Thursday, May 1, 2014

My resume needs work (05/02/14)

This semester besides Senior Seminar and Portfolio I am taking the course Media Career Development. This is a one credit course and I think a very important one for me at this time. Designing a resume is a big part of the class. However, what I am learning between the Senior Seminar and Media career is that one size resume does not fit all. To help me land the job in the  animation world my resume needs to reflect my skills as an animator and it needs to be creative.

US World and News Report’s article “Crafting a Tailor-Made Resume To Fit Your Field”, had some advice. The article’s writer Cynthia Washicko, suggests that a resume should be tailor made to the job that you are seeking. With the stacks of resumes that most jobs receive, getting yours noticed is crucial.  She also emphasizes the importance of  flexibility. Perhaps a different style resume should be crafted for a different type of job description. Washicko quotes August Cohen, owner of the resume and coaching service, Gethiredstayhired. Cohen states that creative resumes should be focused on projects, including achievements in projects. He also suggests that attention to color and to personal logo will help distinguish you among other applicants.

For me I had to decide whether or not I wanted an infographic resume. I was not sure if they were appropriate or not. After reading the US News and World Report article “The 411 on Infographic Resumes”, I decided to design an resu-graphic, as they call it in the article. The writer of the article Jada Graves points out that the resu-graphic is a good way to stand out however there are few things that need to be considered, mainly, it needs to be logical and well done. The reader of the resume must be able to understand what’s going on within the first 15 seconds.

She gives a few tips:
1. Be serious. Although there are many free resume prototypes to follow on the internet, Graves advises in having the resume done professionally.
2. Be patient-creating a resume takes time, typically at least 5 days.
3. Be simple-”Bells and whistles can be bothersome”
4. Be Flexible -not all infographic resumes work for all job descriptions.

So with this advice in my mind I will work on my resume.

Works Cited
Graves, Jada. “The 411 on Inforgraphic Resumes.” US News and World Report 2 May 2013: n. pag. US News and World Report. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. <http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2013/05/02/the-411-on-infographic-rsums>.

Washicko, Cynthia. “Crafting a Tailor-Made Resume to Fit Your Field.” US News and World Report 1 July 2013: n. pag. US News and World Report. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. <http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2013/07/01/crafting-a-tailor-made-rsum-to-fit-your-field>.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Print Portfolio (04/25/14)

On my MUST DO NOW list of things to do this weekend was to decide on 10-12 items to put into my print portfolio. I am hoping that next week Professor Hastings will help me weed them out and choose my strongest pieces.  I needed some ideas of how to go about this process, since my favorite items are my animations and 3D models. How do I represent them in a printed portfolio? Professor Hastings suggested that I make a storyboard with them and that is what I did.  

But before I started I  went online and tried to get some  further ideas. In my research I came across something I found interesting. On No Plastic Sleeves.com, I found an article titled “A Portfolio Book for the 21st Century”. In the article, Melissa Hennessey of Hennessey Represents, spoke about a member of her group, Sean Busher, who incorporated an ipad in his print portfolio. This allowed Busher to show his print work as well as his motion work without including a DVD or website url. The app was easily navigated and opens right up to his work. He also arranged it so that the  app was on the 1st page of the ipad and was the only app on the page. The structure of the portfolio/box was such that it had his print work as well as a spot for the ipad. It was quick and easy for the prospective client/employer to see not only his printed work but his motion work as well. I would also imagine that the ingenuity of his portfolio made a big impression. As of the time of the article, Sean Busher had not had to mail his portfolio ipad out to anyone, however the structure of the portfolio would allow for shipping. Melissa Hennessey stated that if they did have to mail it, they would just hope for the best that the ipad would be returned.

This to me was interesting simply because people continue to think of different ways to get their work noticed. Time is big factor. You want to show your work and impress your audience knowing that your audience has little time to give you. The newest technology available seems to be the way to go. DVD’s are no longer the standard way of showcasing a designers motion work, as websites became a more popular format. But I would bet that the idea of incorporating ipads or other tablets into portfolios will soon become the norm. Mailing the ipad seems risky and expensive, but who knows maybe someone will invent a cheaper, disposable tablet that can be used just for this purpose. Until then, I would consider using the print portfolio incorporated with the ipad for in person visits only.

