myreturn

My return to animation studios?

Back in June, we declared 2017 the year of massive growth.

And  I shared a deeply vulnerable truth with you…

…that I decided to walk away from being a professional animator – so I could focus 100% on helping you through Rusty Animator.

It was scary at first to share this.

After all, I had been holding that ‘secret’ in since 2016 and I thought it would make me look like some kind of animation fraud.

However, since then you all have been extremely encouraging.

And I’ve never felt a stronger desire to keep moving forward with Rusty Animator.

So I’ve gone back to being a professional animator

Wait – WHAT?!

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Before you throw your hands in the air or confuse your eyebrows too much – hear this.

Rusty Animator continues to be an amazing amount of fun.

And I couldn’t ask it to grow any faster.

It just doesn’t pay the bills comfortably on its own yet.

Although, that’s probably not far off at all.

The 1st class of Augmented Animator was also a fantastic success!

The 3-month program wrapped up just a month and a half ago and the students improved massively. I’d dare say, they leveled up their animation skill 10x faster than they would at a traditional college. And they saved $90,000+ in tuition?!?

I can’t wait to do it again or to reopen Memorable Animator with awesome upgrades.

But a surprising opportunity has fallen into my lap

A studio approached me with an offer I didn’t even believe existed:

  • Consistent Work
  • Normal 9 to 5 hours (most of the time)
  • A huge variety of project styles
  • The ability to guide younger animators
  • A senior role with plenty of room for artistic growth
  • And there’s no need to relocate to a big expensive city (its local in Florida)

In other words, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

It would be foolish to not give it a shot – right?

So I started at Steamroller Studios last month and it’s been a whirlwind.

Both good and bad.

The week before my first day, Hurricane Irma smashed into Florida. And in the process,  I messed up my shoulder REALLY bad. I’m still actually healing from the pinched nerve but at least I can animate.

To make things more intense, I also happened to start on a new project that actually required overtime (though it rarely happens there).  

So October for me was pretty much – WORK & SLEEP.

That’s the bad.

Here’s the good:

  • I’ve been animating on all kinds of cool stuff (Cant share yet)
  • Its keeping my skills sharp as a result
  • It pays the bills while Rusty Animator grows
  • I’m even hungrier to teach through Rusty Animator
  • The CEO animated at Weta on Avatar and Apes
  • And he also runs CG Tarian (recommended in The Ultimate Guide to the Best Animation Schools) so there’s a lot of common ground for us.

But do you want to know the CRAZY awesome part?

I got to fulfill a priceless goal that I’ve had since starting Rusty Animator…

Now I work in a studio with one of my students everyday!

(Yurika and  I having a terrible time animating in the studio)

Yuirka was one of my rock-star students from Memorable Animator. Not long after the course ended she relocated to Florida to work at Steamroller. Next thing you know she says something like, ‘Hey I know you wanted to quit studios but maybe you’re interested in coming here?’

SOLD!

Now we high five daily.

How cool is that?!

Animation Homies For Life!

There’s still one nagging question though…

Why did ALL THIS happen right after I decided to walk away from animation studios?

I don’t know…

  • Maybe fate has a hilarious sense of humor
  • Maybe the gods are out to test my convictions
  • Maybe life is even more ironic than Alanis Morissette (UGH thank you mind for repeating this horrible song)

The longer I’m a professional, the more I’m amazed at how great opportunities and happenstances always seem to occur at the right time.

Is Rusty Animator going away now though?

Over my dead body.

My time will just be split between the two.

Of course, this presents a bit of a challenge, but it all seems doable right now.

In fact, Rusty Animator has super exciting plans unfolding:

  • Free Animation Video Tutorials (as you’ve seen already with Walk Cycle Blueprint)
  • Re-opening Augmented Animator (probably in Jan)
  • Create the world’s first online animation conference
  • Re-open Memorable Animator (in Spring)
  • Keep developing a free custom rig
  • And much more.

I can’t wait to see how all this unfolds and I hope you find these plans exciting too.

I wanted to share these surprising updates with you to show you how I’m adapting to make the most of it and continuing to grow massively this year.

Now I want to hear from you

What surprising challenge or opportunities have come your way during this year of massive growth? Are you making the most of it?

Share your story.

We’re in this together.

-Rusty

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