I got an email from an Animation Mentor student today with a great idea for a topic of one of our newsletters. He said the "Mentor Spotlight" was great but most of them knew without a shadow of a doubt that they wanted to be animators. He was saying it would be great to have an interview with someone who didn't know they wanted to be an animator or someone who changed careers and found animation as their career change. I thought it was a great idea for a topic and explained to him that this was actually my path. After writing my response to him via email I thought it would make a good post on my blog. I hope you enjoy.
I didn't know I wanted to be an animator at all. I was actually doing a lot of things after high school. I went to Junior College then dropped out as I had no idea what I wanted to do and was meandering around. I played drums in a few bands and toured the U.S. then did odd jobs for a long while; i.e. worked on the docks in SF in the organic produce industry, Kinko's, delivered bread and pastries, and on-and-on.
As a hobby I started doing Kung Fu and got pretty good at it and was asked to open a Kung Fu studio. I decided that wasn't for me and was not what I wanted to do.
Around that time I went on a date to see "The Hunchback of Notre dame." I don't know why we went to see it, probably because she suggested it. Before the movie they played a trailer for a movie called "Toy Story." Until that moment I was utterly confused about what "I wanted to do with my life." When I saw the trailer it struck a cord at my heart strings. There was something about it that looked so real, yet "otherworldly." I knew at that moment that was something I wanted to do. I decided to find a place to learn animation and, to quote the cliche, "the rest is history."
Life to me is all about taking risks and never getting too comfortable with where I'm at. I'm a firm believer that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Some may disagree, but it's always served me well. You simply can not give up and you always have to keep your mind clear and focused on what your goal is.
For me I had a picture of Buzz Lightyear coming out of an SGI computer that said something like "Come work for us." It was a Pixar AD and I had that next to my computer for many, many years. That always helped keep me focused. Then, when I got my first job in animation I did not just sit there and think "I had arrived" I took it as a stepping stone to my dream goal of working on a major feature animated film, and more specifically, Pixar.
Having worked at Pixar for many years and on several films it is easy to sometimes forget all the hard work and effort that went in to getting to my dream job. If you are reading this I hope it offers a sense of inspiration to you and the journey that you may be on. Your goal may not be Pixar, it may just mean becoming an animator (an excellent goal to have). Whatever your dream may be, never lose focus of it and never stop taking steps towards it every single day! Enjoy.
Now you may ask if I regret leaving Pixar to start Animation Mentor. Well that is another topic for another day. :)
Labels: Bobby Beck