Works Cited

No Plastic Sleeves. N.p., 1 July 2011. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <http://blog.noplasticsleeves.com/a-portfolio-book-for-the-21st-century>.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Portfolio Book Cover (04/11/14)

The weeks are going by quickly and I have a lot to accomplish. I decided to take out my No Plastic Sleeves book and I began to read up on making the portfolio book. The printed portfolio is a foot in the door technique that is used to spark further interest in me. A lot goes into it and I need to consider a lot of different options and designs. While the possibilities are endless I must come up with what I want my portfolio to say about my work and the type of work I would like to do. Reading the chapters about making the book got a little overwhelming. I decided I need to make a list of things I need to consider. First the book cover.


1. The cover design- The cover design is a means to get me noticed. It has to differentiate me from the rest of the crowd. At the same time my cover design must reference the type of work I want to do while keeping in mind my audience.


2. I was also reminded not to forget about the back cover. It should be an extension of the front.


3. Decisions on material of the book cover has to be considered. Its weight, size and texture as well as practicality are all things to think about.


4. Color. Color is the first visual component we perceive and can be the most memorable (based on Gestalt cognitive theory!” (54) It can establish the mood of the portfolio and needs careful consideration. A few specific colors for typography and the graphic elements should be used on the book covers and carried throughout the interior pages.


4.Iconography and Images can help describe your brand and give meaning to your work. It sometimes can give a period of time reference or a type of mood.  However you must know what is a part of public domain and what is not. Keep the copyright laws in mind.


5.Hierarchy should be used to give visual weight and balance to focus the attention to where you want it.


6. Negative space should be used as well as positive space. The authors write “to remember not to just plop pieces of work down any where”. (69)


7. Size and proportion has to be kept in mind. My best work will be in the book and must be supported by the design of the book cover. Keeping in mind how the size feels in the hands of the reader is important. The size and the weight of the book also will determine printing costs and costs for mailing.


8.Typeface can be a big part of the design of the book. Different typefaces say different things including mood. It is up to you. t can be fancy or simple or can be left out altogether. The authors recommend if using typeface to use something a lot out of the ordinary, but make sure it reflects your brand and it is not difficult to read.


9. The authors remind me to pay attention to kerning, leading and typographic rag.

10. Copy is very important. It must be concise, relevant and memorable. Use language that is not old and bland and doesn't use cliches. It is very important to make sure that the copy is free of any errors.


This is advice I will take while designing my book cover.


Works Cited
Volk, Larry, and Danielle Currier. No Plastic Sleeves The Complete Portfolio Guide For Photographers and Designers. New York: Focal, 2010. Print.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

No Man is an Island (04/04/14)

In a little over six weeks I will be graduating from college. As much as six weeks I know will fly by it still feels far in the future. The reason for this is the uncertainty of my future, as far a job is concerned. For the first time in over 16 years, school will not be the constant known quantity in my life. A little terrifying, a lot exciting. Reading the 99U books about the “real world” of working has been of great interest to me. In these books I have learned real life working lessons that could not be taught in my college courses.

This week I concentrated on Chapter three of Maximize Your Potential. The theme of this chapter was collaboration and building networks. The chapter began with the John Donne quote, “No man is an island”. Working with others is part of life and part of having a career.

The chapter stresses a few main points. One it stresses the importance of asking for help when working on a project. Steffen Landauer suggests finding colleagues who you can ask for help and who will tell you the truth. He also suggests finding someone who will hold you accountable to meet your goals. He says that finding the right person may take some work and he even suggests that you may have to audition people for the position. Mostly he says do not be afraid to ask for help. The worse that can happen is that they will say no. I will continue to repeat that- the worse that can happen is someone will say no. Another point chapter three stresses is that when collaborating on a project it is wise to have some honest and sometimes awkward conversations up front. Michael Bungay Stanier points out that pitfalls when collaborating on projects is inevitable. Discussing work habits and ways to deal with possible future work related differences, will help avoid derailing a project.

