Making yourself Indispensible

To continue from my post 'Making the most of an Opportunity' (see below), I think it's worth carrying on by talking about trying to make yourself indispensible. I touched on this before, but it's the stage of making the most of my current opportunity that I am currently immersed in. I love nothing more than being asked to work on a project that I know is heavily dependent on my input. There have been 3 projects here now, where I have hand drawn character, or animated characters in Flash, and the client has specifically asked for my drawing style. And not to boast, but these are big clients, and big projects. I usually make a point after of asking who would have done the work had I not been here, and the response is always, we'd have had to bring someone in. Not very subtle I know, but just a gentle reminder that I am contributing work of a high standard, and that they would normally have to pay a lot more for.

Also, the English lunches I am chairing - they're great because I have a skill that they are looking to use that in theory only I can provide. All these little things, they will all be taken into account when the powers that be sit down to discuss my future at the company. And aside from that, I'm always adding killer work to my showreel, and gleaming additions to my CV.

A lot of people rubbish internships, and I can totally see both sides of the coin, and at times, I feel like I've well and truly paid my dues. But to get up every morning and actually really look forward to going to work is pretty rare. We could all work in jobs we hate and earn good money, and we all know people in that position. That's not the life for me, I love what I do, and in due course, it'll come back around.

Half Way Point ... 3 months down, 3 to go

I have had an amazing 3 months here at Dagobert, and the first half of my internship has absolutely flown past. The language is inevitably getting a little bit easier to cope with, and I feel like work-wise (c4d aside), there isn't much I can't handle. People still help me along the way, but hey, it is an internship, and once that really hit home, and I realised I can't expect myself to be amazing at new software straight away,  I took a lot of pressure off myself.

I will be having a chat with my bosses next week to see if I can physically set aside some time for C4D training, because the bits and bobs I have picked up have been 'on the job', with a looming deadline and last minute tutorials. I think if I sit down and actually learn it, it will help massively. It's a daunting piece of software for the traditional animator, but if I can leave Paris with a fairly solid understanding of it, I'll be well happy. I'm already striding forward with After Effects, and pushing my Flash up to advanced levels, and at the very least, am conversational in French. If they speak slowly.

In other news, the first English Lunch went well yesterday, got some great response on the feedback form. It looks like that'll become a regular thing every 2 weeks which will be cool. 

Here's to the next 3 months ...


'An English Lunch'

Had a meeting with the HR lady here at Dagobert, and she asked me if I'd be interested in holding some informal English lessons for my colleagues over a few croissants a couple of times a month. I thought why not? Talking nothing but English for 2 hours every few weeks is ideal for me, and it's always nice to help out. I'll be holding the first session, which they've named 'An English Lunch' - I had to ask them very kindly not to call it 'An hour with Nick' - no-one would have turned up for that. Anyway, another string to my bow, and another way of differentiating myself from the other interns.

They're providing the croissants too. I asked for pie and mash but they can't find a place in Paris that does 'em.


Blottr Instructional Video

In December, I created a little animation for the citizen's journalism site Blottr. It took a day to storyboard, 3 days to animate and another day for client alterations and tweaks. It was a busy 5 days but the clients were happy with the outcome, as was I. Check out blottr.com , it's interesting stuff. Have a nice Friday all.


Hello, potential TFL 2012 Participants

Hi there,

You may well have stumbled onto this blog after receiving the Transform@Lab newsletter and seeing my brief article. If so, hello and welcome to my Blog. I attended the TFL course last year and am currently reaping the results on a 6 month internship in Paris with the Digital Agency Dagobert. Just to talk the whole course up a bit more, it really is a great opportunity to meet some fellow creatives, come up with some ideas and learn a load of new skills. I found it helps if you jump in head first - don't let little things like not knowing anyone and language barriers get in the way of potentially career changing opportunities. Anyway, I'll leave it there, but if you are thinking of applying and have any questions, feel free to get in touch via nick@nickclackett.co.uk.


Tearing up the Showreel

Since I graduated, my showreel has been a mash of student work and work experience, and each year, I've tidied everything up a bit and made it a bit snappier without really splicing in much new work. Well not anymore!

This Summer, I'm planning on launching 2 new showreels - 1 for Animation and 1 for Motion Graphics. The animation showreel will feature 20-30 seconds of new character animation, and the graphics showreel will feature work I have produced for Dagobert, as well as a new animated sequence throughout. So come the Summer, 2 brand new 45 second showreels - it's a big ask but who needs weekends and spare time anyway?


Here until July

After a bit of concern that my finances might have lead to an early departure from Dagobert, I am chuffed that this is no longer the case. I have had a chat with the powers that be to explain the situation, and I will definitely be seeing out my contract until June 29th - at the very least (?!)

Had a great chat with my immediate boss as well as the Head of HR, and everything sounds very positive. I have had some great feedback which is always nice, and everyone seems happy with the way things are going.

Watch this space.


Two Months @ Dagobert

2 months done and dusted, and things are getting sooo much easier across the board. Linguistically, I still hold many similarities to Manuel in Fawlty Towers, but I am definitely understanding a lot more. I hoped this would happen; surrounding myself with the language all day can surely only be a good thing. Also, work wise, I am handling projects and liaising with project managers almost completely on my own, and handing work in on time and to the same standards as the 'permanents'. The last project I mentioned was very well received by the client, and should be live on their site early in the Summer.

I had a meeting with a few people near the top of the ladder at Dagobert in the last few days, and I'm chuffd to say, the feedback has been very positive. They seem happy with my progress, and happy that I'm settled in. We left it saying we will arrange another few meetings before June to discuss the different options moving forward. I am still planning for a return to England, just so I'm not caught short, but I think I will certainly be staking a claim for an extension come June. As everyone knows, there are a number of factors involved for them and me, but like I said, it all sounds very positive so far so I can't complain.

Onwards and Upwards.