Create Your Own Experience

The conundrum of every nascent career is, “Lack of experience = no job = lack of experience.”

But we now live in the age of “keyless entry.” Getting hired is less about recruiters and resumes and more about you, the “living logos” that stand for creativity, integrity and drive.

You will pass through the walls of a company or studio like vapor floating in the atmosphere of information (via word of mouth and the internet) and eventually, you will solidify.

Market the impressive project that you finished this year to a hundred people and repeat.

Find someone who has experience and buy them lunch during which you talk a little, ask questions and listen a lot.

If you focus on relationships and creating your own dang experiences, the conundrum no longer applies.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jose Gonzalez

Great looking site, my friend!
A toast to Oats!

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ChrisOatley

Thanks, Jose. You are just such an encouragement.

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Scott Wiser

Absolutely, don’t wait for someone to invest in you … invest in yourself! You’re the best, Chris!

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ChrisOatley

Thank you, Scott. You’re a PRO at this!!!

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David Hansen

Good advice, especially for those of us who have dropped out of art school, but haven’t given up on art. Also, I love the new site design, it’s great for desktop and iPhone reading!

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ChrisOatley

Thanks for your encouragement about the new site design, David. Interesting you bring up Art School. Even though I did go to Art School I did not focus on working for the animation industry and thus, I wasn’t prepared. So I had to learn these kinds of lessons the hard way.

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Kira

i’m glad you are willing to pass on those lessons, i want to be as prepared as possible when i leave school.

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Mark Dachille

Thanks Chris! I agree! One thought that I had, in addition to what you mentioned was to volunteer (carefully). In fact, I’ve had one volunteer position turn into a small job. For every full time job there are hundreds if not thousands of volunteer positions. There’s a win-win position out there for someone. Volunteering = portfolio building + references + publication – money (usually).

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ChrisOatley

That’s a great point, Mark!

Miss you, buddy!

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Joey McInnis

I feel like this is an issue no one addresses,thanks! At the same time I find it difficult trying to establish relationships through email and self promotion.

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ChrisOatley

You’re right, Joey. It does take time, but all you need are a couple of strong relationships to help get you started.

My industry-break was triggered by ONE friend who recommended me for a gig. You can read about that in the post called “Ask for the Job” and hear about it in the episode of The Paper Wings Podcast where Lora interviews me:

http://chrisoatley.com/2011/07/11/ask-for-the-job/

http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/2011/08/pwp13chrisoatley/

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Frank

This is probably a good advice to any professional. Are you an engineer? Get out there and invent something! A patent is worth more than experience! Are you an administration major? Get out there and start a company! Founder credits are better than managing a really big company! Are you a computer guy? Get out there and write an app! etc. etc.

By the way, digging the new site design!

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ChrisOatley

Very true, Frank. Thanks for the compliment, too!

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Derrick "Captain Dutz" Utz

I love this post!!! Thats what I’m talking about, dang experiences and the ghostly vapor..y Captain! I’ll get in your door..then under your skin, cuz I’m weird like that.

This post is what reminds me of your words that have so seriously changed my life this last year, “Do great work and be great to work with.” This progress driven mentality is what I really think was missing from my growth and it has made a world of difference.

Thank you Chris, I will continue to seek the opportunities and we have many great things ahead!

Dutz out!

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Michael Dambold

Thanks for this post Chris, this is so much truth! When I graduated in Graphic Design, they told us that it doesn’t matter if we do pro-bono, self-directed or paid work. What matters is that we have work to show, and that we learned something while doing it.

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Chris Oatley

Yeah, and that we are consistently doing the kind of work we WANT to be doing – whether we’re getting paid for it or not.

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Alex Ledger

This website is brilliant, just reading through your different articles has reinvigorated me to completely focus myself.

I’m 23 and have been trying to break into the industry for about 4 years now, it feels like i have been wading through tar for the most of it. After the initial rejection letters I still carried on, but then, last year i started to really question myself, that little negative voice in my head, constantly telling me ‘i was no good’ ‘quit whilst your ahead’ i can’t tell you how much work i deleted in frustration, which i now really regret.

I came across your website a couple of weeks ago, and since then i have made a good contact in the industry, he’s not a concept artist but he knows the ins and outs and i know i can go to him with any queries. I’ve re focused my work into productive straight forward artwork that get’s to the point (i hope)

Sorry for the long ramblings, but i can’t tell you how much your articles have helped me re focus and re visualize my dream!

Many thanks Chris!

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Chris Oatley

Thank you, Alex! I’m so glad you’ve found the site inspiring!

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Kira

Now I just have to get an impressive project going. Thanks for all the tips and wisdom, it is really invaluable.

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Kelci

This is SO. FREAKING. TRUE.

I just started making a webcomic, and it’s already helping me build my portfolio up and keep me creating things. Even if the project doesn’t get picked up by a publisher, I’m still having fun making the thing. The more comics I make, and the more I share them, the more people that see them, the more conventions I go to, and the more comic artists I get to meet. It’s a self-satisfying circle and I love it. It’s small, but I feel like it’ll grow with time.

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Phil

Unfortunately marketing myself and passing around my best work has done little to nothing for me over the past 10 years that I’ve been in the market. In my experience it’s more about where you live. Out of everyone I graduated with who got a studio job every one of them got that job in their own town. Unfortunately there aren’t many animation or game studios around Philadelphia.

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Arielle

It’s always great to hear stuff like this. It’s one of those things where it just seems SO obvious that you almost can’t believe it would work, y’know?

My question is…do you just, sort of, suck it up? I think there’s this fear in which you’re afraid to talk about your work because it makes you feel like you’re bragging and you don’t want to seem annoying. Is there any way to just DO it? Do you wait for it to get brought up in conversation, or do you MAKE the conversation?

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Chris Perry

Making relationships. Bringing humanity to your paintings. You make me think that it’s not all about the painting but the person behind it. Your all about integrity. Thanks

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Steven

This is a great site!

I just graduated college a month ago and am looking into doing freelance work for the time being. I have my own ideas for shows and movies, yet I’m not a good writer so I have yet to bring these ideas to life. I’m thinking of maybe going on some freelancing sites and looking for a writer to help me. The way I see it, I draw, he/she writes, they go online, and I begin building an audience and a career that way.

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Eleonora Lorenzet

Thanks for everything you’re doing Chris.
I’m Italian, 23, and I was totally giving up after one year of stage in the videogames world.
This site is great, explains so many things and gives so many advices!
You just need to try, herder and harder everyday.
Thank you!

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