Episode 245 — Overwhelm: Quitting Before Getting Started
EPISODE 245 — OVERWHELM: QUITTING BEFORE GETTING STARTED
Looking at other people’s work can be really inspiring. If you’re looking at it from a place of “Where I want to go” — rather than comparing yourself to everyone else — you’re going to be fine. If, however, you’re looking at everyone else and thinking, “Why aren’t I there?”, that could be a problem. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to everyone else. You don’t know what struggles they’ve had. You only see the end result but not what it took to get there.
In order to not get overwhelmed, it’s important to set goals. Figure out where you want to be. Figure out what your ideal job and life would be like when you get to that point. Once you get clarity on that, you can start eliminating what you don’t want. The more you know what you want, the more you can eliminate what you don’t want and to recognize the opportunities when they line up.
In this Podcast, Allan McKay talks about how to keep focused on your goals without getting overwhelmed, how to use other people’s wins as inspiration, and gives you actionable steps to continue succeeding.
[03:45] The Email That Inspired This Podcast
[04:35] Surrounding Yourself with People That Inspire You
[06:45] Knowing the Sources of Right Information
[07:35] Looking at Where You Want to Be
[10:33] Tackling Every Aspect of Your Career
[12:01] Conclusion — and Other Helpful Podcasts
OVERWHELM: QUITTING BEFORE GETTING STARTED
Hi, everyone! This is Allan McKay.
Welcome to Episode 245! I want to talk about how to deal with overwhelm. So many people quit before they get any traction. This was actually inspired by someone asking me this question. They’re trying to get off the group and they see all these people having success and how they compare themselves. Here, I am trying to give you actionable step to apply on the way to succeeding.
This is where I want to talk about how looks can be deceiving. You’re just seeing the wins. This will apply to everyone, no matter where you are in your career. Other people are dealing with these insecurities as well!
Please share this Podcast with others. It would mean the world to me! And if you have a burning question, please email me: [email protected]
Let’s dive in!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
[01:13] 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!
[16:20] 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!
OVERWHELM: QUITTING BEFORE GETTING STARTED
[03:45] I got an email this morning that had a really great question which comes up a lot: “Hey, Allan! How do you stay focused knowing that you still have miles to cover? I’ve just started learning VFX and 3D and sometimes it feels like I’m never going to make it. It’s really upsetting and discouraging, especially when you see others making progress and you have no idea what you’re doing.”
I think this is a great topic because there are many factors that come into play:
- Your own uncertainties;
- Being overwhelmed with so much information;
- Not knowing where to start;
- Seeing other people’s work can be encouraging and discouraging as well.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE YOU
[04:35] Let’s talk about this for a minute! Looking at other people’s work can be really inspiring. If you’re looking at it from a place of “Where I want to go”, rather than comparing yourself to everyone else — you’re going to be fine. If, however, you’re looking at everyone else and thinking, “Why aren’t I there?”, that could be a problem. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to everyone else. You don’t know what struggles they have. You only see the end result but not what it took to get there. I recently shared information on how I got a lot of rejection early in my career, and a lot of people were shocked. They didn’t realize the 10,000 hours that it took to perfect my art. That’s why it’s damaging to compare yourself to others: You aren’t seeing the rejection they are receiving or the doubts they’re having. They might have been in your exact situation, but you don’t see that. We all go through struggles.
[05:55] It’s important to be surrounded by people who inspire you to keep going. Rather than comparing yourself to them, use it as inspiration. Some people may naturally get success, but for most people, it takes time. It’s about sticking to it and persevering to get to the end. If you do see people who’ve made it, reach out to them. Not everyone is going to reply. But seeing people who are ahead of you, even if by a couple of months, can help you cut corners. More importantly, it’s great to have people around you who’ve gone through what you’re going through, so they can reassure you when you’re having those doubts.
KNOW WHERE TO GET YOUR INFORMATION
[06:45] It’s very common to get overwhelmed. There is so much information out there!
- How do you know what the right information is?
- How do you know what the wrong information is?
- How do you consume it that keeps you on track?
I think paid-for courses are great for this because it’s a carefully curated outline that’s been tested. YouTube is great for getting information, but it does have a lot of misguiding information as well. It’s easy to go down the wrong path or waste a lot of time trying to connect all the bits and pieces of information. You need to realize that time is a valuable factor and we need to keep that in mind.
