Recharge your Batteries

So I was reading the Animation Mentor's "Animation Tips and Tricks" online this morning and I came across a section that seems to be pretty true. Especially cause I know it happens to everyone, you can basically see it everyday around here. They talk about even if your the most passionate person about what your doing there are just sometimes that you just don't want to do it. You stop being motivated and it becomes something that you just have to get done. I highly recommend looking up their two books Volume One and Two. There is definitely some great info in both of those books.

Tip #22: Recharge Your Animation Batteries!

"Here's the deal - you might be the most passionate animator in the world, and your batteries might be firing away at 100% for a few years even, but eventually, we all hit that moment where it becomes a grind. If you're working, it suddenly becomes a Job, with a capital J. Something we're required to do, but man, we'd rather be doing almost anything else under the sun. We've made a million changes to the shot over and over for the client, or just can't get this certain acting beat to read properly, or we've spent more hours animating in a week than we thought actually EXISTED in a week, or the project is just so far removed from the high hopes you felt
at the beginning, and our hearts are just suddenly NOT in it anymore.
Whatever the reason, we just don't care anymore.

Well, that isn't quite right - we don't care about the thing that MATTERS anymore.

We care about keeping our jobs, or we care about getting the assignment done, or whatever, but when it comes to the ART of what we're doing, forget it. We don't care. We're done. We go into "Animation Roboto" mode and just push keys around and scale curves and do whatever little iterations we can do to keep the shot moving forward, but we put zero creativity or art into it.
This, my friends, is when our batteries are toast. Maybe they aren't dead yet, but they're old and tired and starting to leak acid all over our passion.

How do we do this? Well, I guess it'll depend a little bit on who you are.
For me, it's all about getting a little space from this animation stuff sometimes.
Ever since I got my dream job at ILM, I've had a long-standing rule that I don't animate outside of the office. Ever. I know some of you will think that's lame, or weak, or like I don't love to animate or something, but you know what? I've seen too many people get burned out. I had too many "teachers" back in school who had dead batteries. That isn't going to be me, if I can help it, and part of the solution is to have a life outside of animation!
I animate all day long, five (and sometimes six) days per week. When I go home, I need to do things that recharge my batteries whenever I can. Things like reading a good book, or digging through some comics, or watching some great TV shows...

I'll write a story, or I'll watch a movie, just for the fun of it, and turn off my hyper-critical animation brain as much as I can and just try to enjoy it for what it is instead of picking it apart or frame-by-framing anything. I'll fire up my computer and look at some of my favorite artists
latest work - again, not really to study it, but just to ENJOY it.

Having just returned from my vacation/honeymoon, some of which was spent on the most beautiful beach I've ever seen, I can vouch for the fact that travel, seeing exciting new things, meeting new people, and some serious hammock-time can also really do
wonders for your batteries!

In short, whenever I can, I'll find things that inspire me like crazy – not even necessarily inspiring me as an artist, but even just inspiring me as a person – and just experience those things as much as I can.

I realize that earlier in your animation career, this isn't a real option, because for the first few years, you probably DO need to be animating as much as you possibly can - both to learn and to create new stuff for your reel.

However, once I built a demo reel I was comfortable with, I set aside the need to constantly animate my brains out every waking moment of my life, and instead focused on
making sure that I was relaxed, inspired, and excited to go to work and animate every single morning. "

That is only a small section of that, but it is definitely a good read. Lots of nice tricks in there and suggestions towards not just animation but the whole thing as a whole. If ever get the spare time its a good thing to look at.

Till next time


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