Episode 10 – Blow up your career!


This is your chance – throughout December, 3x a week new episodes specifically on transforming your career and making the biggest impact in 2015!

Episode 10 – Your goals for 2015 and Designing your career blueprint

This month is all about change – we’re going to band together and commit to our goals for 2015 and begin to build a roadmap to how to achieve even our most unattainable goals. This month is your chance to make change and to go after your hopes and dreams and measure your success as all of us will will be provided the tools throughout December.

Every few days a new episode will be up giving you the keys to change and opening up new doors, with episodes tackling our biggest sticking points and showing how to break through and move forward, gain new skills and look at our careers under a microscope and find out exactly what we need to 10x our career and make the biggest impact imaginable!

Write your goals and join us as we commit to transforming our careers and making a big impact in 2015!

Lastly – enter you email address for additional email scripts, PDF’s and other goodies I will be giving out to help you on your journey in 2015!

  • faouzi

    my goals is to get to MPC or ILM or any of this biggest VFX company around the world… as FX Artist or Compositor , the problem is in morocco we don’t have many project in vfx we have just small project i need to know what the experience need for this kind of jobs ? and did i have a chance to join one of those companies ? and what the educational level needed for this jobs ? Are these companies accept juniors artist as trainee ?and thank you

  • Alex

    My goal is to move in LA next year as Lighting TD.
    And what is you goal for next year?=)

  • Szymon Kedra

    Hey Allan,

    I love the advice, it’s like reverse-engineering goals 🙂

    I think this is especially important for people in the creative fields because there’s just so much to learn (not only on the art side, but business and communication as well) that without some sort of a career “compass” your efforts might be too scattered to make any significant progress towards your goals.

    So my goal is to work on feature films, TV shows or commercials in the next 3 years, ideally as a FX TD.
    I will need to come up with a proper reel; right now I mainly work on product visualizations (still images only), but the type of work I do doesn’t really fit a VFX reel.
    There’s a lot of software to learn – right now I’m learning Particle Flow, but there’s also Thinking Particles, FumeFX, PhoenixFD, Realflow, Krakatoa and more.
    On top of that, I would like to start meeting more people in the industry, that’s the area that I neglected the most so far.

    Those would be the main goals. As a side note, putting this stuff up online feels really uncomfortable, but I guess that’s the point 🙂


  • 2015 is gonna be my year to get back to California. After graduating from college 3 years ago I told myself I would move anywhere opportunity knocked and that was Colorado for me. Since then I’ve worked in several great positions at companies that I love. I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to run an in house design team and how to freelance and I continue to put myself out there in order to keep learning and experimenting but I’m absolutely ready to move back to my home state and work for a studio where I get to work along side other great designers. I’ve been a bit pessimistic about making this transitions but your podcasts have given me the motivation that I’ve needed to get moving on this and really make it happen next year. I’m fully committed and ready to take any and all advice I can get. Here’s to 2015!!

  • After listening to this episode, I found you describing a lot of what I see myself going through now. While I’m fortunate enough to have the support of people closest in my life, what frustrates me is having others question them— about me. Usually relatives who don’t have the courage to ask me directly, instead put pressure on people like my girlfriend or my mom. They ask: Why doesn’t he just get a regular job? Why doesn’t he just do office work instead? Why can’t he get steady work? They don’t care that I’m working day and night to improve my reel. They don’t see that my computer is NEVER idle. They don’t see how gut-wrenching it is to kill a 40-hour render because it could be better. They don’t see how much I’ve improved in the last 3 months. They don’t see how much I love doing what I do — and they don’t see the awesome projects that I’ve been coming out with on my own.

    With that in mind, I agree that it is important to write down your goals. There’s something about posting it publicly that is both inspirational and horrifying– so here goes:

    My long term goal is to have the opportunity to work on video game cinematics. I can’t help but be in awe every time clips of green hellfire rain down upon civilization, advanced races of planet-destroying aliens clash with humans in the not-so-distant future, or not-so-hidden (and sometimes laser) arm blades pop up on my tv or on my Facebook feed.

