It seems that just about every animator I have ever know has either tried to start their own studio, or aspired to do so at some point. The first question that should be asked is- Why? What it is it about owning your own studio that artist find so appealing? The second question is- Why is it that so few animators are successful in this aspiration?
I have my theories on the answers to these questions, and I plan to investigate this topic further. But that is not what this particular post is about. This is about my journey to create a successful studio.
Although I cannot tell you why this is such a common dream, I can tell you why I decided to start a studio, and the journey that brought me to this point.
[h3]Back to the beginning[/h3] I went to art school with no definite outcome. When I first started school, I wasn’t even determined if I wanted to finish. I wanted to create. I knew college would get me out of town, I knew that I needed to act, and feared my inaction would ultimately be my ruin.
I went to college for a while, then I quit and worked in the field for a while. I got more focused and went back to school. Nine years after my first semester at CCAD, I graduated with honors (and a mountain of debt).
After college, I was extremely confident. I was one of the best in my class! I worked harder than most, and I actually had some experience. I was on my way to LA, but wanted to make a stop in my home town to visit my family for a few months and build my resume. I would get any job I wanted because of my experience and reel, right? I would then go to LA, where I knew it would be harder to get work but ultimately I would do it.
When I got to LA, it wasn’t any easier. But after refining my skills and approaching things with a little more humility, I did find work and began to learn what only experience could give me. I was on my way.
[h3]Turning point[/h3] I had the opportunity to get a back stage tour of Digital Domain. I will never forget seeing a Porsche drive onto the lot. My friend told me the person’s position at the studio and tried to inspire me. He told me about this man’s hard work and sacrifices that had gotten him to where he was. “He has succeeded and has everything he wants! Sure, he went through a divorce in the process, but it has all paid off in the end”. As a husband, those words weighed heavily on me. That was not something I was willing to sacrifice.
From that point on, I was determined to provide for my family and be the best person I could. Ultimately, this realization determined my decision to move back to my home town. Things went much better the second time. With a new humility and an open mind, I found work and continued to build my resume and most importantly my experience. I started teaching animation and 3D at a local university. Teaching was something I loved to do, and eventually I began teaching full time.
[h3]Fast forward 5 years and two universities[/h3] I am not starting my own studio because I can’t find other work, or because I want to create my own thing. I am not starting my own studio because I don’t want to have to move to LA. I am not starting my own studio. We are creating something else, something new. Mudbrick Studios primary goal is to give artists real experience, and to help them discover and create their own future.
I am going to blog about the experience to help other artist start their own studios, for whatever reasons they may have.
Founder of Mudbrick Studios