I was hit up by an online friend for some questions about the notion of grad school. Here is the correspondence.
awesome discussion & you make some really fantastic points. i went through the same dilemma a few years ago and ended up doing a year of each (1 yr independent study, 1 yr grad school). i’m pretty sure the school he’s talking about is Vancouver Film School? i went there in 2004 for the “4-year-in-1” Sound Design for Visual Media course and was blown away by the cutting edge curriculum there; it’s a school that really helps open a lot of doors, the teachers are amazing and it is literally boot camp for your creative soul and tech skills. i’m now working my dream job at Pump Audio and the combination of passionate independent work along with the year of tech immersion was exactly the rocket fuel that i needed for my life and career. feel free to put your friend in touch with me if he has any questions about life at VFS. keep up the awesome work arin, i check out your site every day, you rock!!
I take to heart when you say “employment comes to those that are skilled.”
That’s really my life right now. I finished up a four year military service and then moved back home with no set plan and 2 months later, BAM!, I land a job doing web design. I can’t really explain it except for 1. God, and two 2. there’s more to life than just a piece of paper from a college saying you met the minimum requirements to graduate and (for the most part) accumulate a large sum of debt.
Thanks for posting.
My favorite line here is “I suggest not having a job.” It’s sounds like something I would say.
interesting debate. however, i still don’t understand not having a job. you have to pay bills. credit card debt will come back to haunt you if you live off of them and a lot of people don’t have family members to “float” them through. what’s the alternative? mooching off friends? it’s dangerous to suggest that there are simple solutions for becoming an artist. i agree with you arin, that school is not necessary, and in most cases i think it’s a sham, but it’s time for all of us to come up with realistic, concrete answers for artists who struggle to make ends meet and have to work. “I suggest not having a job” is an irresponsible solution. I suggest having a job, learn about money management, explore your craft in your free time and hold onto your hope with all you have. this is much more realistic and takes into consideration people who don’t have family and friends to fall back on. does anyone have other real solutions to offer?
Amylin who commented above is a good example. She is an artist. I posed for her the other day. Click her name and you can see her flickr where she posted the drawing.
She uses couchsurfing.com for free places to stay. She also hitch hikes for transportation, gets used clothes, asks strangers or friends to use their phone, asks friends and strangers to swipe the metro on the way out with their unlimited pass and for food just kind of wings it but she’s a good cook and often times ends up making people food and eating that way. Now, she still has money, she does Thai Massage making 60 dollars an hour. But she loves that work and it’s not really a Job although it does provide money for things like computers and digital cameras and stuff that is hard to get for free.
When I moved to NYC I did video editing and production jobs freelance so I’d have time for my projects in between jobs and so I’d always be practicing my craft on other peoples productions. But that also requires a lot of opportunistic flare that ideally would not be needed in life in order to survive.
When you are trying to solve a funding problem for life a project there are always two solutions. Get the money or decide you don’t need it.
If you can lower your expenses to almost nothing then you really don’t need much money and can use your personality and your art and what you provide to the world to carry you through. This is I think how it can work for artists. Social Currency instead of monetary currency. And I think the internet is a place that is pioneering that. Keep an eye out for couchsurfing.com style sites for food, carpooling, getting used equipment and anything else. In the future I think people will help people a lot more because like on couchsurfing every time you help someone you are building sort of a digital karma and people are likely to help you.
This is Arin’s internet friend from the instant messenger conversation. To start, I was really amazed when I saw this on here. It really made my day (I found out just now).
The conversation Arin and I had on instant messenger I took to heart. I have always been one where decision doesn’t come easy. Currently, I go to Temple University for Film & Media Arts. Sometimes I think that wasn’t the best choice. But I do believe in the saying, ‘everything happens for a reason’. My last semester is coming up and it’ll be a nice feeling upon completion. Yes, I am looking at Vancouver Film School for animation. Granted, I know nothing about animation but I do know it was my main childhood dream. I love to draw and I believe the field suits me, my personality, and the creative spirit within.
I really do think that I owe it to myself to give myself the opportunity to succeed/fail. What I mean by this is upon completion of my undergraduate schooling to just live life. I want a job eventually of course, but I also feel stepping away from a situation (perhaps of rut) can change the mindset of any human being. I feel that the most I feel alive is when I am free from any inhibitions. For example, if you see a cute girl at a party and you run towards any fears you may have, what’s the worst that could happen? She says no. But what’s the best that could happen? A kiss, a new friend, a new girlfriend, new insight on something, a dance, the list goes on…
I am grateful to have some wonderful people around me who have helped me see there is really nothing to worry about. To their credit, I have had similar conversations (on different topics) with my friends and brother. However, it feels great coming from a somewhat complete stranger. I thank you Arin Crumley.
