Thursday 7 July 2011

Three full time jobs - only one wage...

This entry is about holding down a full time job in VFX, making an independent movie and being a dad, how to pack three full time jobs into twenty four hours.

  • How much time can you actually spend making your movie? 

Anyone who has had a baby in the past ten years or so will know there so many (too many) books about how to look after a baby.  The biggest topic in these is 'having a routine'.

Pre-baby, speaking about 'routines' was so dull that I would actually fall asleep while reading these books.

Having had a few hours sleep a week, I now wish I paid a bit more attention to these so called experts and I would have been able to spend a lot more  time making my movie.

After the day job and then the baby related items, there isn't really much time to spend working on the movie - typical start time would be close to midnight.

Time spent making movie average 20mins a day for fouteen months. 

  • spending time with baby (and not working on your movie)

When your baby is a newborn it is definately easier.  For one I could rest his head on the top of my forearm and feet would snugly fit into my hand.  I could just about contort myself enough to use my left hand to push down the Alt, Shift and Control keys (these are important in any 3D software), and use the right hand to move the mouse.

Even when baby was awake he would sit quietly and watch me work.

Now my boy is calling the shots (already doing better than me)

As baby grows older a) you can't rest them snugly on your arm and b) they don't lie still for more than four seconds.

The long and short of it is that you can't work while baby is awake.

In fact you really shouldn't work when baby is awake as I found out whilst trying to set some renders off instead of focussing on baby and the ensuing catastrophe. I had to rebuild a lot of furniture that night. 

I blame the multitasking culture that we live in.  If I could get the renders kicked off during the day I could comp the files in the night.  Of course those renders failed as I rushed through the set up whilst trying to make sure the bookshelves weren't pulled down.

  • What to do when you've got ideas in your head but you can't get to the computer

    You spend the whole day thinking about your own movie, but a combination of work and family life will keep you from getting to your machine.  What can you do?

    Remember: Patience and frustration are inversly proportional.  Don;t blame yourself, it's just the way things are.  

    You just have to wait till the midnight hour.  Of course that one hour you have to yourself will pass in the blink of an eye. Stay focussed and whatever you do don't start taking photos of your monitors because you think it will look cool on your blog. 
    • Anytime for yourself?

    No, unless you count working as your leisure time. 

    It's all very well wanting it, but how do you keep yourself from getting distracted and taking photos of your workspace to put up on your blog?

    • The acid test - how much do you want it?

    Time will pass, be it a week, a month, a year, that time will pass.  You can choose where you want to be at the end of that time period.  Do you want to have accomplished your goal or do you want to be in the same position as you are now?

    If you really want it you'll have to focus on the long term reward and push your body through the pain and barrier.  You'll also have to sacrifice everything you enjoy and hold dear.

    Do not take this as scientific advice.  Sleep is good it will get you through the day, but adrenelin will turbo charge you to get through any amount of time.  You probably know that the adrenlin and excitement you get out of your projects is hard to achieve anywhere else. 

    • So what is the right combination?  

    Sure spending time and nuturing a relationship with your baby is definately important, perhaps the most important thing to give to your child is your time.

    Personally I think another important thing is to set an example.  You don't, well I certainly never want to be the type of parent who tells thier kid to do one thing whilst never having done it myself.
    I think if your child sees you going after your goals and dreams then they'll be more likely to go after theirs. Either that or they'll see you as an abject failure and try to distance themselves from you at public functions...


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