Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Smalltown, Texas?

Crazily enough, a lot of folks have really enjoyed Morpheus and I'm very glad of that. It's been so much fun seeing what folks have made of him. That also means I've gotten a lot of emails which I try to answer. However one of the recurrent themes is one I'd like to address in a larger format.

Why don't you move to where there's more work? It's been a question that has come up many times by folks recently (potential employers as well). I've tried to answer as I can but thought perhaps I might elaborate here. The expressions I receive are of incredulity, sometimes amusement as I meander my way through the winding path of my own justifications.

Here's the short answer - It doesn't make practical sense to do so. Also, the BBQ is really good.

Here's the meandering one -

Having been working professionally now for 15 years - first in the Marine Corps, then as a freelancer/student, and now as an animator/generalist for the last 5 years I've chased some dreams and have a pretty good idea of what I want now - what I love to do. Part of that is definitely seeded in the more personal areas of my life - my faith, my history but more than anything it is the choices I've made. Sometimes we drift through life like a day on the river - beer in hand and make our course corrections after we bump into some log or rock. Other times we decide to go up stream or grab an oar and head towards something. Still others we make camp and stay awhile.

Too much of my own life was spent heading toward some place else - as if that the arrival of one destination or achievement would bring contentment and satisfaction. Some of those goals were met, others not. Those successes never brought more than temporary joy that quickly began to fade as the next goal started to grow in my mind's eye. Not that goals are bad by any means. As a tool to grow as a human being they're amazing. As a reason for existing they suck pretty hard.

So, I've tried to stop that.

The economy isn't the greatest and our industry is a fickle one so it would be pretty selfish of me to ask my wife to quit a very good and stable job so I can work on Project X (on a 3-6 month contract). Also, most of the places where Project X's are being made aren't very cheap. So over a period of time I processed those facts and came to some new conclusions. As cool as that might be working on Project X and though maybe life will make that a more tangible solution in the future, for now it doesn't make a lot of sense for me. I love my craft but my joy of it is not wrapped up in where I do it or for how much I do it for (though if I'm doing it for free more than likely it's for my own enjoyment - I've done more than my quota of "spec" gigs).

This next year I'm trying to avoid away on site gigs so that I can be with my family and spread roots in my community, take my dog fishin, ride horses with my wife, help my neighbors figure out how to hook up a wireless printer - become more like the man I believe I was made to be. I know these choices cost me work opportunities. My hope is that they pay off in the more important areas of life. So far they have. In the process I hope to be salt and light in a world that needs all it can get.

For those that were curious, I hope that answers the question well enough. To those that weren't, I doubt you read this far. To both, sorry for the grammar and editing mistakes.

Be salty and let your light shine.

Now, back to python... :)


Alex Puente said...

Josh, I´ve always been a fan of your work, but now I realize you´re far more than an awesome artist, you´re a great human being, Cheers for the great scope on life and make of it the best trip ever!

Your Friend, ALEX

Melissa Mae said...

Josh, well said and so full of wisdom. You've placed your big rocks wisely. ;) - Melissa

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words, Alex. Keep me posted on your work:)

Melissa, thank you. Hope you and the fam are doing well. I always enjoy the chats I have with you and Ben. You all keep warm up there!

bclark said...

This is a great post and mirrors a great deal of my thoughts and feelings over the past few years.

David said...

Nice post, but screw all that. Move to LA so we could hang out more often.

Unknown said...

Thanks, bclark. You wouldn't happen to be Brad whom helps run the Austin 3d user groups would you?

Bokser, thanks buddy. I'm still holding you to your visit offer. We'll go fishin this spring and talk python;)

kyphur said...

Awesome post and I totally relate. Turned down a number of jobs in LA and other high cost areas just because of that. I'm back in my home state, being paid well and enjoying the hell out of my job.

If you want to move to Alabama and be a keyframe character animator let me know. :)


Unknown said...


Hey man, first off. Thank you for the encouragement. How the heck have you been? Please send me an email so we can catch up.

If I ever wanna go to Alabama, I'll let you know. I'm on Louisiana several times a year visiting in laws. Maybe we can meet up some time it would be great to see you again:)


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