Episode 355 — NFT’s and Other “Hacks” — Clinton Jones
Episode 355 — NFT’s and Other “Hacks” — Clinton Jones
Clinton Jones is a Director, Content Creator, VFX Artist and Photographer. He has worked at Rocket Jump and at Corridor Digital. On his YouTube Channel, where he is known as Pwnisher, he launches challenges for his community, as well as creates tutorials. His YouTube Channel has a massive following of over 557K subscribers, while his Instagram has 110K followers.
Currently, Clinton is working on co-writing his first feature film, creating content and making art.
In this Podcast, Allan McKay and Clinton discuss the habits of successful people, productivity hacks, the importance of soft skills and how NFT’s are empowering contemporary artists.
Pwnisher on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWIfzAYHyNSyHmT2AO-54yg
Clinton Jones on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3807502/
Clinton Jones on IG: @_pwnisher_ (https://www.instagram.com/_pwnisher_/?hl=en)
Clinton Jones on Twitter: @_pwnisher_ (https://twitter.com/_pwnisher_?lang=en)
Clinton Jones on Allan McKay’s Podcast: www.allanmckay.com/307
[04:23] The Importance of Soft Skills
[07:50] The Influence of Music on Creativity
[15:03] Habits of Successful People
[22:23] Clinton Recommends Books
[26:45] Avoiding Distractions and Productivity
[43:49] NFT’s and the Empowerment of Artists
EPISODE 355 — NFT’S AND OTHER “HACKS” — CLINTON JONES
This is Allan McKay. Welcome to Episode 355! I’m sitting down with Clinton Jones who is a Director, Content Creator, VFX Artist and Photographer, and a former member at Corridor Digital. This is a second part to the original Podcast I’ve done with Clinton (www.allanmckay.com/307). We talk about NFT’s, productivity hacks, the importance of soft skills, the influence of music on creativity and lots of other topics.
I’m really excited to sit down with Clinton. I thought it’d be a fun Episode to talk about the creative workflow. This will be a good one!
Please take a few moments to share this Podcast with others. It would be a really great way for you to support it!
Let’s dive in!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
[01:20] 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!
[50:19] 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!
INTERVIEW WITH CLINTON JONES (PART II)
[03:55] Allan: Clinton, thank you for taking the time to chat! Do you want to quickly introduce yourself?
Clinton: Absolutely! My name is Clinton Jones. I’m known as the Pwnisher on the internet. I’m a Director, VFX Artist, and a Photographer. I’m mostly known for directing short films, action, comedy, VFX short films. I’ve worked at Rocket Jump with Freddy Wong for a long time. Same with Corridor Digital (www.allanmckay.com/238). And I’ve got my own channel as Pwnisher. There’s a lot we can get into!
[04:23] Allan: That’s awesome, man!
Clinton: And you mentioned something too. You said, “Oh, I’ve wasted 4 years, I could’ve been doing something with that time.” If you’re in that situation, don’t worry. Let’s take drumming, for instance! I would take breaks from drumming. Sometimes I practice everyday, but currently I haven’t practiced in about a year. Man, I was so good back then! You’re never going to be as bad as when you started. You have to do a little catchup but you don’t have to start over. Try and look at it from a situation that you’ll be worse off than the first day when you started your career. You’ve grown as a person. You’ve learned from your failures.
[05:39] Allan: I think that’s true that you can keep adding to your skills. After a while, you may go down one path and you think you’re starting over again. But you are not. You’re leveraging all the skills you’ve acquired so far. You’re bound to apply them, be it your leadership or your management skills. It’s not like you’re going to forget them or you’re going to start over. For me, producing and managing shows made me better in 3D. I would self manage even better.
Clinton: A hundred percent! There is a book called The Art of Learning by Joshua Waitzkin. He is a chess grandmaster. He also won the world championship for tai chi. In that book he talks about the more things you do and become great at that thing, you can apply what you’ve learned to the next thing that you do. It makes the next thing you do a lot easier and you’ll get better at it faster. You get better and faster the more you learn. You’ve mentioned that you’re producing work that helped in your VFX. Drumming helped me be better at VFX and VFX has helped me in drumming. The same goes for yoga, for rock climbing. Me and buddy Adam keep coming up with parallels between making music and VFX.
[07:50] Allan: I’ve always had a fascination with my guests coming on and every one having a guitar or another instrument. So many people say they owe their success to their music. I’ve noticed that parallel. How does that work for you? How do you tie those two together?
