continuing from here
DISCLAIMER (not the movie) : Most of these thoughts are gathered from my personal working/teaching experiences as well as talking to students, ex students, friends who run studios as well as friends who work in small and big studios as well as friends who have lectured. It is not based on published facts or figures. All comments are my own. No names of schools or companies are mentioned because I do not want a lawsuit and frankly I cannot be arsed to be sued.
Having a chat with my ex-lecturer just now. And I think there are some more stuff to be said about the local education locally. Specifically animation.
Fact. There is a HUGE gap in the quality of animation graduates that is coming out of tertiary education and the quality that is required in the industry to be hired. And that includes technical and artistic level.
Fact. You know Singapore love to blow its own trumpet. Number 1 in this, Best in that. As long as there is something that can be blown, it will be blown as long as it gets them paid and/or laid. (haha.....yes. innuendo intended.)
That is why you will never see any published statistical chart being shown how many percentage of graduates are hired DIRECTLY after graduation. Its grim reading and a huge lost in face.(Singapore is huge on surveys. Whether they get revealed to the public is another matter)
Unlike Marketing or Business Administration, there isn't really a ready industry for graduates to step into. So there isn't really enough of a demand to have the luxury for all graduates to learn on the job.
Or a pool of good and successful experienced professionals that you can tap into since they will probably be working overseas if they are.
Funny thing is similar courses like Communication Design or Motion graphic graduates are getting hired and quality of work is actually every high. And salary is actually decent. Again because there is a HUGE genuine demand and market for it.
And there fore a pool of people that you can tap and harness. And to be honest, the amount of technical requirement isn't that high. Photoshop and AE.
You will be hearing about how much politics and bureaucracy is going on in the institutes. And let me tell you this, there is fucking heaps. But then, no more then other govt sectors. Its the nature of the beast and it comes with the territories. Its not at a level that for animators/artistes a level that is not accustomed to or comfortable with. I am not saying you should. I am just explaining the rules.
Fact. Singapore is result based and very pragmatic environment. Singaporeans are too afraid to fail rather then failing to succeed. How much money can you make and how can you make it in the fastest time possible. Its an national obsession.
Now, let me tell you, these heads, professors and what not in tertiary education get paid lots. Lets just say is about 3-8 times your salary. Easily. And that is not including bonuses. And govt gives out generous bonuses. (At least compared to the industry that gives fuck all.)
(Not normal lecturers though. They are like Enciks or WOs in the army. Bo pian one. Gets the short end of the stick to deal with the shit. Respect. Unless they are like the encik that everyone hates because he is smoking one corner and just arrow people and dun take care of his staff. Just tahaning for long service award. Completely utterly useless.)
They got mortgages, cars, families and I am pretty damn sure a standard of living that is pretty comfortable. I mean fair enough, its just reward for bending over, playing the bureaucratic game to climb the ladder over the last 10-30 years. Right ? They are comfortable with their power and jostling for the next promotion. They know the game and plays it well.
"Hey why not just actually hire a qualified animator with years of studio experience training young people to run the course?"
"No! They do not know how the system works and will actually change stuff!" What if they are too good and actually take my position! Heavens!"
"They are ang mohs! They will get more pay then me for being an expat. How can?"
"How can you do that, what about that new section head scholar? He is one is us. He knows the system. And we can use him".
So now, imagine you are finally the Department Head at a tertiary institute in animation. And then when they do a survey, and they find that 1/2 of the graduates in your course are unemployed after graduation. It does not make for great career prospect to further your career or bank accounts. Right? Can you imagine how much bonus they are looking at not having if the number of graduates are down or the rival institution get more grads?
You would think the good thing to do is to actually do something to get the course to be better. Get qualified and talented lecturers and let them do the job.
1.) No... how can, later they too good, take my job, They must be in my control or I will lose face and people will say I cannot control my staff. Make me look bad.
2.) Later they are loose cannon and affect my rep.
3.) They are ang mohs! They will get more pay then me for being an expat. How can?
4.) There is no academically qualified lecturers. Woe is me.....
5.) Aiyah the other polys offering the same courses are getting more students..
6.) I hate this. There isn't actually enough talented or academically qualified lecturers to teach and there isn't an industry for the graduates to go into.
7.) "How about that new fresh graduate with the college degree? He is fresh and naive. We can use him, Maybe we will take a risk on the ang moh, He will offer something new and refreshing as well as he plays by our rules and under me".
You get the point.
I mean tough luck for the students, but I got a family and a career to care about. I didn't just put up with all over the years that just so that I will climb up here and die.
So how? hmm.... Will just try to make sure that the students all have good grades, less failure rates. More passes even if they suck. Who knows, art is subjective right.? I think.....
I know, raise more awareness of the dept. Organise more things like leadership and more govt projects. Raise profile. Big advertisement in the MRT stations and papers, more profiles of ex students, Big shiny brochures. Happy smiley faces PEOPLE! I demand it!
Big wayang until I get out of there and let the next guy who I hand picked so he will not sabo me to handle the shit.
If you are offended, please refer to the chorus of Cee-Lo's number 1 hit.)
Sure, you will see newspaper cuttings of ex-alumi of this institute or that working in the big companies and/or overseas. What they never say is how long these guys took or went to another school to study before getting in there. Every article is censured and re-edited to paint the best scenario.
Trust me on this, these institutes will find any and every leverage to cover in whatever credit they can squeeze.
Now again, I am not playing the blame game. I am just explaining the rules. And how you can work in these rules.
So for the good news and how you can work within the structure.
1.) The computers are fast and powerful in these schools. More then enough for your reel. One thing that you can't fault the govt is splashing the money on hardware. Unless you are lighting FG, GI with 10 mil polys with SSS. Then you are an idiot. A pile of shit is still a pile of shit even if you photographed it nicely.
2.) Identify which lecturers are the onz ones. And which ones to stay away. How to know, ask the seniors. Treat them good and give them respect and they will give you their time. These don't last long. So grab them while they are there.
3.) The libraries are well stock with DVDs of CG tutorials and books. They are your friends.
4.) If you hate animation and are just looking for a way to just pass the course so that you have a cert. please refer to the chorus of Cee-Lo's number 1 hit. (kidding, just do whatever it takes. doesn't matter since you won't ever be doing this again. Or honestly find another course that is easier to pass. I been down that road.)
5.) Exercise your most Singaporean right, complain! And when you are done. Complain some more. The one thing that bureaucrats fear is anything that will jeopardise their position. Remember they want to appear in control. In power. Play with that.
6.) Your best ally and friend are classmates. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Share ideas and you will learn faster. Sponge off them and you will be an island very quickly.
7.) Stay away from wayang projects. Even if they threaten to fail you. Its just to score brownie points. Focus on what is at hand. Getting better. No one is going to care about the stupid project 2 months down the road. And no one is going to care if you have some leadership certificate but you can't draw for shit.
8.) I repeat, Focus on what is at hand. Getter better. CG forums, tutorials. Be Relentless and train your eye. It will come but it takes time.
(Disclaimer 1 : If it doesn't work and you blame this blog for instigating you to do this, I will come to your house and laugh at you for the lack of brain usage)
(Disclaimer 2 : If you try this on me, please go ahead..... I beg you.. please...... make my day.)
Any other ideas, just post them below.
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien