Monday, September 19, 2011

On Games

I've decided I want to make video games.  You can read a really cool post here on the subject and, surprise surprise, the best, most important advice it gives is universally applicable to any creative endeavor you can think of.  I think I'll have to divide up my response to this article into multiple posts because it's really that good.  The first big quote that caught my eye, though, was this one: 

"...in any discipline, I think it’s fair to expect to spend two to three years of nights and weekends honing your craft in order to perform at a level that will attract the attention of a big studio.  Hopefully that’s not a terrifying idea! If 3D modeling, or animating, or graphics programming is something you love to do, spending your free time getting better at it should be a no-brainer and an enjoyable pastime anyways. But in my experience, and the experience of my peers, if you don’t spend that extra time on your craft you won’t cut it. Plus, if you don’t love it enough to pursue it in your free time, then why on earth are you trying to get a job in the game industry? ...most of us need a couple years of failing and doing things wrong in order to figure out how to do things right"

Howard Tayler's got a 3-part youtube presentation on this too, about the sheer amount of work that must be put into practicing your art.  This is a very valid question, then: If we really don't love it enough to spend our nights and weekends practicing our art, why are we trying to make a living off of it?  And more importantly, how are we expecting to get good enough to start making a living from it?

How do the best become the best?  Practice.  The ones who are best at anything are the ones who put in the time to become such, training and studying practicing for hours every day until their work shines with professionalism. No one's born world-class, no matter what they're pursuing.

So if you're looking to make a living doing something creative, maybe the first question you should ask yourself is this: Do I really love this enough to make a living at it?  Will years of mindless toil practicing my art be fun for me? If the answer is no then maybe you should find another career.  At least be prepared for mediocrity, and possibly never really making enough money to call it a full-time job.  To paraphrase Micheal Caine, if you want to be an artist only in as far as it doesn't interfere with your politics, social life, spare time and golf game, then you really don't want to be an artist.

There's a ton of creative things I do.  I sing, act, dance, fight, choreograph, write, blog and design.  But I can only focus on one right now, and that's why I've chosen writing.  As much as I love dancing and acting, I only have so many nights and weekends to dedicate to getting better, and if I have to choose one than it's going to be writing, all the way.  Of course that doesn't mean I can't branch out into multiple types of writing (I mean it, I'm going to find a way to start making video games,) but if I must choose one discipline to hone until it shines before I can move on to the others, than it's going to be writing.  Because for me, I'm a writer and there's nothing else I'd rather be right now.

See you all in print.

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