Clinton: Music for me is so crucial for coming up with ideas. I’ll hear a song. I’m a fan of ambient music and it puts me in the world immediately. I started with dark ambient music. It’s great because if I close my eyes, I’ll start feeling things. I used to go to bed listening to that music as a kid.
[10:08] Allan: Wow! I can relate. When I was 16 years old, I was obsessed with facial modeling because it was hard to do back then. I locked myself in a dark room and modeling pieces. It was a bunch of heads on spikes. I went to a dark place! There is a site called FocusatWill.com. It has ambient music or sound, like chatter inside a cafe. It will even have some destructive, EDM music. And there is white noise too! It’s become my go-to.
Clinton: That is the sponsor of today’s Podcast! It’s so important to me. It puts me into a headspace where I can see stories. That’s why I include it in my writing, directing. I listen to guys like Mount Shrine. It puts me in a space. When I play the drums, I can play for 6 hours straight. I get so zoomed in and focused. I can do the same thing in rendering. It’s the same feeling of getting lost in the art. Both allow me to dive. My mind is super focused. Sometimes, I can’t even go to bed because I’ll keep seeing the renders. I need to meditate.
[13:49] Allan: It kind of makes sense though! You’re training your brain to get into space while you’re listening to that music. You’re associating that with your work and you’ve trained your brain to switch into that mode.
Clinton: For me, walks are a way to reset. I can tell the difference between a walk or no walk. Take an hour before you unwind!
[15:03] Allan: Do you have any habits like that? Walks are a good way to unwind. Talking or moving is a good way for me to get through a problem. There is a book called The Element by Ken Robinson. It talks about how artists and influential people work differently. I don’t keep still very much.
Clinton: I learned I had ADHD and it’s hard for me to focus. But when I can focus, nothing can break it. It’s not full-on ADHD. I have a bit of an OCD as well. I wonder how much all of us have that stuff. I was in this 5:00 a.m. club where you had to wake up at [4:45] and hit the gym hard, then do yoga, then start learning. I did that for 60 days straight. But I felt really burnt out. Sleep is a huge thing for me. Matthew Walker is the sleep guy! He is a scientist that studies sleep. Sleep is more important than waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work out. On my best day, I wake up and work out; chill (not work yet); then jump into work, taking 10 minute breaks every hour. Then I unwind at night. No work on the computer, no emails for 2-3 hours before bed. No blue lights. I don’t eat before I sleep. Some days, I get there, others I don’t.
[19:02] Allan: What time do you usually go to sleep? I get up at [4:45] every day. And I was going really hard. It is pretty draining. But it means that I have to go to sleep at [9:00] or [10:00] at night.
Clinton: As long as I get to sleep by [10:00] or [10:30], I have to get 7 hours minimum. I have a sleep timer that says at [9:30] to go to bed. That’s the thing: If you want to get a lot done, you have to go to bed early.
[20:22] Allan: I feel like we’re all wrestling with time, trying to get more hours in a day. You have to be able to manage yourself and know where your time is going.
Clinton: A hundred percent! That’s why I love self-help books. What are your goals and why do you want to do them? What are you going to do everyday to get yourself to that point? If you lived the same year over and over, you’d have the same year. You want to keep growing though! It helps me to write down my goals. It’s helpful to get to that routine.
[22:23] Allan: What are some books that have impacted you in your life?
- The 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness by Jim Rohn
- Mastery by George Leonard: It talks about hitting a plateau and falling off. The book talks about riding out the plateau. People are so about needing everything now and not having patience.
The whole NFT thing is crazy. If you’re an artist and you’re stressed out about NFT’s, you aren’t alone. A part of me wants to sell so I can make my movies. But the other part of me reminds me to not put out just any crap. I went with the side of putting out detailed work. Don’t be afraid of things even if they’re easy.
[25:38] Allan: You’re right: Some people will overcomplicate things. When I supervise, I realize that artists complicating things costs money. How do you prioritize your time?
Clinton: Hey, that’s another book called Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy.
[26:45] Allan: Ash Thorp and I talk about that book all the time (www.allanmckay.com/70).
Clinton: Dude! That’s the guy I always wanted to connect with. I love his vibe! That’s super cool. That’s an amazing book about prioritizing. I prioritize my stuff in order of importance. I go down the list of all the options. It’s all about choosing the things that will get you the furthest. Do the things that are important and set you up for the future. I’m looking at my YouTube Channel right now and figuring out the things I want to do. I do trello boards. I list everything that I want to do and then I start moving those things in order of importance.
[29:14] Allan: That’s what I do, to a T! I have two mind mapping programs. If it’s throwing ideas, I’ve been using MindMeister. I also use XMind to plot my courses. I also use Trillo.
