Episode 242 — Get Paid for Your Passion
Episode 242 — Get Paid for Your Passion
There may be things in your life that you find to be a fun hobby. And you think, there is no way in the world to make money at it! And maybe 3D is just a hobby and we tinker with it on the side. But for a lot of us, we call it a hobby because we don’t think there is any chance in the world we could make a living at this thing. A lot of the time, we convince ourselves not to do something because there are so many people out there doing it. So why should we?
A lot of times when you think of your hobby, you think no one would buy your product. But if you find something you are passionate about, you could go to make a living at it. Whenever I meet people who say, “No one would pay me to do this thing”, all I have to say is the person who invented a Pet Rock is a millionaire. There is so much opportunity out there! If you’re interested in something, surely there will be other people who would be interested as well.
So look at your long term goals: How happy are you going to be 5 years from now? What if you went after your passion? What if you started to say, “This is the year I’m going to try!” Make that commitment to yourself to buckle down, build a plan and try?
EPISODE 242 — GET PAID FOR YOUR PASSION
Hello, everyone! This is Allan McKay.
Welcome to Episode 242! I want to talk about getting paid — for your passion. This is something I want to talk about right now, given the fact that a lot of us are still in lockdown (at least at the time of recording this Podcast): How to turn your hobby or your dream into your career!
I want you to start thinking about the what-if, not in form of a fantasy but as something that you’re actually getting paid for. For some of us, we may enjoy creating website, messing around in 3D, creative fan art, whatever it may be! As much as we think it’s fun and it can’t be a profession, there are people out there who are making a living at what you love to do. There is no reason for you not to be that person as well.
I want to talk about how to identify your passion, what your calling is and turning it into a career; how to find like-minded people that have already done what you want to do and how to piggyback on their success. I hope for a lot of you, it’s chance to double down on what you want and look back at this Episode as the catalyst to what got you started.
As we’re experiencing a discomforting time with COVID-19, we’re all experiencing it at the same time. This is an opportunity for us to have the time to reflect on what you want to do with this time. It’s okay to be distracted. But being distracted by gaining a new skill for which you’ll get paid down the line is really beneficial. So you could have productive distractions or temporary ones.
Either way, I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy and so are all of your loved ones. And I hope this Episode inspires you.
Let’s dive in!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
[00:39] 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? 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 The Ultimate Demo Reel Guide from the perspective of someone who actually does the hiring. You can get this book for free right now at www.allanmckay.com/myreel!
[22:45] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com!
GET PAID FOR YOUR PASSION
[04:25] This is going to be a free for all. I’ve had a crazy month, trying to get everything done. At the same time, I had to put out some content and Podcasts. I know me: I tend to just free ball topics really easily. So when I speak on stage, the fewer notes I have — the better. With the content that I publish, however, I usually have notes. But some of the best Episodes I’ve ever done were done off-the-cuff. I think it’s a valid thing to think about: Which method resonates with you and your personality type? For me, walking around helps me think a lot better. I just interviewed Jordan Mechner on the Podcast. It’s interesting: With him, he thinks a lot before he speaks, which is great! It’s just a different style from mine. That’s just how he processes information. And the more we understand how we process information and how to activate our thinking, the better off we are.
FINDING YOUR ELEMENT
[06:30] There is a book called The Element [by Ken Robinson]. It talks about this. There is a story in it about the creator of Cats, the musical, that I really loved. When she was in school, her parents were concerned that she had a learning disability. She didn’t have the best grades. But luckily, there was a social worker that understood her. He recommended to leave her alone and observe. When she was alone, it turned out she liked to dance, move around. That’s how she tended to respond to her surroundings. That’s how he learned she didn’t have a learning disability. She was just a dancer. That was her calling.
[07:27] If we are fortunate to figure out what our calling is early in life, it gives us a goal. A lot of the time we tend to go down the path that our parents have in mind for us (or sometimes our partner). A lot of us don’t have that calling. We don’t necessarily know what we’re here for. That’s why we get frustrated and feel lost. We feel like that ship has sailed. I’ve talked a lot about Changing Careers after 40 (https://www.allanmckay.com/158/). I know that’s a popular topic because a lot of us have been trying to please someone by going down the wrong path. And that’s what most important: to figure out what’s important to us and what drives us.
CAN YOU MAKE A CAREER OUT OF YOUR PASSION?
[08:29] Some of these things we can monetize on, some of them we can’t. If you look at video games in the 80s, they were thought of to be such a waste of time. When interviewing guests like Louis Castle who was the Head the Westwood Studios and now the Head of Amazon Game Studios or Jordan Mechner, they decided to make a living at video games back in the 80s. Louis Castle went on to build and scale multi-million dollar companies. That allowed him to have freedom later on in life while pursuing something he is really passionate about. Jordan Mechner’s goal was to write scripts for Hollywood which is such a roll-of-the-dice career. It’s something that most likely won’t work out. That’s what a lot of people set out to do, but it is such an oversaturated industry. And that’s how we convince ourselves not to do it. Jordan is a great example! He had the ultimate goal. He went and created a video game in the 80s that became larger than life, got picked up to Ubisoft; and then Disney became interested in the IP. Jordan and his partner were able to pitch Prince of Persia to Disney and make the movie.