    In the short term, I think I need to find my way into the professional world but at a level higher than the smaller advertising studios for which I’ve done projects so far — and I think I’m getting close to that. My latest reel, with work from one of Allan’s workshops is starting to generate some attention and has already landed me some interviews in the coming weeks (mostly in Canada) with some awesome companies for which I’m extremely grateful. Wish me luck — and Allan, thanks for the inspirational words.

    • amckay

      Hi Mike, I completely get it – it’s difficult for others to see mainly because a majority of occupations fall into a few standardized categories that are recognized by everybody and the process to get there is pretty linear (go college, get a job, start at the bottom, work your way through paper pushing hell, retire (obviously that’s a generalization)).

      We are definitely in an industry that has it’s issues of stability and fluctuation, and everyone is faced with plenty of roadblocks on their journey, like anything you pick up momentum as you go – the more you work the more contacts you build, the bigger your reel/portfolio, the more you get better and knowing how to land work – it all starts to pick up, but getting that initial pace going takes a lot of work and a lot of time to build up.

      Still, those people shouldn’t affect you, but at the same time it’s hard not to let them get to you – just like anything maybe spend a bit of time and think of your responses, the same way when someone asks what you do you need to know what to say back – you can always say “yeah it’s been rough but I’ve been doing self-study and building my portfolio of work, as with everything it takes time but I’m hanging in there!”

      New York (you’re in NYC right!?) is also a tricky city, it’s very clicky, and also the jobs can be very sporadic
      When you’re ready I’ll be glad to shoot some contacts your way or at least get you in contact with a few guys – it’s all about networking!
      And same goes for the game cinematics as well!

      Definitely use key words in your applications – a lot of time people hiring aren’t going to be able to sift through everything you say as much as if you say “maya, fumefx, rayfire, dynamics, realflow” as if HR or a producer is told “Go find a great Krakatoa artist” and you say “I’m a particle FX guy” it might not resonate. It’s counter intuitive, but always something to think about. Cover yourself from every angle! 🙂

      Keep me in the loop with how the interviews go!!

    • Mike, I really empathize with you after reading your comment cause of similar situations & similar are of interest.
      Wish you all the luck man!!

  • My goals for 2015:
    1. Officially start packaging my original feature film project (By doing at least 5 pitch-meetings).
    2. Direct at least one Web/TV commercial.
    3. Get a manager/agent.
    4. Get another “director-for-hire” gig, with a greater budget than the previous one.

  • Rune Gabrielsen

    Hi Allan

    Thanks for taking your time to help others reach their goals. You give great advice into the industry, and this podcast is just what I need in my life right now.

    2015 is going to kick ass. I’ve been working for some years as a graphic designer, and also a year in 3D architectual visualization. But I have a burning desire to work in film/game/animation.
    This will hapen.
    My goal for 2015 is to get my chance to start my 3D/VFX career in one of the few studios here in Oslo in Norway. I’ve been working on my new reel, and the first stage is to get the reel done by mid january. Then send it to all the firms on my list. Then follow up on every single one with phonecalls. My longterm goal is find my place in production of feature films, animated films or comercials.

    I totally get what people here is saying. All my friends have stable office jobs, and has been following the standard routs. I’m trying to keep my dream alive, but it feels hard sometimes to find your own way. I’m keep my head up and will follow all your advices Allan. Thanks again for giving out all this great information.

  • Alright. I’ve been into self-development and such for a few years now. I’m 19 and I dropped out of college a year ago to pursue my goals. I’ve been doing 3D/VFX for 6+ years now and I’m seriously good at it. If you give a crap, I’ll let you be the judge of it 🙂 – http://davidkatara.blogspot.com
    I’ll try to keep this short.

    So, I’ve been working on personal projects this year to build a reel and a portfolio. I’ve decided to specialize in modeling/sculpting.
    I’m in a 300 ppl town in Croatia, “Middle-of-nowhere-ville” and my goals are pretty classic – work for Blur, ILM, Weta, places like that. Setting such goals seems very balsy but I’m truly willing to bleed for it. My life is literally nothing but 3D these days. I spend my days in the house working on my projects 15+ hours a day. Go out like once a month for a weekend and that’s it. There’s no giving up. Ultimately, I can’t give up. I guess I could get a job at like a webdev or software company (I’ve been coding since like 8) but there’s no way I’d accept anything less than the best.

