Friday, June 12, 2015

Disney Australia #4

This scene taught me more about my job than any other before or after!

I was still very junior in my first job and struggling with tie-down (that I had difficulties wrapping my very rough mind around) when my talented friend Davide Benvenuti showed me drawings he had xeroxed from his time at Dreamworks. 
The drawings were still sort of rough, but so tight and precise that it sent my insecurities on fire and my best response was to try and do just as well-and hopefully soon as possible.
That's what I set out to do for the following three weeks on sc33-10, doing it all the right way, thumbnailing carefully, staying loose while keeping control of everything I could think of, and most important of all, I cared. I was involved in the scene in the way I felt I had to; full commitment!

Now I can't help but look at this scene and cringe... Was that really the best I could do? Was it worth the time and effort? Was it worth being late and having to rush to make quota at the end of the month? Was it a mistake?


But the lesson is that you don't learn from success. Only in failure can you get a clear look at what you are, what you can/can't do and especially what and how you can do better.

_I was never again behind in my career after that scene; I always built a small buffer early on in the production that I carefully managed until the end. That allowed me to work with less stress and get better work done.

_Whenever I knew I wanted to push on a particular scene, I would extend the buffer ahead of time and even when I spent extra time, I knew never to go too far. The sad truth is, there are things, subtleties and details that only you can see and I'm willing to bet even you won't see them six months after you're done with it..

_This one is very counter-intuitive but (at the exception of two) my favorite scenes are the ones that I have done without caring much. I know, I know... it doesn't fit into the romanticism that books and making-ofs are trying to sell us, but I've found it to be true.

_As a result, I 'coast' most of the time.

But a word of caution however, if I encourage everyone to take it easy on most scenes, you can not coast all the time. My basic rule is a 3 to 1 ratio; you do your job with professionalism on three scenes and you push on the fourth. It's a magic trick for me, because coasting allows me to keep the energy to push when I need to, and pushing on one scene raises my standards enough that I can maintain a good level when I'm coasting.

Anyway, that works for me, and I owe most of it to that particular scene.

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