LOOK AT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
[07:35] Look at the end result: Where do you want to be? A lot of us overestimate what we can do in a year, or we underestimate what we can do in five. It’s important to realize that it is a journey, but not all of us want to put in the time. It’s very disparaging putting that much effort, knowing it’s a long way to go. (That’s not to say I haven’t seen people land a job 3 months after getting started. Maybe it wasn’t a glamorous job, but it’s about getting traction.) It’s easy to second guess yourself in the beginning whether you’re ever going to get that break. But that’s where all these variables come into play.
- Looking at what others are doing is great!
- Looking the work that studios are doing (where you want to work, eventually) and mimicking that.
- Reaching out to people.
- Offering free services when it’s the right situation.
[08:55] Hustling is the part that’s going to get you in the door. You can accelerate the process by being active and conscious of where you put your time. A lot of us fall into the trap of getting busy, instead of having nuance in your strategy. My Podcast is exactly about that: Learning values and strengths that will set you up for life.
[09:25] So it’s important to set goals. Figure out where you want to be. Figure out what your ideal job and life would be like when you get to that point. Once you get clarity on that, you can start eliminating what you don’t want. What are the requirements for that one studio you want to work? [09:48] The more you know what you want, the more you can eliminate what you don’t want and to recognize the opportunities when they line up. When you know the studio you want to work for, you can start looking at the work they’re doing. In the beginning, it might help you to have that North Star: something that you can align your skills with. That way you learn the key things and then fill in the gaps along the way, rather than trying to learn all of 3D. If it’s effects, you can learn particles or fluids. You can fill in the gaps and learn shading and texturing as you go, but you’re putting your focus on things that are really going to move the needle.
START TACKLING OTHER SKILLS
[10:33] I know people who’ve spent 10 years trying to get into the industry. But they weren’t applying themselves. They complain about the industry being bias. I know other people who’ve signed up for my FXTD Mentorship. They listened to the Podcast, my YouTube videos. And then I get that magic email, “I used all the tools! I used VFX Rates to figure out what I should charge (www.vfxrates.com). I used the Demo Reel Guide to build my reel (www.allanmckay.com/myreel). I listened to the Podcast on negotiating.” They built their contacts and looked for strategies to stand out. By the time they were ready to send out their reel, people knew who they were. We need to be doing all these things rather than putting all your focus on cutting a reel. Having a demo reel is critical but it’s not everything. You need to start showing up — and the rest will work itself out. A lot of us are inactive and then we blame everyone else. We go through the same cycle over and over.
[12:01] It’s important to be focused from the beginning, building a strategy and looking at everything out there. Get to know people in the business, comment on their work online. Make friends! You never know what opportunity comes up when you’re ready. You need to start leveraging your skills and relationships once the opportunity arrives. I’ve put so much content on how to get started:
- How to Get Started in VFX: www.allanmckay.com/184/
- How to Learn VFX: www.allanmckay.com/186/
- The 4-Minute Mile: www.allanmckay.com/218/
- Reaching Out to Studios for Work: www.allanmckay.com/11/
- The Hustler’s Mindset: www.allanmckay.com/161/
[13:11] I think it’s important to stop comparing yourself to everybody else and look at them as inspiration. You’re just seeing the wins! Sometimes it’s about putting those horse blinkers on and focusing on the wins. It’s also important to focus on other skills:
- Knowing whom to contact;
- Having the right type of experience.
[13:58] Bit by bit, there are always 5-6 focal points. When I started, I spent a year in 3D before the internet, with no tutorials or anyone to learn from. I needed to understand how animation worked, until my computer broke. Just taking that step back, everything just clicked. You have to realize that everything takes time and you must stop sabotaging yourself. Just by knowing where you want to be, you’re already ahead of most people. It’s not just about the 3D skills but other skills. Focus on all the bits and pieces. Be inspired and have fun with that! Have realistic goals: By having smaller, achievable goals, you will experience the wins that inspire you to keep moving. We all get overwhelmed. Sometimes, it’s about writing down the 3 key things that need to be done. You have to shift gears when you get frustrated.
Thanks for listening! I hope this helped.
I hope you found this Episode helpful and learned a lot from it. I’d love to hear what you thought about it.
Make sure to share this Episode around! Make sure to brush your teeth. That’s about all the advice I got for you this week.
Thanks for listening! Until next week —
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