Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why You Fail

I wanted to take a moment today to talk about self confidence.

Everyone, no matter what profession, has heard that the key to success - socially, at your job, and in life - is to "believe in yourself." When I was younger, I found this cliché phrase to be incredibly insufficient advice. "Believe in myself"? What does that even mean? Why do I feel like I'm being true to myself but I'm still not accomplishing all of my goals at the drop of a hat?

What I didn't understand is the deeper meaning of what this phrase is getting at: it's not about refusing to change, or being unapologetic for your personality. In fact, at least to me, it's almost exactly the opposite. It's about having the right mindset.

I was still confused about this phrase a few years ago when Dave and I decided to watch Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back on some random night (like you do). And when we did, this scene spoke to me on a level that it certainly hadn't when I first saw it as a kid.

I know I'm an uber-nerd for saying this, but seriously, there is so much wisdom in this one little scene that's applicable to art AND to life. I may even argue that it's the best scene in the original trilogy.

I felt very challenged in Digital Painting class last week when we went from our first assignment, a greyscale painting of some white objects and their shadows, to our second, a (still grayscale) master study. I found myself complaining in my head that this second assignment was so much harder and thinking we were moving too fast. But really it's "no different... only different in your mind." I didn't believe that I had the ability to finish it. And "that is why you fail."

I think a more accurate (although still cliché) phrase is "You can do anything you set your mind to." Because it involves setting your mind to it. It involves being willing to fail and having determination. But most of all, it involves believing that what you want to accomplish is actually possible. Because if you don't think it is, then you've lost before you've even begun.

© Gina Florio 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday February 7th Inspiration

A quick update on myself: I am currently taking a 3-month break from editing full-time in order to concentrate on taking three simultaneous classes at Concept Design Academy. The classes are Intro to Digital Painting with Jason Scheier, Intro to Story Development with Louie del Carmen, and Figure Invention for Animation with Toby Shelton. I had the first sessions of all of these classes this week, and my level of excitement for this semester cannot be overstated. Each teacher is a phenomenal artist (and also, coincidentally, all current Dreamworks employees) and the skill level in each class is intimidatingly high, with a majority of the students already being working story artists in some form. I feel nervous, excited, but most of all, ready to dive right into new challenges.

Today, I thought I'd feature a little inspiration, brought to you by my reddit addiction.

I was thinking earlier this week about how glad I am that I started this whole process a year and a half ago. I'm not going to lie, it's been a really frustrating year and a half. My relationship with art can get pretty unhealthy when I'm not performing at my own high standards, which is 99% of the time. I've poured a lot of time into it, time I could've been spending doing anything else, reading, watching TV, hanging out with my friends or Dave, playing videogames. And yet - I'm able to stand here today and feel I've improved, ready to take on these more advanced classes and move up a rung in my ladder of artistic challenges. So:

^ This is a favorite phrase of mine to repeat to myself.

And finally, this video.

I watched this today and had one takeaway (besides stunned amazement, I mean): you can either be the person drumming... or you can be one of the spectators, momentarily distracted while they do their shopping. For my entire life, I've been a spectator: living my life mostly through consumption, of food, media, products, while admiring the few content creators who put themselves and their skills out there for others to enjoy. And now I'm trying to be the drummer. Wish me luck.

© Gina Florio 2014