[10:34] Those are two examples of careers you wouldn’t bank on. [10:43] There may be things in your life that you find to be a fun hobby. And you think, there is no way in the world to make money at it! And maybe 3D is just a hobby and you tinker with it on the side. But for a lot of us, we call it a hobby because we don’t think there is any chance in the world we could make a living at this thing. I am so blown away by people out there who are able to go after their dreams. A lot of the time, we convince ourselves not to do something because there are so many people out there doing it. So why should we? I interviewed the Directors of KIN, brother duo Jon and Josh Baker (www.allanmckay.com/155). When I knew them when we were 20 years old, they always seemed to win all these contests. I remember asking them about it. They had this philosophy that no one entered contests because they thought everyone else was going to enter. So the Bakers would enter these contests because the majority of people convinced themselves not to participate — and win!
MOST PEOPLE TALK THEMSELVES OUT OF SUCCEEDING
[12:15] It sounds so trivial to send out a cut out of cereal box, in hopes that you’re going to win. But when you take that core philosophy — that most people convince themselves they wouldn’t succeed so they don’t try — you scale it to a lot of life’s decisions. Most of us convince ourselves not even try. For example, at the moment the Coronavirus is in the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S. I posted a video the other day (although I was very hesitant to do it). I talked about what people can and should do with their time right now. I posted it on Instagram and got a lot of positive comments. I then posted it on YouTube and naturally there were negative and fearful comments there. It’s interesting how different the responses were. If you are someone who comes in with a positive outlook, there will be people who’ll want to prove you wrong. Which then means that everyone wallows in fear together. It also means they can dismiss having to get off their butts and put in some work.
[15:01] I think there are situations when we do this to ourselves, on a micro level. If someone comes to me with a cool idea, I ask them why they don’t try it out. That’s when they start coming up with excuses. It’s easier to explain why it wouldn’t work rather than trying. These are the loops we go through. A lot of times when you think of your hobbies, you think no one would buy your product. But if you find something you are passionate about, you could go to make a living at it. Whenever I meet people who say, “No one would pay me to do this thing”, all I have to say is the person who invented a Pet Rock is a millionaire. There is so much opportunity out there. If you’re interested in something, surely there will be other people who would be interested as well. Sometimes, it is just about finding your community and where those people are or building that community yourself.
FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY
[17:05] I think of the early days of the internet chat. You’d go in and hang out in a channel depending on a topic. Everyone in there would be interested in the same thing. All of your interests were aligned, no matter where in the world. I do some consulting work on marketing and sales. I get people hitting me up all the time, “Can I pick your brain about a product launch?” “Can you talk to me about pricing?” I’m happy to give away thousands of dollars worth of information just because it’s something that’s fun to talk about. I have interest and mastermind groups that talk about this stuff. We talk about sales. It’s good to surround yourself with people who share your interests.
[18:52] This is me just dumping my thoughts on the subject of having passions but not going after them because you convince yourself not to. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a community of people that are passionate about those things and talk to them about your fears and concerns. By building that community, you get to bounce some ideas around. That’s where ideas and things happen. But I do think it’s naive to look at something you do and think you could never do it for a living. How can you make it happen? I’ve talked about the Two Train Theory before (www.allanmckay.com/207). You don’t just switch — you have to build the other career overtime. When that one overtakes the first one, that’s when you leap. And that’s what a lot of us should do.
[19:58] So look at your longterm goals: How happy are you going to be 5 years from now? What if you went after your passion? Chase your dreams and go after something that gives you that fulfillment. I always look at most of who have a hobby: We go home at night and spend hours on something we love, be it 3D or animation, or VFX. But there is always that nagging feeling about it. The people who do make the switch and make those things into their careers, when they finally do — they’re so happy! I have so many students in my Mentorship who are in that position right now, working for studios and on movies they used to dream about. Not all of them go home to work on something else nowadays because they’ve found that passion. When they come home, they get to relax. They don’t need to escape anything anymore. The ones who are doing the job that isn’t their calling are the ones that seek that escape. A lot of us convince ourselves not to do it in the first place.
[21:42] But what if you did? What if you started to say, “This is the year I’m going to try!” Make that commitment to yourself to buckle down, build a plan and try. Just keep trying. Saying that you can’t — is just an excuse. It’s about building strategy and being relentless in what you do. As long as you have that and the perseverance, you get to wake up everyday and do what you love and get that fulfillment. You don’t need to escape anymore. The best part is that you’re getting paid to do what you love! So get up, build a plan, and start doing what you’re passionate about. I’ll see you at the finish line!
I hope you enjoyed this Episode. I will be back next week. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy and be productive about your future. Now is the best time to invest in yourself and to plant that seed.
Please share this Episode with others. Thank you for listening!
At the end of the month, I’m interviewing Jordan Mechner, the creator of Prince of Persia. I will be back next week!
Until then —
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