It took me several years, and a lot of hard work, to land a job at a dream company, but now I plan to leave. It was almost 9 years ago that I packed up my 1999 Toyota Camry with as much as I could fit in it, and left my home in Canton, Ohio for my new home in Los Angeles, California. My plan was to get a job at an animation company, and I knew this journey I just set off on was not going to be an easy one. I did not have a job, and barely had a place to live. The only thing I did have was a hope that it would all work out. Within that first month I was able to find a less temporary place to stay in a spare bedroom of a friend’s sister’s apartment, and a job at an Apple Computer Store as a sales specialist. I wasn’t having any luck getting a job at an animation company, or even getting an interview for that matter. I was beginning to realize that my training in Ohio left me ill-equipped to land a position, and the reality that I knew nothing about this industry was starting to set in. In Ohio, where I went to college, my professors told me that if I wanted to become a producer in animation I would have to become an animator, and work my way up. After taking additional animation classes out here in Los Angeles at UCLA my professor asked me what I was trying to do. I replied “an animation producer”, which he replied back with “then why are you trying to be an animator?” He explained that I should be trying to get a job as a production assistant, and move my way up that way. This was a real eye opener for me, and I had to completely change my strategy. I now was trying to get a production assistant job, but that did not seem any easier than getting a job as an animator. To make things worse, my limited savings were starting to run out. There was a few times I feared I would run out of money, and would be force to move back to Ohio. I would have to put my hunt for animation jobs on hold to take work that was not in the industry to pay the bills. I had several different jobs out here from cold-calling home owners trying to get them to refinance their mortgages to an assistant store manager position at Walgreens. I actually was making great money at Walgreens, but hated the job. I made the decision to leave my position there to continue on my journey and take a risk of running out of savings. Eventually I was able to get a position at a large production company, and that eventually lead me to my current position at a major animation studio. How that all worked out is an interesting story for another time, and a later post. I have now been working at this company for almost 7 years, and as mentioned I plan to leave.
Now that you know some of the difficulties at the start of my journey let me explain why I plan to leave this dream job. If I were to divide my life into three main areas they would be; personal, social, and professional life. Out of those three I feel I’m on track with all except one. I should mention that I have always held myself to a very high standard, and maybe if I would just lower my expectations I would feel more successful. I know that having such high expectations has added a lot of unnecessary stress, but it’s also given me a passion to follow my dreams. So, lets start with something personal.
My Personal Life:
I could not be happier with where I’m at in my personal life, and know I have been very fortunate. In 2009 I met a beautiful girl who instantly became my whole world. I knew right away that she would be someone special in my life, and in 2012 she became my wife. In 2013 we found out we were expecting a son, so we accelerated the process of looking for a home large enough for our growing family. We found a house we fell in love with, and luckily got our offer excepted. A few months later in January our healthy and happy son came into this world. I could go on and on about my wife and son, but that is not what this blog is about. Don’t let my summary mislead you. We had our challenges along the way from a very competitive sellers housing market to difficulties with the pregnancy which caused my wife to spend a good amount of the pregnancy on bed-rest. It was just enough challenges to make us appreciate what we have, but not force us to give up in defeat. It also showed us how amazing and supportive our family and friends are. This brings me to the next facet of my life.
My Social Life:
We have been very blessed with the amazing friends and family we are surrounded by. They make life so much more enjoyable, and fulfilling. These are the people we want to spend our days off with, and enjoy life with. We have shared many of life’s big events from personal and professional successes to life changing struggles. They have been amazing and supportive for us during good times and bad. We know they will always be there for us even when things get rough, and they know they can expect the same from us. When my wife was on bed-rest, our friends stopped by to keep us company, and to bring us meals. We could not ask for a better family, or friends.
My Professional Life:
OK, so we finally get to the part of my life I feel I’m behind on, and also the main subject matter of this blog. Professionally I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I mentioned I have a dream job at a large animation company, and I have worked my way up to a production supervisor position. It is a great job working at an amazing company with outstanding people. I have learned a great deal about the industry, and have made some amazing contacts and friendships. Anyone should be happy with this job, so why do I plan to leave. My position on the project I’m currently working on ends in July, and instead of moving onto a new project, like I have done for the last 6 years, I plan to not pursue another position. What you should understand is that this “dream job” was never intended to be the end goal, but instead a stepping stone along the way. The problem is I got comfortable, and maybe even a little scared to take the next and biggest step. I ended up spending way to much time, and stopped moving forward. Sure I learned a great deal, but the time has come for me to take this next step. The dream I’ve had since I was younger was to one day start my own animation company, and that day has come. I know, I know, it is a pretty big dream, and they say you should set goals that you are able to achieve. I’m more of the mindset of shooting for the moon, because even if you miss you will be among the stars. I also feel this is a goal that is attainable, and I have a desire and dedication to achieve my goal. Everything that I have done has been to get me closer to this goal. This next step is a risky one, and now I have more to loose then ever before. I’m leaving what is safe and secure to continue down the path of the unknown that I started on many years ago. That is what this blog is about. It is about my trials and tribulations in starting my own animation company. I will write about what I’m doing to get this company started and off the ground, and my thinking behind the decisions I make. I realize that I will make mistakes on the way, but hopefully I will have more success than failures. How this all will end is not yet known, but it will take my readers on a journey into my thoughts as we head towards the unknown of the future. I hope you will help encourage and motivate me, while at the same time challenge me to rethink every decision that I’m considering. I hope you learn from my successes and failures, and able to apply the experiences to your own lives and businesses. I have no idea how this story will unfold, but it will no doubt be an interesting adventure. So please join me on this journey, celebrate in my successes, and even share in my failures. This could be the greatest success story, or the most public failure.
Thanks for Reading! I hope you will join me on the rest of my journey by subscribing to this blog. This can be done by email via the prompt on the sidebar, and also please leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.