Happy 4th of July!

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.

Eric IndependenceYesterday 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.

DreamWorks Animation Farewell

Farwell DreamWorks AnimationI started this blog by saying that I have a job at a dream company, and that I planned to leave that company.  Well, that time is upon us, and next week will be my last week working at DreamWorks Animation.  I have been keeping the name of the company I was working at a secret until I made them aware of my intentions.  Now that they are aware, and my end date is official there is no longer a reason to keep it a secret.  I have worked at DreamWorks Animation for over 6 years now, and in that time I have worked on the movies Monsters vs Aliens, Kung Fu Panda 2, Madagascar 3, Home!, and several shorts.  It has been an amazing experience that gave me the opportunity to work for a great company with some of the most talented people in the industry.  It is these amazing people that I will miss the most… closely followed by the free lunch.   I’m currently working on the feature film Home! as the modeling and surfacing production supervisor.  Home! was scheduled to be released this November, but was pushed out to March of 2015.  I knew when I started on Home! back in March of 2012 that it would be my last film I would work on at DreamWorks, and have been planning around that these last few years.  It always seemed so far away, and it’s hard to believe that I only have 1 week left.

As I was getting closer to my end date I was thinking they would most likely not have a position for me to go onto after Home!.  This would have worked out nicely for me, since I would not have any hard feelings about turning down a position.  In the past when the movie I was working on was getting close to being finished I would start talking to other shows that were staffing up to see what positions were available.  This time I did not talk to anyone about my approaching end date.  I thought that by flying under the radar that they would forget about me, and fill all the open positions with other people.  Also with some of DreamWorks Animation’s projects getting pushed, and my contract expiring I was sure this meant I would be asked to leave.  I played in my head many times how the meeting with HR would go.  They very professionally telling me that unfortunately there was no positions and I would have to leave the studio at the end of my current project.  Me trying to resist the grin forming on my face would say “I understood”, and that “it was a pleasure working here for as long as I have, and thank you for the opportunity”.  Yup, that was not at all how it happened.  They actually offered me a position on one of the upcoming films, so I ended up having to turn it down. I would be lying if I said I was not a little happy that they wanted to keep me even though I was planning on leaving anyways.  My last day at the studio will be July 3rd which means on July 4th I will also be gaining my own independence. I will leave the security that DreamWorks has provided me for so many years, and risk it all for a chance to make my dreams come true.  It’s exciting, invigorating, and scary all at the same time.

” While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took. And I hope that explains a little about this journey on which I’m about to embark.”
~ Frasier

I do want to say thank you to DreamWorks and all the people I have had the privilege of working with over these years.  Everyone one of you inspired me in more ways then you know.  I have never worked at a place that had so many people that are such an inspiration.  You made going to work each day so enjoyable, and I hope to work with all of you in the future.


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.