Is it too late? | Rusty Animator
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Is it too late?


  • Am I too old?
  • Am I starting from Zero Again?
  • What will everyone think?
  • How long will it take to before I’m job worthy?!
  • Is it too late?

These questions were part of a recent Email sent in. How many of you out there  have asked yourselves the same? Do you feel like your going to miss the boat? Are you frustrated believing countless hours of hard work will amount to nothing? I know I have and occasionally it sneaks back in…sometimes with new questions

They paralyzed me for far too long and CAN do the same to you. When learning a new craft…especially one as massive as Animation your going to have many doubts. Fears that lie secretly behind your procrastination, frustration, and worry.

Its  the most overlooked and underestimated barrier in your path as an artist.

The mental side.  No we’re not going all Sigmund Freud here…screw psycho babble

BUT you’ll be crippled if you start  learning without noticing where your heads at. What’s always talked about is needing the right skills. The right software. The right acting choices.

What about your head-space?! Why is this not discussed? Perhaps its not as appealing as animation techniques…but its too important to SKIP – especially in the beginning

If your skills are the car. The mind is your fuel. And how fast is a Ferrari without gas?

Make no mistake – in order to produce compelling art that makes others laugh, cry, or feel inspired, its essential you get out of your own way.

Let me repeat – You have to get out of your own way.

 Would Leonardo DiCaprio, be capable of imitating a Quaalude drug trip for Wolf of Wall Street – if he spent half the time thinking “Can I act?” Would there even be a Sistine Chapel if Michelangelo’s head kept nagging “Am I creative enough?” Would there even be a Pixar if John Lasseter had said to himself “it will take too long for this 3D stuff to be any good?” Hell no.I’m sure these guys had their doubts like anyone but at the end of the day…they had their heads on straight. If they didn’t…..we wouldn’t know their names. They were able to tap into 100% of their creativity because they were 100% focused on pulling their craft off. That’s where you need to be. Firing on all cylinders, guiding a rocket filled with jet fuel.

Imagine how fast you’d learn if you were 100% focused on your craft. Imagine  how entertaining your animation will be when you completely trust your gut. Imagine how much enjoyment you’ll get from just animating when worry isnt a factor.

You’ve got too far to go – too much skill to attain – too many dreams to be had – to be stuck at the mirror asking all the wrong questions. So what do we do? How do we be great artists like those guys? Whether you’ve been learning animation for a while or are just beginning – take 5 mins to fix what’s really holding you back….YOU.

1. Write out your top 5 Nagging questions or statements

Am I too old?  –  I’m too old to learn this now.

2. Logically find it ridiculous and ask better questions.

At the age of 30 how many years until I cant work anymore? Probably til I’m 60. Maybe 70.  Holy crap. Actually thats 50% of my life.  Can I really afford to waste half of my life? Am I really living if I keep living the way I am right now? Do I want to wonder what what its like to Animate for a living the rest of my life? How much Happier will I be pursuing my dream? Does it really matter then if  it takes me a year…two years?!

3. Take Action

Write out 1 Action you can take right now to start facing it. Then Do it! Like the before and after of riding a roller coaster…Fears antidote is Action. Once you take that first step. Then another. And Another. Your worry fades. So sketch that first idea. Order that Animation Book. Add that extra Squash and Stretch. Soon, You’ll be absorbed into your work and  before you know it…a pro. 

As a creative your going to question your abilities time and time again. That’s just part of growth. Building a stronger eye. It will lessen as you progress but the important part  is that your conscience of it. Most of the time these limiting thoughts are bullshit. Prove them bullshit once a month and you’ll keep going when others get frustrated, depressed, or give up.

Now your ready to get started. Les Brown said “Most people are  tip toeing to an early grave” will you?

Share 1 roadblock you’ve put on yourself and how you logically found it ridiculous. Throw it out there – if you got questions I’ll help.


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  • Jerry says:

    My 1# barrier would be that I judge myself based on other artists and I forget myself. I watch too many showreels and I forget my work and what I had to do to learn all this skills. At the same time I am thinking that all this artists had their school completed and it was easy for them. But the fact remains, that they also had to learn all this skills that got them where they are today. So basically we are all in the same position if you look it as a whole. It’s more the question of what’s going on in your head. It’s much deeper than skills. So I think if you “train your brain” and talk about this things it will be much easier to overcome these obstacles. By doing so, you are then able to become even better than others and as a result get more confidence in your work.

    It’s very interesting when you get in contact with others you found out we all have similair barriers and it’s pretty awesome that we can share them over the internet and help each other to overcome them 🙂

    • Your on the money Jerry. Sharing – is the key. From animation feedback to your mindset – the people who really excel put themselves on the line. “Here’s what im challenged with…how do i get better?” You get answers for all those more experienced than you, and most importantly your not bogged down thinking about all your faults…instead your only focused on finding a solution. Now, what happens when you look for answers…you find them.

      How can you look at your own showreel in a good way? Whats 1 tiny step you can take to feel your ‘getting there’?

  • Nicole says:

    Everyone fights battles, and comparing yourself to others is super hard not to do. One of my mentors said that every shot is put on this earth to teach you something and that’s something that I have started to continually remind myself of. I’ll even ask myself ‘what is this shot teaching me’, so good or bad I get through it and take what I’ve learned and move on to the next shot.

  • James S says:

    I’ve had a checkered past. I see my peers with families and retirement plans and I’m starting over at age 50. Am I too old? It doesn’t matter because I have no choice. I do know when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s I never ran out of work, I could get any job I wanted. That’s no longer the case. I had to stop going to interviews because I got tired of seeing that scow on the interviewers face when I enter the room. They were expecting a young man, instead they got me. Needless to say, I haven’t been hired in over 8 years.

    You would think with over 30 years of graphic design skills I would be in high demand. It turns out, as long as I don’t have to meet people, I can scrape up some jobs through various freelance sites. But that too is becoming slim pickings. It seems everyone wants a Pixar quality video made for $500.

    I’m going to continue to animate. I’ve always wanted to do it and I figure even if I don’t master it until I’m 80, it will be exciting and engaging

    • James good on you. If your still doing what you love at 80 – your truly living.

      But perhaps all you really need is to change it up. Other graphic designers and animators are getting hired. What are the best doing that you haven’t tried? How can you make your skills irresistibly appealing? Food for thought.

      Thanks for sharing!

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