Chapter three also stresses the importance of networking and building these networks of people. To me this seems like the hardest thing to do, yet I know one of the most important. It is not simply a matter of meeting people but it is also a matter of keeping up these contacts, so that you can call on them in the future. So many opportunities come about from networking. Sunny Bates suggests that you bring into your network all types of people from all different areas of life. Reach out to people who you admire. Bates suggests that people are flattered by this, she writes, “professional love letters work.” (154) She also writes, “You want to focus on pulling in people who you believe will have your interests in mind for the long haul and also people across a wide enough range-so that you won’t have to go back to the well over and over again with just a few people.” (156) The important thing to keep in mind when networking is, that nothing will happen if you don’t try and you don’t ask. And again, the worse that can happen is someone will say no. Finding a job will almost always rely on networking. Being generous to others when you are on the other side is also something to keep in mind. What goes around, comes around.

I am focusing again on “no man is an island”. As a student for the past 16 years, I have learned a lot about my work habits. My learning style has made it easier for me to work at my own pace and in my own time. A habit that will be hard to change but I know I can and will.  Also, perhaps from my learning style, I have been very fortunate to come across so many people who have been more than happy to help me. It is because of these people in my life that I am not afraid to ask for help, something I hope will be beneficial to me as I start my career.
Works Cited

Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Potential (03/28/14)

I am particularly interested in Chapter Two,”Building Expertise”, in 99 U's Maximize Your Potential. As a student who is about to graduate with a degree in IDD I think this advice is important to keep in mind as I try to start and build a career.

Many people I would imagine have at some time in their life felt like everyone in the room is more talented than they are. I know that I have felt it. It is can be a discouraging feeling and it requires that inner voice to tell yourself “it is fine, just keep on trying”. Heidi Grant Halvorson speaks to this feeling. She stresses the importance of always trying to get better not just settling on being good. Critiques and evaluations are a part of the business. Taking the critiques and evaluations and learning from them will only help you to get better and to increase your skill level.

Advice from Halvorson to keep in mind.

  1. Give yourself permission to screw up. Mistakes are a part of the process. Halvorson points out that for many if you focus on getting better as opposed to being good you are actually less likely to make mistakes in the long run.
  2. To not be afraid to ask for help. It is foolish to think that you do not need help. Asking for help shows a level of capability.
  3. Compare yourself to yourself. This I think is the best piece of advice and probably the hardest for people to do. Instead of comparing your work  to others compare your work to your earlier work. Strive to develop and improve your skills.
  4. Think in terms of progress, not perfection. Write down your goals. Re-think them in terms of getting better as opposed to being good.
  5. Examine your beliefs, and  when necessary, challenge them. Always keep in mind that real improvement is always possible. Halvorson writes, “When it comes to mastering any skill, your experience, effort and persistence matters a lot”. p.81


More advice I took from Chapter Two revolved around work habits. Tony Schwartz writes that from studying the science of high performance he has learned that working in sprints of 90 minutes than taking a break is best for developing mastery skills. He also suggests that the morning is the time for projects that take the greatest amount of creativity and that four and a half hours is the maximum time to devote to an activity to achieve high performance.  Sleep is vital and listening to the body is important. He suggests developing a personal ritual when it comes to work habits. He writes, “Mastery is about regularly pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, while also learning how to deeply restore and take care of yourself.”p90.   Joshua Foer advises to push yourself out of your comfort zone.The ok plateau is not a good place to land and it requires a state of constant learning to avoid it. Just like the examples of the mastery musician or the expert ice skater, Foer reminds to keep practicing, particularly the skills that I find the hardest to do.
Another suggestion I got from Chapter Two is  keeping a diary. I would never in million years think I would keep a diary. However, Teresa Amabile, Steven Kramer and Ela Ben-Ur make a very convincing argument that keeping a diary is a great motivator. A diary is a great sounding board, a good record of what you have done and have accomplished as well as a great way to  keep in mind what still needs to be done. Looking back on your accomplishments and even failures is a way to learn and a way to motivate. It tracks your progress and gives you new ideas of how to go forward. After reading this part of the chapter I more than ever see the benefits of using a diary.

So now that I have read Chapter Two I feel more confident that I can do this. First thing is to work on my comps for the website. I admit I was disappointed after last class’ critique that they still needed improvement. But I feel better about it now.



Works Cited

Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Time Consumption (03/21/14)

This week I did some reading in the book, Manage Your Day-To-Day:Build Your Routine Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind.  I took what I thought was good advice and some points that I hope that I will keep in mind throughout my career.

