Friday, March 25, 2016

The Opposite of Monsters - Day Job Adventures

It has been quite the week. A very full week... a week of a lot of monsters and a week of the opposite of monsters. I am not hear to talk about monsters though, I am here to talk about something that is very much the opposite of monsters.

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You too can have the adventurous life of working in the highly profitable table top gaming industry!

For the past two days I was part of a four person team doing all day photo shoots at multiple child care facilities. Why you may ask? ...which is totally a valid question, because it falls under the responsibilities of my day job. Before you start posting "funny" comments about children being monsters, I am talking about the work and not the behavior of the proto-humans I was photographing.

My day job involves a lot of art, but this art is focused in making functional and visually appealing (as much as it can be) online educational courses used as in-service training for people who run and work at child care facilities and homes in Florida. That is the short explanation, we don't have all day. I personally make many of these course a year and I oversee the creation of even more that are produced by a second team. I am involved through out the entire lifespan of these course from the writing phase and the way till they go live online. During the day, my world looks like this...

Woah... I know kung fu.
If only it was that easy...

SO... what does this have to do with 'not monsters' and photo shoots? We go though a ton of images in these courses. Actually, we use to use many times more then we do now, but the images we use now need to be better. There was a time when our courses were done in Flash and now they are coded in HTML, but that is another story altogether dealing with presentation and production. There was also the time when I use to my graphics / illustrations for much of the course content, but that time too has passed. We want the images we use now to be the best they can be and stock photos can do just so much to illustrate specific ideas and topic that relate to the day to day life of someone working in a child care center. Do you know how impossible it is to find a stock image of an air conditioner surrounded by a fence? Or simply an image of an adult talking to a child in a meaningful way in something that looks like a classroom? Everybody is smiling or looking at the camera and everything is just so perfect and sterile. Don't get me wrong, stock photos have their place, like when dealing with child abuse...

Sample course pages, some featuring stock photos.
I could not publicly post images from our photo shoots anyway. Not allowed, ever.

Between the eleven hour day on Wednesday and the nearly twelve hour day on Thursday I took roughly 5500 images. The other two team members taking photos took their fair too. While not every image will be usable, we have significantly increased our photograph library. I was still working on monster stuff after these long days and I have had very little sleep this week since the photo shoot has had such an impact to my schedule.

Okay, so you have read through all this and you say to yourself, "What does any of this have to do with you being an artist and making monster?" The answer is EVERYTHING. THIS, all of THIS stuff is what I do to make sure I can have monsters in my life. The opposite of monsters make it possible for me to devote as much time and energy in my life to making monsters without much of the financial worries that can be associated with being a working artist today. This duel life style does mean I am constantly working, but who among us is not already constantly working? At the end of the day the opposite one monsters covers all of my needs. At the end of the day the monsters cover all of my wants. If I did not spend so much time working the day job, maybe I could be a better artist producing so much more work... or maybe I would be a much worse artist, struggling to keep my head above water hunting down the next job. I was a full time freelancer when I lived and worked in Los Angeles in the film industry. It was hard. I was not good at living with uncertainty, it was incredibly difficult to stay creative and motivated when I was constantly worried if I would be working in a month, in a week, the next day. Many can't work like that, but some can. I knew I couldn't, and when the opportunity arose to make a change, I took it. It has its cons, but it definitely had many pros. I spend forty five hours of my week doing the opposite of monsters so that I can have as much time as I can to making them.
That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

1 comment:

  1. Repost comment from FB (to help your blog metrics ;) )

    Thanks for this post! I had no idea you juggled a "day-job" alongside your art. I was solely freelancing since early 2013 (after being laid off at my then, office job). I barley managed to squeak by, on the graces of cashing in 401k accounts, and a lot of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as the saying goes. This past January, lack money and adult life had begun to became a bit too real. As you said, the uncertainty is not a fun time, so I decided to return to the workforce, and moonlight (or daylight as it were) as a professional artist.

    If I am being honest, it has felt a little embarrassing to do so; I felt like it was a failure or an indication to the quality of my art, that I wasn't making a living from it. I mean, afterall, I have a 4-yr degree in art, and some of my closest art friends have done very well... But this post certainly has made me feel much better about it. (Though actually having liquid funds has helped heal those wounds too).

    Anyway thanks again for a post that was inspirational, and consolatory, even if that was not it's intent.