Monday, March 19, 2018

Reputation is Everything

Onegai shimasu (おねがい します)  🙇

Right now is Spring Break for my students an Several of them are at GDC this week. So I feel that this would be an appropriate time to talk about reputation.  The moment my students walk into my classroom (aka The Dojo) I tell them that their reputation begins at that moment. That they should not aspire to become a professional artist. They have to BE the professional artist. Their fellow students will be their first connection in their nascent network and they will be remembered by their actions and what they say long after graduation. Their reputation will precede them. This is especially important should any of their classmates be in a position to make or break hiring decisions. And they don't even have to be the hiring manager.

I found out last year how I got my first job at FASA Interactive/Virtual World in Chicago. I had submitted my portfolio and one of my images caught the eyes of the Art Director. I had photoshop'ed a mech in a photo of the desert near where I used to live. OK, I showed that I had technical know-how with artistic chops. The next thing he did was ask around the office about me. I was known there and folks said good things about me. I had no idea that my reputation went that far! After that he took a chance on me as an intern. And the rest is history. I still keep in contact with that AD, Dave McCoy, who became one of my mentors. This was my first lesson into having a good reputation. It didn't sink in until years later when I changing jobs and good things continued to be said about me by people I didn't know.

A bad reputation will go further and do some serious damage. I have seen people get black listed from the industry due to their behavior (these are few and extreme cases). Most of the time the bad reputation prevents them from fully succeeding.

Remember that you are just 2 people away from your next gig.
And the rule is simple: Don't be an asshole. It takes work and persistence to be a decent person yet it WILL pay off. After a while it becomes second nature to treat others the way you want to be treated. Just remember that all it takes is one really bad episode to the wrong person.

On the flip-side a good reputation will take you further than you can imagine.
And that will always be a Good Thing™  😉

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