Facing the Truth

I wanna talk about the concept "do what you love." At this point in time, everyone has heard this phrase. But relatively few people actually understand why it's so powerful. It has less to do with doing things that are enjoyable, and more to do with facing the truth of who you are.

Being honest, brutally honest about who you are is no easy task. It takes years. And it takes even longer for some. Doing what you love is not about doing something that you like doing, like eating or sleeping (although it could be related to them), it's about being true to who you are. What do I mean by this? Well, for me it was about recognizing what I was predisposed to being good at and also what I'm obsessed with.

For instance, I have a great love for the sciences. I think that molecular chemistry, astronomy, and the laws of thermodynamics are fucking awesome. When I was in college, I almost exclusively took classes in the hard sciences. I took a year of chemistry, as much astronomy as I could, and my favorite class was physics. It was so deliciously cool that I thought I should get a degree in astrophysics just for the hell of it. And who knew, maybe it would lead to something else.


I couldn't run from who I was. My brain, for better or for worse, is intensely attracted to design, art and being creative in an emotional way. The idea of being a scientist is very cool to me, and I wanted to be one (in some small way), but I was passionate about art. And it was a passion that I did not choose.

Now, I could have ignored my predilection for design and animation. But I would not have been as happy. So, I gave in to art. As I often say, "I did not choose to be an artist." Seriously. If I had my way, I would be something else because being an artist is a fucking serious emotional roller-coaster. But for whatever genetic or environmental reasons, I am bound to art. And I love it. But we don't get to choose what we love.

So the lesson is to listen to yourself. Unhappy every Sunday night because you have to go to work in the morning? Well, listen to that. Feeling a sinking feeling when you're getting ready to create something? Listen to that. Every one is different, and the answers you seek will be nuanced. But there are answers. They are there all the time.

As one of my favorite people in the world says "Notice what you can't stop doing." The truth is that you already do the thing you love, even if you don't recognize it yet. It's there, in some small way. It might be hard to see, but it's there. And as my grandpa says, "We're always busy being ourselves." Yep. Truth.

Your bud,


Working and Feeling Good

This week was a straightforward week of working. I continued to steadily march forward with my 3 primary business objectives. Some work I can't show, other work has it's own blog already, and the other thing is less showable. So, yes, nothing to look at today. 

But that won't stop me from chatting with you for a bit. :)

I'd like to restate just how happy I've been, owning and working for my own business. My goodness. The level of satisfaction and calm that I possess absolutely dwarfs the last seven years of my career. My choice to objectively listen to what I want was the best thing I've ever done in my life. It sounds hyperbolic, but it's true. Sometimes I start to feel bad when I tell people how happy I am, because maybe it comes off as boastful. But to hell with that. I am happy. I think I've earned it.

The thing that would make me even happier would be to help or give confidence to others to go out and get what they need. A number of my closest friends have also gone out on their own, and they too seem much happier. Owning a business isn't for everyone, I know, but lots of people I know complain about working at a big company. All I can say is to listen to your heart. You may not like what it has to say, but it won't lie to you.

If anything, I'm the epitome of this idea. I was actually pretty happy with where I used to work. I was an artist working with great minds. I also happened to live in one of the nicest and safest cities in America. And to top it off, I had great friends and family all around me. And to top the top off, I made pretty good money. What could be wrong?

My heart. That damn heart of mine didn't just want something else, it needed it. It wasn't money that I wanted. It was a more fulfilled and satisfied type of happiness, specific to me. In my case, it meant I needed to do things my own way (among other things).

Of course, this is the same story I tell everyone. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. If you feel like something is amiss in your life, go out and fix it. Remember: good is the enemy of great. It takes time and effort to figure it out, but it's worth. It's so, so worth it.


And as a reminder, there are 2 blogs on this site. The one you're reading, which updates every Friday. And the other one is about my short film. That one one updates every Tuesday. So go read about Hunted if you haven't in a while. Because dude, there's always stuff to look at. Last Tuesday, for instance, I showed some screenshots of me working on the finale for the film. Cool stuff is happening!


The Important Things

Today I'm going to talk about some business and life pondering I did this week. But here's a quick update on what's been going on at FP...

This week I attended a motion graphics meetup in LA, and got to mingle with some cool people. Gmunk was the guest speaker, which was a lot of fun. Hope that the meetups keep happening! :)

I've also been taking a hard look at where Forma is going. Specifically, I'm going to be working on a new original project that can release sooner than later (so it will be shorter). As much as I like Hunted, the damn thing is too ambitious to release this year. Still happening, but I've got to get more content out there that doesn't suck. Here's an early concept of where my mind is wandering presently. Yes, this sucks at the moment, but hey...

I keep coming back to this idea of a short adventure that is stylized, brightly colored, and tells a simple story.

I keep coming back to this idea of a short adventure that is stylized, brightly colored, and tells a simple story.

What's Important in Life?

I'm always the first to admit that I'm an idiot. But the people around me have been great. My real fortune in life has been in the company I've kept. Somehow I've managed to find and befriend some really talented people. And I often say that "I'm just barely smart enough to surround myself with smart people." The point being that I owe much of my acquired insights and ideas to the good people I've been around.

Most recently I've been thinking about my trajectory as a freelancer. First of all, I'm happier than I've ever been. But that's not to say that there haven't been hard moments, and I expect even harder moments to come. The beginning of any new venture is plagued with difficulty. Sometimes it really doesn't feel like I'm going to be able to overcome this initial hump in the life of a business. Of course, this was all expected. It's why I planned for a long time before taking the plunge.