Manage Your Day-To-Day spoke to the distractions that technology has brought into our lives. Although as a 21 year old student I do not get many emails that require an immediate reply, I can relate to the distractions and the time I waste checking my smart phone. Reading and responding to an email or texting someone back and forth is easier than sitting down to the project or the research paper ahead of me. The advice offered in the book is good advice to students as well as professionals. I particularly took away that scheduling time to do my work, (for me, scheduled time at the library) and turning off my phone during this time is the most effective way to getting work done. It is a good habit and I will continue to try to make it a permanent one.

While reading the book I recognize the dilemma technology brings to the workplace. Getting to work and being faced with 85 emails first thing in the morning, for example, sounds very daunting and distracting. For so many years now we have been hearing the expression 24/7.  Fortunately it seems people are beginning to realize that 24/7 is not necessarily a good thing. As Dan Ariely writes in the chapter Understanding our Compulsions “The idea that the best way to communicate with people is 24/7 is not really an idea about maximizing potential.” (p 92) Ariely also writes that checking email first thing in the morning is a bad habit. It is a waste of a very productive and creative time of day. Reading emails and responding to emails should be scheduled into the day. If this became a habit among more professionals it would become an accepted practice and would perhaps increase productivity and creativity.  Truthfully however, as much as I understand the time consumption and the distractions that responding to a large amount of emails cause, there is a part of me that hopes and looks forward to this becoming a problem of mine as well.  Be Careful what you wish for. I know.

My favorite piece of advice I read this week was from Scott Belsky in the chapter “Tuning In To You.” Belsky writes that by turning off the technology and being more present in the “now” you are broadening your chances to come across unexpected opportunities. Belsky writes, “When you tune in to the moment, you begin to recognize the world around you and the true potential of your own mind.” (p111) Personally this is something that I want to work on. I plan to make being present in the world a priority, and hope for and expect some unexpected opportunities to come my way.

Works Cited
Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Manage Your Day-To-Day Build Your Routine , Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Comp. 99 U Behance. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.

After my reading I got to work on my projects. I made two different comps for my website. I did not want the sites to appear too busy and at the same time I wanted to bring in some color.

 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Technique (03/07/14)

Like most students, over my years in school I have been developing tools and techniques to help me manage my schoolwork. For me personally I have had the help of teachers and my parents who given me suggestions and advice as to what works for them. What I have learned is that the techniques that work best for me were suggestions that I took from them and made into my own. Tackling the hardest assignment first, going to the library and sitting in a certain area where I am less likely to be distracted and trying my best to ignore my phone’s emails, texts and news alerts are some of my own techniques.  As Mark McGuinness is quoted as saying in Manage Your Day-To Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind, “A truly effective routine is always personal-a snug fit with your own talent and inclinations.” p29. With this said, however, I am always interested in what works for others, as I continue to fine tune my techniques.


Working is going to be a very different situation than school work and will most likely require a very different routine. I find interesting in reading, Manage Your Day-To Day, some very different routines of the professionals. I think one of the best pieces of advice is from Seth Godin, who says that habits are important in getting the job done, and that you just have to do it. He writes, “Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And the emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.”p42. Another piece of advice comes from Mark McGuinness, he advises to do creative work first and reactive work or answering emails and phone calls second. He says, “I always get my most important work done--and looking back all my biggest successes have been the result of making this simple change.”p27. He also suggests the use of creative triggers such as the same surroundings and or music. These will be triggers to the brain that it is time to work. An interesting piece of advice comes from Gretchen Rubin who suggests that frequency is an important element for her in getting the job down. She suggests that working on a project every single day is helpful even if it is for a short period of time. Rubin says, “When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.” p35. I find this idea to be interesting because the same argument can be made for taking a break from a project from time to time to renew inspiration. I am reminded of the quote from Mark McGuiness at the beginning of my blog-routine is a personal fit.


After the readings, I decided to do some redesigns for my business cards. Using MOO (http://us.moo.com/) I found some good designs for my cards:


I then started planning the design for my portfolio website:










Sources

Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Being a Free Radical (02/28/14)

Now that I am finishing college and looking to start a career I am getting a lot of advice from a lot of different people I know.
The advice goes something like this:
  1. Pick what you love to do and figure out how to make a career doing it.
  2. If you could do anything without the risk of failing, what would you do? Go do that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail.

