Knowing When to Pivot

When I graduated from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in 2004 I received a degree in, at what they use to call Computer Art. Yep, I’m dating myself. My focus was in visual effects and computer animation. If I had to be honest and grade myself in those two arenas, I would give myself a “C-” at best.

There was still lots of room for improvement. Unfortunately, I felt like I hit a threshold near my last days before graduation. The first 2 months’ post college, I was courting potential visual effects/animation houses on the west coast, a few were scattered in New York and maybe one or two in Miami. I realized I wasn’t getting as much positive feedback for my demo reel as I would have liked. I started second guess a few things and wondered why I didn’t study graphic design at SCAD. After a year of having no job with a constant pursuit of actively looking, I decided to end that pursuit.

I switched it up and started to learn graphic design on my own. Reading forums, blogs, anything I could get my hands on. A month after that year I ended up getting a job at an online computer retailer as a “Product Silhouette Specialist.” This is just fancy way of saying, in Photoshop I cutout products with the pen tool. Then super compose them on a grey or white background. Trust me when I say, you’ve seen my work or something similar to it. Go to any electronic product item on BestBuy, Frys or Newegg’s website. Check out the pictures of products on a white or grey background. BAM!! Isn’t my work lovely!? The job wasn’t exactly what I was looking for graphic design wise but it gave me the ability to learn, study and practice on someone else’s dime. I didn’t have access to software like Photoshop and Illustrator but the computer at work had the things I needed. Sometimes I would spend my lunch time practicing and messing around with programs. I made the best of it for three years. As I built up my portfolio with a few of the conceptual works that I created. Until, finally I was hired or should I say rescued by a creative agency.

By no means am I encouraging anyone to give up on their dreams. But I do think everyone owes it to themselves to go down the road less traveled or the road you never considered. I always thought visual effects/animation would be my road… my dream. But as things didn’t work out I had to reevaluate and pivot. Taking a road that previously seemed less likely to me and slowly realizing that it was a good path.

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