I checked out couchsurfing.com and I think it’s a great idea. I’m happy that people are making such contributions. However, the organization is run off of donations. Who donates? People with money. How do they earn their money? By not having jobs? I would also venture to assume that people who take advantage of these freebies are, for the most part, young, well-off, white people. Also, just because you like your job does not dismiss the fact that it is a job. Doing Thai massage for 60 dollars an hour is a job. Shooting and editing videos is also a job, which is exactly my point. Why suggest to your friend to have no job when clearly the only way to survive is to earn money by working?
Just because something is free to you does not mean it is free to others. Who do you think pays for those Metro swipes and cell phone bills and food? Who pays for the gas when your artist friend hitchhikes? What if we all hitchhiked and borrowed favors, couch surfed and decided we didn’t need jobs? Is this the utopia you are looking for? That sounds wonderful, it really does. I am not being facetious. I think it’s a beautiful dream to think of a world full of even trade and good kharma. But, if you are claiming “social currency instead of monetary currency,” then you can’t count anything that takes the exchange of money at some point. And all of these things that you have mentioned (housing, transportation, food), even though the person borrowing them pays nothing, are being bought/sold/traded with cash. I suppose your point is that if we all stop the monetary cycle, then we can realize that we don’t need it. However…
The reason I am debating you is because your vision, while inspiring, is limited. It does not take into consideration two very important things: 1) The Working Class (who are the ones who will pay for our exclusive social currency in the end) and 2) That the best art comes from life’s struggle, not life’s free rides.
The working class is the only group of people who truly understand survival. They do not choose to live simply, they are forced. They do not have exposure to some of the things we do and so cannot utilize a lot of luxuries we now consider necessities. So, do you want to tell them to quit their jobs and do something they love? Go right ahead. 2) I have had my fair share of shitty jobs, I have earned my own way (not to make a point, but because I have had to), and I would not trade any fast-food, blue-collar or pink-collar job that I loathed for anything because it has made me who I am. It has given me a voice and the self-confidence that no one can take away. And I have to remind myself of this lesson everyday. Most times, I forget it and let everything control me and who I am. But everyday, if I am to survive, I have to tell myself that life is not about dreaming up a utopia but about accepting the day-to-day struggles as a utopia in their own right. This is how you share a vision and this is how everyone can understand it whether they are giving massages, sitting in a cramped cubicle or boxing up a Big Mac.
I feel like you’re breaking silence on that thing we’re all not supposed to talk about, and it’s true: school is only a temporary pusher, and whether you attend or not, to make it through passionate and content, you have to study/animate on your own momentum.
i live in a city that seems to be experiencing a small scale cultural revolution. more citizens are becoming active in the progression of our city. small, family owned businesses are blossoming regularly while non-profit arts centers and schools are functioning successfully off of the generous support and donations of others. i am a stay at home mother with many friends and family who are filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, etc… very few of them are unemployed, but they are the ones who are making a name for themselves. i see, first-hand, the benefits of having the time and liberty to devote to your craft. i also see the side of less fortunate artists who are parents or don’t have support from family to be unemployed. i have an idea for a sort of small agency, i guess, similar to a temp agency, that would probably only function off of the continued efforts that are moving our town in this beautiful direction. i am not a business woman and haven’t talked to ANYONE about this. i only decided to bring it up here because of the topic (and it’s easier to throw out ideas to strangers.) it would be something along the lines of local businesses designating an open position(s) for artists looking for temporary work through the agency. for example, a filmmaker between films or looking to raise extra cash for equipment or food could work one weekend or a month at the local vegan restaurant washing dishes or closing the store. touring musicians who have trouble finding jobs that will work with their erratic schedule can deliver pizza or whatever… and so on. is there anything like this that exists in other cities that appreciate art, like nyc, austin, etc…? and do you think something like this could actually work or is there an obvious hiccup that i am overlooking. obviously the idea is in it’s beginning stages ;). i just think that it would only cause the artistic community to thrive more efficiently.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Google+ account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new comments via email.