I appreciate the advice, and I understand what they mean by the advice.The problem is I am not sure if it is necessarily the best career advice.
  1. There are many things that I love to do, but I don't know if I will be able to make career out of doing it.
  2. I know failing is a teachable moment but reckless failure can also be very harmful.
  3. Everyone is afraid to fail. Telling someone not to be afraid to fail is easier said than done.

In reading I have come across some advice that I think will be more useful to me. One piece of advice that spoke to me, is that with experience and a lot of practice will come an increase in skill levels that will lead me to new and different paths. Cal Newport, writes in Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, about the author Bill McKibben, who wrote,The End of Nature. Before McKibben went off into the wilderness and wrote his book he worked for many years as a writer. Cal Newport writes that it was because of McKibbens years of writing experience that he was able to cultivate his skills and eventually make his own path. Newport wrote that,“the systematic development of skill (such as McKibben ripping through more than five hundred articles between 1979-and 1987) almost always precedes passion.”p31 Doing, gaining experience and gaining valuable skills should be my priority as I begin my career.

Another piece of advice I have taken is that the world  is very competitive and is ever changing. Keeping that in mind and keeping in mind that I am my best investment, it is good advice to be constantly developing new skills. Robert Safian writes in  Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, “That’s the challenge for businesses, and that’s the challenge for individuals: understanding the point at which you are protecting what you know and defending what you know, instead of looking at what else you can learn and how you can grow.” p48.

In reading Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, I have given some thought to failing. Although I admitted earlier that I am afraid to fail, I think it is important to say that I find to fail intentionally or recklessly is scary. I have failed in the past and I know I have survived just fine and have undoubtedly learned from these failures. I know I will fail again, and will survive  and learn again. I think however in a career, one should  consider the consequences of their actions and decide if these possible consequences are worth the risk of failing.  Sometimes that answer will be no but many times that answer may be yes. It is a calculated risk of failing. Ben Casnocha advises in,  Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, to take intelligent risks. He wrote, “Because the flip side of every opportunity is risk, if you’re not taking risks, you’re not finding the breakout opportunities you are looking for.” 41

Advice I plan to keep in mind:
  1. If you keep doing, keep gaining experience and keep sharpening your skills, you will love what you do and you will make a career doing it.
  2. Remember you are your best investment. Keep growing by learning new skills.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take “intelligent risks” to find opportunities.

Sources

Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mapping My Online Portfolio (02/20/14)

In my Game Art course this semester I am rendering a 3D model of a room. I like working with the Maya program and am looking forward to doing some more animations with it. This led me to the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook to research careers in video game art, I have learned that there are many, including animator, which interests me. Unfortunately, I have also learned that outsourcing has diminished some opportunities in the United States. Graphic Artist Guild Handbook, states, “Art can easily be created and refined outside the main studio, so it’s easy for companies to send art-based work overseas, where labor is cheaper.” (pg. 206) To increase an video game artists opportunities it is important to have technical knowledge in programming and to keep up with the ever changing technology as well as have artistic talent.


I remind myself to concentrate on my portfolio.
My first task to to redesign my business cards, letterhead and envelopes. I feel that I have a better handle on what design I am looking for. I have designed a much simpler, cleaner looking brand. I decided to use black and red as my colors and I am happy with my designs.



Today I am going to develop the information architect for my website. My online portfolio will be seen by a lot more people than my portfolio book. A lot of thought and planning needs to be put into it.  It needs to show off my work while being easy to navigate.  Larry Volk and Danielle Currier states in No Plastic Sleeves, “It’s guaranteed to be impressive if all the components of your portfolio are designed with the same conceptual and visual brand in mind.” (pg. 146) This brings me back to my brand board. My brand board keeps me focused on the look I want to achieve. Research says to keep the portfolio simple, clear, consistent, memorable and confident.



Designing the information architecture took more time and effort that I originally thought. In No Plastic Sleeves, the authors advise, “Consider how your website portfolio will be used. What kinds of functionality (means for someone to navigate and experience the website) will be included?” (pg. 149)


Sources
Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. 14th ed. New York: Graphic Artists Guild, 2013. Print.

Volk, Larry, and Danielle Currier. The Complete Portfolio Guide for Photographers and Designers. New York: Focal, 2010. Print.