To industry members: Am I good, or do I suck?

To industry members: Am I good, or do I suck?
A newsgroup posting by Zero Dean (Jan 1997)

This newsgroup posting holds no real educational significance other than it is the seed that gave birth to 3D ARK. It is here more as a novelty than for any other reason.

For weeks after I posted this message, I received hundreds of personal replies to my letter (and was crazy enough to try and reply to every one…which I think I did) and watched the thread go on for months and months (I saw it pop up again later in June). It went everywhere and it was read by thousands of people. By June, I was already hired as the new Head of the Art Dept and Lead Artist (one who wears many hats) at a startup gaming company in Massachusetts, Whatif Productions. Ironically, my employment had nothing to do with the thread or a demo reel. It was based on the potential my boss saw in my on-line gallery, my “vision”. I received a phone call from Whatif expressing an interest in my work, arranged to do some test images, and the rest as they say, is history.

Here is the original post in its entirety.


Subject: To industry members: Am I good, or do I suck?
From: [email protected] (Zero Dean)
Date: 1997/01/27
Message-Id: [email protected]
Newsgroups: [various graphics newsgroups]

This message is directed at those working in the computer graphics/gaming industry. However, I welcome any and all responses.

The title is somewhat blunt, but it _is_ to the point.

Here’s the situation: I’m trying to break my way into the industry, but after sending out over 10 resumes and demo reels to top 2D/3D graphics houses/gaming houses (ie. LucasArts, Digital Domain, Activision, etc.) a couple months ago, I was virtually ‘ignored’.

The point: I’m talented (IMO), but obviously I’m being overlooked for a reason (or maybe I’m getting lost in the numbers?). And yes, I know it’s a tough industry to break into.

The conclusion: I’d like people to take a look at examples of my work and tell me what they see (Talent? No talent?) [old web address here] (These images are optimized for the web, thumbnails are available first, and this shouldn’t take much of your time).

I accept the fact that I am not yet proficient with the top industry standards in 3D (3D Studio Max, Lightwave 5.0, or Alias PowerAnimator), though I am skilled with several other software packages. But the fact of the matter is, it’s only software. Software _doesn’t_ make you great nor talented. It’s how you use your mind, creativity, and tools at hand that make you great. I believe that any true computer graphics artist can show talent and promise with any program, whether it cost $20 or $20,000. I would have thought that the types of companies I applied to would understand that. Anything I don’t know, I’ll learn, and learn quickly (and I am currently trying to arrange to learn at least one of these ‘standards’).

I also do not have a college degree. I believe that genuine talent, ambition, enthusiasm, and creativity are more important than a sheet of paper (degree). Notice I said ‘genuine’. (I believe a solid college education is good for everyone, but a degree does not signify genuine talent). I haven’t graduated because I refuse to take 2 years of a foreign language that I’ll never use. Does that make me less of a computer graphics artist and less worthy?

Am I being overlooked because I don’t know these “standard” programs, or am I being overlooked because I am simply not that good?

Honest responses won’t kill me. This isn’t just some dream of mine and I refuse to quit. I’m going to make it (whether it’s tomorrow or next year). We learn from our mistakes, grow from them, and move on. I simply need to have an understanding of where people might think I’m at. I have a lot to learn, I know, but I’m no beginner and I’m not a passive person in my own life’s education.

I appreciate you reading this and I’d appreciate it more if you could check out some examples of my work and send me feedback. [And any job offers (for those who would like to reconsider ;) would be nice too.]

Gallery: [old web address]

You are welcome to check out the rest of my site as well.

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