they atrophy. They lose their muscle mass and it takes a long time to get back on track. When you abandon your goals, they become a pain point. It’s the most critical thing to not let that happen. A lot of us acquire those pain points, and that’s when we lean to failure.

[13:28] I like Bill Gates as an example. Everywhere I read, I keep learning that he reads a lot. That’s great! But what I find interesting is that he reads a book a week. There are so many books he wants to read — but he is not willing to pick them up unless he knows that he’s able to complete them. He only commits to something that he can see through. I’m guilty of that! There is plenty of books of read, some books I read halfway. The key thing is that you’re only set a goal if you’re willing to see it through. It’s easy to get the dopamine hit when you announce your goal. But it’s even more rewarding when you’re able to cross it off your list. When you hit that resistance, do you give up? Any goal that’s worth doing is going to be difficult and that’s the big problem for a lot of us.


Lean into the Resistance

[16:45] There is going to be resistance with every goal. The tricky thing is that a lot of us give up. “Surely, this isn’t the right way.” I think of that and I want to lean into it instead. Whenever I hit a wall, I push even harder. That’s how I acquire a new skill. The next time that obstacle comes around — I have that skill already and I’m not going to have that pain again. It’s much more rewarding to lean into these pain points (as opposed to adding them to the pile of things I’ve given up on).

[18:31] When you sign up for a new course and you meet an obstacle, you start looking for different way or a different software. You’re just making an excuse to avoid the pain. If you lean into it — you’re going to overcome it. Don’t let your goals atrophy. Don’t make excuses to avoid things. Whenever I have knee jerk reaction to something, I get a new goal — and that’s the thing I need push myself into. With all of us, that’s the critical thing.



[19:51] So pick goals with a commitment to finish. We need to set goals. We need to set difficult goals. I try to minimize the resistance by anticipating which challenges may come up. That way I’m prepared. I’m only willing to pick up a goal if I know I’m going to finish it. If the goal is too big, that’s fine.

  • Is it measurable?
  • Is it achievable?
  • Am I committed to seeing it through?

[21:04] Every goal you set for the New Year, I want you to commit to. That way you can stay consistent until you’re able to get that skill. Suddenly, that big goal — that the other people laughed at — is accomplishable!


I hope you enjoyed this Episode.

  • In the New Year, I will be back with Noëlle Triaureau. She is an Animator and Vis Dev Artist who has worked at Sony. We will be talking about the films she’s worked on.
  • I will also be talking to Goro Fujita at Facebook.
  • I will be doing a solo Episode on the subject of job search related emails. I am going to tear them down and I’m going to be brutal.
  • There will be another Episode on piracy. This is an important one! I’ve considered shutting down my courses this year because of this subject.

I want to raise the bar on our content. I’ve been posting my content on Facebook, Instagram. And of course, there is my VIP Insiders List: www.allanmckay.com/inside/.

One last thing I want to mention is my YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjgqdaigk7VSDqqqkHkcNTg. I just put up a case study on Venom: I will be deconstructing sequences from feature films, at least once a month. I will be doing it for big budget films like Venom. I’ve never seen anyone do that before. I think there will be people who complain because they’re not at the level of a Supervisor. It’s about giving feedback — but you need to figure out how you would go about doing it. (It doesn’t mean that that’s how it’s been done.)

I want to thank you for listening to this Podcast. The only reason I do it is because of the impact it makes on your career. I love getting your feedback! It’s really rewarding. So thank you for listening! I hope the value I’m putting out helps you get your results.

If you want to email me, please go to my website: www.allanmckay.com.

I’m really excited to see when the New Year brings. I wish you the best of success. Set your goals — and stay consistent.

Happy New Year and —

Rock on!


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