    So my actual goals for 2015 are:
    – Wrap up a few personal projects I’m working on and make a reel from them.
    – Get a job at one of the few very small VFX studios in Croatia that do commercials and such.
    – Go to some industry events if I can scrape some money for it (IFCC is in Croatia with some seriously big ZBrush and concept art guys coming down here)

    And that’s about it. If I can just get some experience, I think I have a shot at it. I kinda met online a guy from Croatia who works at one of the biggest studios in US and he saw some of my VFX work online and actually likes it. I make really good work IMO, I push it to the limit and always go “the extra mile” to make it really awesome so I think that makes me kinda stand out. I never put out “good” work, it’s either really sick and detailed and awesome or nothing.

    Logically looking at it, I really think I’m gonna make it but looking at my life so far, it truly seems impossible for my brain to even picture it being real because of my current situation which is shit, tbh.

    Anyways, I was working and listening to your podcast and felt like sharing it.

    Thanks so much man, this episode was so inspiring! Keep doing it!
    I bet I’ll meet you in person one day at least to say thanks!

    Good luck with your future endeavors,

    • PS. Looking back on my comment, I realized I sound very egotistical by saying I’m “seriously good”
      No, I’m not that good compared to the pros, I’m not even close to some of the masters I look up to but, my main point was simply that I was willing to put in as much work as it takes to stand out, that’s it.

      Just wanted to clear that up, I sounded like a duche a bit 🙂

  • Hi Allan,

    Great listening to your podcasts. I’ve started using some of your advice and it’s already gotten me some results in the form of new job offers. Currently I am an FX supervisor on a Nickelodeon television series. I have had some experience in VFX which I enjoyed, but most of my experience has up till now been in animated FX. In high school I kit-scrapped model sets into space ships and built sand sets and shot them. Since then I have been working in FX animation for 20 years. My job path began in traditional hand drawn animation, so naturally that has influenced where that path has traveled. My goal in 2015 is to change direction and apply myself more to photoreal effects, continue to learn Python and apply as an FX Artist to ILM in the States.

    p.s. – my first job was at KFC and I had to smile when I heard on the podcast that you had worked at one.

  • Andreas

    Great episode as always Allan,
    The story about you girlfriend really resonated with me.

    I wrote down my goals a few months ago.
    The last part extends to beyond 2015, but I decided to keep it in the post.

    3 months:
    Have a job at a AAA game studio.
    Be friendlier.
    Being able to talk to strangers(colleagues) more than I do now.
    Have a nice place to live.
    3 new pieces for my portfolio.

    4 months:
    Make a Mech.

    3 years:
    Work as a senior artist.
    Be even friendlier.
    Being able to say what I mean without feeling insecure.
    Completely new portfolio, no old pieces.

    Thank you for making this podcast, really enjoy listening to it.
    Take care 🙂

  • Cole

    Hi Allan, great podcast.

    My goal for 2015 is to get a job in the feature film/visual effects industry at a place where I can be surrounded by and learn from other talented artists and TDs.

    The most immediate step to doing this is that I have to finish lighting and compositing my thesis film, and somehow find time to do some amazing CFX.
    Once I graduate in a few months, I then plan on developing an autorigger and a suite of animation tools in my free time to improve my scripting skills. I was really inspired by your podcast with Carlos Anguiano, and have already done a lot more reading on working with metadata and programs that talk with each other.

    The hardest/best thing for me is that I have always been a CFX/Rigger guy in a school where everyone is an animator or generalist, so I’ve had to divert an insane amount of my attention away from the things I like to do most, and I will probably have to play catch up for a year or two after graduating. I don’t really regret it though, because I feel like it has given me a broad knowledge of the CG pipeline and I would never have been able to execute my film to the level it is at without all that extra time spent doing storyboards and animation.

    Anyway, great show and keep going!

