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

March 4, 2011

Dealing with failure.

  I was going to write about this but i recalled an awesome post written by another local 3D artist know as "The Hand" a few years back that was working as a part time lecturer as well.

And I could not write it better then him so I would refer you to his post HERE.

Some excerpts

"And then there are the unlucky few who struggles for everything- people with so little innate talent that everything seems like a herculean task to them. Simple concepts which most students can grasp quite easily are usually next to incomprehensible to them. Its not that they are not trying hard enough, but sometimes even the best efforts may result in nothing. I can understand exactly how they feel."

 "I suppose it might be a good thing for me to simply advise them to drop out- after all the fees are really expensive and the their chances never did look good. Some had hardly picked up a pencil to draw since they were a toddler.
But I don’t. I never did and I never will- because sometimes you just never know. Some may be late bloomers who just need a little more time. I guess it might be a fool’s dream, but I think everyone deserves a chance, even a fool’s chance.
So I just teach them like I would any student. By advising them to drop out would have been the equivalent of me quitting on them. How could I, if I taught them not to quit on themselves. The only thing I will do is to warn them of the consequences of not working hard and and not putting their heart and soul into what they do. I don’t believe being a CG artist is something that one could do if his heart is not into it. I don’t sugarcoat things for my students but neither do I want to crush their dreams. The only thing I can do is to like them know the truth. Its a hard industry to be in, but the payoff is you get to do something which you have always dreamed about."

  I wish that I one day will have his compassion. But I realised something that I probably overlooked. You see... I am making an assumption that people who take up this course or who want to enter this line really really want to do this line. Like there is nothing else I would rather be doing then this, maybe even more then getting laid. And its just a matter of getting them motivated to reach the level necessary.

  But I also realised not all students are in this course because they want to be animators working in Pixar or whatever or even aspiring cg artistes. It could be just something that they thought to be an genuinely interesting career to have. Might as well give it a go. The problem comes in when they realise that the amount of work and inherent ability that it takes may be too much.

  I am not going to condemn them because they realised how laborious it is for them to make it. It just means they are not cut out for this industry or its not their cup of tea. Its not about giving up on them at all. But I would and have advised them to quit early and save on the fees and time that you will need to spend if you are miserable studying. Its easy to say but very hard to do. So I would just advise them to consider what they want out of this.

  But if they want to persevere because it is something that they are genuinely interested in, of course I will push them to the best of their abilities. But I will ask to give up clinging on to a goal they are not cut out to be if it is brutally apparent that they are not cut out for it.

 (good thing I do not have to be retaining head counts for the course or if losing them will incur a loss to the course).

The problem of course is that quitting or leaving a course is considered to be being a loser and shameful. As well losing that piece of paper and all the money that the parents put inside.

And we are so afraid of losing.

But I think his statement here summerises beautifully.

"Sometimes failure is not the worst thing in life. I don’t believe life has a better teacher than failure. If you fail once and you don’t give up on yourself, failure can only motivate you to fighter harder and work smarter. Sometimes failing also lets you know the limits of your ability, helps you to know yourself better."

 Here in Singapore, we have a saying "kiasu". Or to simply put. Afraid to lose. We are a nation that is afraid to lose. It is cultivated in all out mindset. And it can be over crippling. Actually it is crippling. Definitely for me, and to a certain extend even now.

I will not discuss the reasons of how our country arrived at this stage. There are articles written about it by scholars, politicians and educators. I would just say it is one of the price of progress here. It does give a easily manageable population where the majority of the mindset is making money. (Including mine).

But it have breed a couple generations of students that are adverse to risk taking and taking the safe route and the repercussions this have even in this the industry. (more on this in a later post)

  I will also examine how I tried to develop critical thinking in a later post. (this was one of the several reasons I left production work.)

Maybe if there is something that you have to share, please do.


  1. I think the key here is to find something you love to do, and the second thing is to guard that Passion. The latter needs alot of determination. Because of social pressure, pressure from parents, from friends, money problems, being not good enough at what you do etc.
    When i just graduated, i wondered around jobs for a year before knowing i wanted to do animation, i stopped what i was doing then and went to do my reel for half a year( Doing part-time to get by, while being constantly nagged by mother to change industry), although now when i think back, i really dunno where i got that courage from, i guess being "young" at that time gave me a few leeway to explore my options.
    I guess it also helped that i got to know a friend from my internship who mentored me in animation while doing my reel.
    I guess it all boils down to yourself, if you don't want something enough, you will never do anything about it. Just my thoughts.

  2. It is very true. Be keen and hungry. But most importantly humble. Most of the people in this industry are like minded people. And if you show the hunger and willingness to learn. Most people will often take time to explain and help you. Gd luck.