Clinton: Dude, these look awesome!
[30:26] Allan: MindMeister is really easy and fluid. I get really in the weeds. At [4:45] in the morning, I’ll be mapping out my day. Then I’ll have official instructions I can share with other people.
Clinton: This is awesome! When I was using a service called Mirror, I was in it and I just wanted the octane node tree as my custom map. It’s my personal preference. It would be great to make a mind map software for VFX artists like that.
[32:51] Allan: It’s so interesting to see if there is software that works just for you. I was chatting with Hugo Martin and he was mentioning a few similar books. It’s cool to know other people are into the stuff you’re into. What other books have changed your life?
Clinton: Let’s see!
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve read his other books, too.
- Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. That one scared the crap out of me! It talks about any job that’s not from your passion is a fake job, and how you’re just running away from your purpose.
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is all about the bad stuff that happens to our body if we don’t get sleep.
[35:15] Allan: One book I love to death was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography. I read that 6-7 times. It’s called Total Recall. I’ve read The Power of No by James Altucher. That one had a huge impact on me! In 2015, I vowed to say no to projects that didn’t align with my goals. I expected to make less money but I ended up 3 times as much. That freed me up to be available for things that I really want to do.
Clinton: That was my takeaway. It made me realize how much people want my attention.
[37:58] Allan: It’s on airplane mode for me 24-7. I choose when I want to be distracted.
Clinton: I think that would stress me out. I get stressed out when I take it off that mode. Which is why I love traveling. When you come back, life hits you. Not to say that I don’t love my friends. I hate my thumbs, I can’t text anything without autocorrect everything. The Power of No was a good book.
[39:30] Allan: I like David Allen’s method that’s based on the idea that your brain is designed to create ideas, not store them (www.allanmckay.com/182). We should start a book club!
Clinton: Sounds great! I forget stuff so much, I love Trillo. I’ll just type it out. Do you take Sundays to plan?
[41:12] Allan: Yeah! I get up at [4:45] every day. I get 15 minutes to resist it, but at 5:00 a.m. I’m up. Sunday is my planning day. I go in 90-day sprints. I aim to compact what I want from a year — into 3 months. Every Sunday is more on a macro level.
Clinton: There are times when I feel lazy and I don’t want to do any of that stuff. It’s important.
[42:44] Allan: I know so many people who say they’ll take a vacation to work on their startup, but then if they don’t have structure, they get nothing done. Which is why some people need that. I’m sure it’s the other way around with you. The day job gets in the way.
Clinton: For sure! I can’t do both.
[43:49] Allan: The topic of money and NFT’s drives me insane, especially when people don’t’ know what they are. I think they empower artists to do what they really want to do. They can go and make more art.
Clinton: The way I see it is like a stock. People are investing in you and what you can do. It’s allowed me to focus on the art I really want to make. Prices are insanely high right now because the cost of crypto currency is high. I think it’s the coolest thing ever. Beeple explained that it’s not artist against a client — it’s an artist with an investor. You’re a team!
[45:45] Allan: I remember Beeple saying that in VFX or being a designer, you’re working for a client. But it’s different when you’re an artist. You have people backing you. (www.allanmckay.com/285).
Clinton: And I’ve met some really cool artists that I look up to! It’s been an amazing community. I also connect with people who like my stuff. It’s awesome!
[47:08] Allan: My wife is a designer of vehicle wraps. She just drew some art of DMX when he passed. A bunch of people reached out to have her art be displayed at his funeral. Other people are suggesting she makes some NFT. It’s about empowering the artists. You’ve got communities of people that love this stuff.
Clinton: It’s put a spotlight on the whole thing, it’s crazy! It’s stressful for a number of reasons and exciting at the same time.
[48:38] Allan: I was chatting with Wes Ball who is the Director of The Maze Runner trilogy (www.allanmckay.com/304). He was talking about figuring out the beats in a movie, and how music has played a huge role in that. I’m always wondering what the first step is.
Clinton: Yes, that’s amazing. It’s the emotional drive. Then you can take the music away, but the pacing has been set. Music just amplifies everything, be it in your short film or render. Movies are the best because they bring it all together.
I hope you enjoy this Episode. I want to thank Clinton for taking the time to chat! If you didn’t listen to the first part of this interview, check it out at www.allanmckay.com/307.
Please take a moment to share this Episode with others. Next week, I will be chatting with Nate Black, Creator of a highly successful YouTube Channel called Channel Makers.
Until then —
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