Making the Most of an Opportunity - My Theory

In my brief time working here in Paris, I think I've discovered a key piece of information, that I'm sure can prove useful to any of my fellow freelancers, interns or graduates. 

If you are offered a set period of time, for example 6 months or 2 weeks at a given company, either as a freelancer, or on a graduate scheme, I think you need to establish very very quickly how you can offer the company something no-one else on their books can. Observation is key; check out who works there, see what they do well. Have they got all their bases covered, and are there things they do better than others? Once you've established these 'gaps in the market' - pounce on them. Maybe you can do it faster. Maybe you can do it quicker. Maybe you can come up with alternative ideas. Maybe you're the biggest contributor in an ideas meeting. The only option I would definitely steer clear of is - maybe I can do it cheaper. No one wants the reputation for being the cheapest, and companies don't want that kind of boast in their corner.

So, observe, assess and adapt accordingly. It may sound a bit OTT, but I guarantee it will do you no harm to get into this mindset. Remember, if you want a job, and you're given a foot in the door, it's up to you to show why you deserve to be kept on. Don't waste an opportunity.

Me, I'm still finding my niche here, there is a lot of talent at Dagobert, but I'm sure I can establish myself in some way. I'll keep looking.


A Mixed Monday

This blog certainly isn't intended to be an outlet for whenever I get frustrated at work, so apologies in advance for the slight rant, I promise I'll write something jolly next time :) (smiley face in a Blog - too cheesy? Discuss) 

A large part of my passion for animation and all things related comes from being able to chip in ideas, ask questions, and engage in discussions about ways to improve the project. It seems, when you take that ability away, there is nothing more frustrating. I am sat in a meeting with ideas spilling out of me, but with absolutely no means of communicating them. I always knew taking a job in France was going to prove challenging, but I didn't realize I would be getting this frustrated with myself this early. I guess I just had a bad day. People continuously tell me the language will come and I'm sure it will. But the learning curve is an isolated frustrating place. 

Plus I ruined someones surprise leaving do by asking him what the e-mail I'd been sent said, unbeknown to me and my linguistic inabilities that it was plans for his surprise party. Awesome.

No-one likes Mondays.


Week Two @ Dagobert

Things definitely stepped up a notch last week, and by the end of the week I was loving it. I say I love a challenge on an almost daily basis, but found I do tend to spend far too much time flapping about worrying about a deadline rather than focusing on getting it done from the off. I think this initial panic has been accentuated out here because of the language barrier, and the added pressure of not being able to ask for help if I need it.

The bottom line is, Dagobert have a lot of graduates, and they seem to know exactly what they're doing in terms of exposing 'newbies' to the right amount of work at the right time. My first few days, I was given a few little tasks but nothing too scary, then things got gradually more complicated, and hopefully things will carry on the same way. Obviously it depends on the amount of work they have on, but it has felt like a nice curved increase in both responsibility and difficulty of task. Today marks two weeks since my first day, but it feels like I've been here 2 months. It's a fast paced industry so I imagine this is natural - but I am loving every minute so far.


Website Touch-Up

My website will be getting a full makeover over the coming weeks including a shiny brand new showreel. ETA is the tail end of April, but it will feature new character animation, new After Effects work, maaaaybe some C4D work, and perhaps even a new jingle. Anyway, in the meantime, I've jiggled the colour scheme and layout a bit just to see how it is, let me know your thoughts!



a tiny 'WHAT AM I DOING?!' moment...

OK, so it took just over a week, but yesterday I had my first out-of-my-depth realisation, and it sort of sunk in that I am actually not only learning a load of software and technology I've never used before, but I'm learning it all in a language I don't speak. 

I was given my 1st solo brief by 2 project managers, in French obviously. (They can speak English, but I ask them to speak in French to help me learn. Stupid me). I reckon I understood 20-25% of what was said to me, and of course I didn't have the language skills to ask the questions I wanted to, as well as not wanting to look stupid. It was a bit of a Sink or Swim moment (yes, I know it sounds dramatic), but I went for a walk around the block, ate a baguette (cliché alert) and then went back to get on with it with a clear head and a full stomach. Boom, 3 hours later, it was done. 

Lesson learned - Panicking gets you nowhere, and if you're going to asked to be challenged, don't be surprised when it turns out to be challenging.


Week One @ Dabobert

Well, the first week is officially out of the way, and I managed to get through it without offending anyone with my appalling language skills. I'll be honest, that was my primary objective of week one.

The team I am working with are a top bunch, and they've done their best to make me feel very welcome. At the risk of being 'THAT guy', I am insisting they address me in French, hopefully they'll notice I'm making the effort! After finding my feet last week, and using C4D for the first time, this upcoming week promises to be a lot less forgiving. Friday, I sat in on a meeting with a rather important major phone network client, and there is a huge project on the cards. The time for holding my hand and testing the water looks like it's gone and it'll be all hands on deck this week. I do love a challenge. I'll get back later in the week to see how it's going, but so far, I'm absolutely loving it :)


New Year - Nouvel Emploi

I begin my new graduate position at Dagobert Tuesday morning, and can't wait to get started. I will be working as a Junior Animator and Motion Designer, and having visited the place a couple of times, it looks like the projects I'll be working on are really interesting. They produce adverts and promotional material for a number of large European clients, and I'm sure working there for 6 months will prove massively beneficial to my progress as an Animator. I will be developing my skills in After Effects and learning Cinema 4D, so I'll definitely be coming out the other side with a few new tricks up my sleeve, and hopefully a new language! I'll be regularly updating my Blog (New Years Resolution) so keep an eye out for new posts.

Happy New Year everyone, and here's to a blinding 2012 *raises glass of Chardonnay*