Happy 4th of July!
I’m now officially independent from DreamWorks Animation. So not only will I be celebrating the United States’ Independence today, but also my own. This week has been great because for the first time I have been able to be open to tell people what my plans are, and I have been getting some interesting reactions. Some people look at me like I’m crazy, and you can see the eye roll and thought bubble saying “never going to happen!”. On the other extreme are the people that get really excited, and start talking about exchanging contact information so that they can come work with me. Most people seem to fall somewhere in-between these two extremes. I guess these reactions are to be expected, since most people do not try and start their own animation company. I also ran into some people that opened up to me about their own entrepreneurial efforts that they are secretly working on.
I have been working on saying “I’m planning on starting my own animation company” more confidently. For so long now I have been keeping it a secret, and it is now surprisingly difficult to say it out loud. It does feel good to say it, and it makes my dream seem more tangible. This has also put me on an emotional roller-coaster. One minute I’m very confident in my dream thinking this will be easier then I thought, and then the next minute asking myself if I’m making a huge mistake. I know the shaking of my confidence is only temporary caused by the reactions of my peers, and the more people I talk to the more confident I become no matter what their reaction is. I have to remind myself that majority of people are going to tell me that it can’t be done, but I have to follow my own heart. I will take what people say as advice, and recommendations, but in the end I have to make my own decisions.
The question I keep getting from people when I tell them about me starting an animation company is how am I going to actually start it? My response is simply, “one step at a time”. I plan to relax this holiday weekend, but starting early Monday morning I will hit the ground running. Since my wife does not go into work until 10am she will be able to watch our son in the morning until then. I will be waking up at 6am each morning and have a dedicated 4 hours each morning to work exclusively on the business. At 10am I will take over watching my son so my wife can go to work. This might not be a permanent solution, but it will help get me started. I’m excited about this because in addition to having time to work on my company I will also get to be there for my son, and watch him grow. I will also be able to work when my son is taking his naps, but any parent knows you can’t rely on having that free time consistently. If I need to leave the house for meetings with clients, or networking events we will get a babysitter for those times.
It will be really tight living on just one income, and we will have to stick to our very strict budget to make this work. I really appreciate my wife for supporting me, and giving me the opportunity to take such a huge risk to follow this dream. She knows we will have to make a lot of sacrifices, and she has been nothing but positive and supportive. She is the best partner I could have asked for.
Yesterday was my last day at DreamWorks Animation, and I felt very inspired and energized with my decision to leave, and go off on this adventure. Packing up my office and saying my farewells to friends and co-workers was bittersweet, since I walked those halls, and been with those people for so long. In a way it became my second home. It felt like the end of an era for me, and the start of one grand adventure. I hope I’m able to keep in touch with many of my co-workers, but I realize that yesterday was the last time I would see some of them. Before picking up the cliche final box of my belongings with the plant sticking out the top, I paused for a moment, and looked around my office to reflect on my time at DreamWorks. I have some really amazing memories from the last 6+ years, and that made me happy and sad at the same time. I picked up my box, and closed the door to my office metaphorically closing that chapter of my life.
If you have not already, I hope you will join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog. If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.