Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Six key skills to succeed as an animator

I love my job. I get to see students — who have a massive desire and passion to tackle their challenges internally and externally — make their dreams come to life. Not everyone succeeds, yet there are common threads that tie those who do together. 

Here are six key areas of personal development I’ve seen in those who succeed as animators:   

  1. Be humble. Attitude plays a MAJOR role in your success. Who wants to work with a jerk? I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t. This does not mean that you need to let someone walk all over you, either. Build confidence in who you are, share your thoughts, and respect those of others. Remember, there’s more than your way to tackle a challenge.
  1. Be thirsty. I LOVE this one. It’s also been called “the beginner’s mind.” At Animation Mentor, we call this Continuous Improvement and it’s one of our core values. Never feel like you have “arrived.” There’s always more to learn. When you get stuck, look for ways to pivot your thinking and you will find renewed inspiration.
  1. Share everything you know. There’s a famous quote that states, “It is in giving that we receive.” I really love this and find it so applicable. Those who give comments and share their knowledge are those who seem to accelerate quicker. Those who hoard information only go so far. When you learn something that accelerates your skills — share that knowledge. You’ll be surprised at what comes of it.
  1. Never give up. Don’t lose focus, it’s just a matter of time. This may be easier said than done, yet remember that you cannot ever stop learning, practicing, and growing. Be sure to water your mind and feed it goodness whenever possible.
  1. Beware of the “gremlin voice.” Most likely, there will always be a "gremlin voice" in our heads that expresses our insecurities — and most likely, there’s no way to ever fully turn off that voice. So think about "turning the volume down." If it's blaring at 10 max, then what would it be like to turn it down to a 5? Or even a 7? Over time, learn to identify the voice and slowly begin to turn it down.
  1. Nurture balance. The life of an animator should not be all about the latest animated movie. Those who succeed have a passion for life just as much, or more, than they do for animation. Be sure to cultivate YOU.

These six little things could take a lifetime to nurture. Which one are you going to tackle today? Think about it, get inspired … and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments below!

-Bobby "Boom" Beck


Gabriel Ryan said...

it is so helpful to get this kind of insight from artists as successful as y'all. i remember listening to a successful businessman back when i was in high school and he said that if i truly wanted to excel at something, or achieve a specific goal, to find others who have already excelled at or achieved that same thing. and then... listen to them. thanks for sharing the path. i'm excited to be on that same path, albeit much further back :)

Bobby Beck said...


Thanks for sharing! The journey is the best part. The cool thing is once you embrace that you realize you NEVER arrive. A concept I've learning to find comfort in. :)


SIO∗SISM said...

Oh man, the balance part is what resonates the most for me! Kind of goes back to what you said about being humble, yet also having enough confidence to not let anyone walk all over you. Experience is the greatest teacher - and I am grateful for learning this lesson the hard way.

LEARN TO BY DOING! That's how I would translate your point about sharing what you know. I usually post most of what I get up to, online. By being visible, people see your growth overtime. That has really helped while being out on my own.

BEING HELPFUL. I liked what you said about posting comments too. Instead of playing the role of "look at me, I am an expert in everything," I enjoy commenting on other people's work and giving "constructive criticism" where I can. That has also helped me connect with some really great people, and relaxing any barriers that may have been put up initially.

Dapoon said...

Such great pointers!

No matter how hard I try to tackle the last one, I always end up talking about the latest animated movie. Doh!

Jokes aside, I have a question. How do you manage to be humble when a jealous colleague/senior tries to walk over you just to play mean? Where do you exactly draw the line between being humble and putting your foot down? I'm sure it happens quite a lot in studios.

Nick Matias said...

Great Tips Bobby, thanks!

Yeah that Gremlin is sneaky! It's amazing how insecurities can hold you back. I'm sure if you had a "taming the Gremlin" talk it would be full house!

samad said...

well said... nice lines to motivate and inspire.. I'll surely follow guidelines shown by my seniors... Im just waiting for that TIME when I start living my dream(WORKING AS AN ANIMATOR)

Mitesh Mhatre said...

hi thanks for sharing this :)

jannet maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jannet maria said...

Thanks for sharing excellent tips. Its really wonderful and motivate the upcoming animators. This really inspires me. Good Job ! Awesome post!

arena multimedia

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