  • Hi Allan,
    thank you again for you podcasts!, you are doing really great job!
    my goals for 2015? hmmm
    right now I’m working for full time as a modeler(hard surface) and texture artist in games, almost 8 years in one company and now I want to try work for my own, I want to try freelance.
    so first goal for 2015 is start to work as a freelancer – hard surface modeler and texture artist. I want to work from home.
    take at least one contract job with feature film and one with AAA games studio(like Treyarch, Naughty Dog, Bethesda, Id, Valve, etc.)
    for this I need definitely new site with portfolio, for portfolio I need to finish model and texture my sniper riffle( I need to re-uv that riffle maybe, model new parts and texture it)- this will be only high poly model
    next I want to finish a post-apo buggy – this will be high poly and low poly model with textures
    and maybe model and texture a fantasy shield with sword ( high poly and low poly) , these are personal project.
    I need to prepare portfolio with profesional work, (6 games: Call of Juarez series, Dead Island, Dying Light and Hellraid).
    second goal is to model male and female character with correct anatomy, and one dressed character(maybe with some armor) – to do this I need to learn character modeling and anatomy of course.

    these are my goals for 2015 – I think a lot of work and little scare with freelance but I think it is worth it 😉

    again thanks for podcasts!

  • Carl Douglas

    Hi Allan

    Many thanks indeed for the vital podcast you take time to do.I’ve got such fire in the belly for 2015 so my goal is to become a lighting TD with a special interest in V-Ray for Maya which I have managed to acquire via a subscription to FXPHD.So want to light major blockbusters.I’m ready man,in your awesome hands.
    Many thanks
    Happy VFX-Mas

  • Dude! I’m eating up these podcasts. Thanks so much!

    My big goal is to be working for a vfx studio in Hollywood by summer of 2015.

    Smaller goals to achieve this…
    Finish a reel that I’m proud of and that reflects my passion for fluid simulation – 3 months
    Continue my education with online classes – ongoing
    Really dig in and feel comfortable simulating in Realflow, Houdini, and FumeFX – 5 months
    Gain experience by freelancing with local production companies in my current city – 3 months
    Network with online VFX communities and meet up groups – 1 month

    Thanks again man. I can really feel a shift happening and I really appreciate all that you do. Hope to meet you someday.

  • MarcusS

    Great podcast! I really enjoy listening to it.

    So as my goals go – I want to quit my curent occupation (architecutre) and start working in vfx. It is my dream for some years now. When I was in the last year of university I allready understood that CG and Vfx are more interesting to me than creating architecture. But I didn’t want to waste all my spent years in the university, so I finished it, got my diploma. I had to migrate from my country becouse it was tough to get the job in the field. And for some time it was fine. But then I got miserable. I hate the place I live now and a year of not so interesting work really got to me. I did’t really know what to do with myself.
    Then your podcast came, where you basically say – don’t be a pussy and do the shit! It got me really thinking.
    So now, I allready have a ticket home, I quit my job and got in contact with a vfx dude back home in Europe. So I hope from there things will go for better. Or at least I will try it, so that in the future I wont regret not trying.

    So thank you Allan for your podcast! And if you ever came to Slovenia (its really a beautiful country:)) I will be more than happy to buy you a beer or two 🙂


  • Ray

    Hi Alan!

    Great stuff, very inspirational, Keep up the good Work!

    My goal for 2015, is to move to LA and find work as a cinema 4d generalist.

    Thanks for everything!

    • amckay

      awesome man! when you get here let me know we can all grab a beer! 😉

  • Thanks so much for the podcasts Allan. Great game changing advice. My goal is to get a job as a modeler/generalist at any of the commercial studios in NYC or LA.

    • amckay

      Awesome Jason! Thank you!

  • Found your podcast trough a friend, Delcio Gomes.
    Loved everything =) So inspiring. I know this podcast is slight old but im doing this right now!

  • Dziewanna Picazo

    I’m late.. very late… but I just found your podcasts. Long time fan though so here it goes!

    My big picture goals.

    One year – Learn to automate processes (need to learn code)
    Two year – Assistant Direct motion capture shoots at my studio / get funding for my own project
    Three year – Begin production work on my own CG short film using motion capture.

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