Nevertheless, I can't help but feel afraid sometimes. After all, what will happen if Forma Pictures fails to go anywhere? I'll have to get a regular art job again. But imagine the humiliation! What will my friends and colleagues think of me? I'll have failed!

But I was recently clued into a great insight by somebody (one of those great people I know): Going out on my own for a while will yield a better story than simply staying at my past job for another year. Freelancing is a new adventure, and more interesting than just doing what I had already been doing for years.

The ideal is to keep this train going for a long, long time. But in the event that I fail, I won't forget all the happiness I've had this past year. Happiness, for me, is worth more than pride, success, fame or acceptance by my peers. Of course I'm extremely ambitious, but I made a deal with myself... if I haven't achieved all my goals when I die, I still have to say that I enjoyed my life. And that's what it comes down to, discovering what it is that actually matters most. And for me, it's joy. The rest is incidental.



Be You

This week I'm gonna talk about my favorite subject in the world. But first, an update: I can't release some of the recent client work I've done, because it's still not official yet. I know I said I'd show it this week, but I can release it in like 3 days so it'll be live soon. As for this week, there's a cube dancing video at the end of this. :)

If you've spent even two minutes with me, then you know what I love to talk about: happiness. As far as I can tell, happiness is the only thing worth pursuing in life. If you're happy, truly happy, then you don't give a shit about anything else.

Quiting my day job was the best thing I've ever done. Ever. It's not like I was laying bricks before and now I finally get to do art. In fact, I was an artist who was able to work with some great artists everyday. But something was off. And there was a lot of bureaucracy I was dealing with. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, and it was eating me up inside.

Today, I'm still an artist, but the rules are different. And it feels good. Actually, it feels criminal to be enjoying it as much as I am. Every day is an opportunity to pursue my passions and experience existing. I've been thinking that life is like the world's best open world game. You can do anything in it. But unlike video games, in the real world you can actually go into any store, climb any mountain, and talk to whoever you want. There are endless speech choices and an infinite number of plots with boundless decision trees. Not to mention the scenery or the ultra HD resolution. And as for the personal and cultural expectations we place on ourselves? They're idiotic. There are no rules. We're all just making it up. Obviously don't harm anyone, but other than that...it really is boundless.

The point is that anything is possible. There are no excuses. You can do anything. You can become anything you want to become. There are people way less fortunate or able-bodied than I who are achieving ten times more than what I'm achieving. 

Yesterday I watched the movie Chef directed by Jon Favreau. The job situation the main character has in the beginning reminded me of the yucky stuff I had to deal with at companies. But then he goes out and starts to get what he wants...what he needs. I was really relating to this guy. But we all have this need, and it's different for all of us. I sure didn't like the particular system I was working in, and now I don't have to be in it. I get to choose more of what I work on, I get to collaborate with some killer artists, and most of all I get to take care of me. I've got a limited number of years left on Earth (if I'm lucky and don't get hit by a car), so I'm going to squeeze every drop of goodness out of it that I can.

So if you're feeling lost or even slightly frustrated, have heart and listen. That voice inside you is crying for a better life. It wants you to be you. And it will never stop pestering you, so you've got to listen to it because no one will do it for you. I learned that the hard way. That damn voice just wouldn't stop yearning for something better, so I had to go out and make a life for myself. I'm stumbling around just like everyone, but I'm doing it.

And let me tell you, the world is greener. Much, much greener.


The Life of a Freelance Artist

Artists have to make money. I wish I could just create whatever I wanted and not worry about finances, but I'm not there yet. Most of us are either working at a company earning a salary, or we're out hustling on our own, booking gigs, selling our art and earning a living that way. Right now, I'm doing the latter.

One of the things that's been most surprising to me since starting my business is how my perception of money has changed. I worked in an office for seven years. I earned steady income for that entire period, and I was never out of work. During those years, I didn't really think about money very often. As long as I had a job, everything was magically alright.

But now I think about money every day. It's what keeps this adventure going. So, I hustle, research, and strategize all the time. And when I sign contracts for paid work, it's a feeling like no other. Diving into the unknown can be terrifying, but completely invigorating. I choose to perceive this path as a series of opportunities to make my life the way I want it. And because of that, I feel very good just about every day.

It's important to note that I make every effort to keep my creative time free and clear of stress. It's hard to create when stressed. And if I can't create, I can't live. So, stress mitigation is kinda important. Luckily, I learned a great deal about stress management over the last seven years, and I'm still working to be better at it.

So, would I recommend this path to other artists? Well, it depends on what kind of person you are. It takes a lot of work, time, care, responsibility and discipline. That's just fine with me, because I relish that stuff. It does mean that every move I make matters, but that's why it's so great too. I get to be making the moves, not someone else.

If you're on the fence, think about it like this: you need to satisfy the priorities in your life that are specific to you. For me, this is what I want. I want control, responsibility, and opportunities for insane growth. It suits me, so I'm absolutely happier than I've ever been. But everyone has different intrinsic or situational needs. And they must satisfy them or risk being unhappy. And remember, good will always be the enemy of great (more on that here).

The best piece of advice I have is this: Listen to yourself. We're always subconsciously telling ourselves what we want in life. But do we have the courage to objectively listen, no matter what it says? It may not be easy to accept what we want. I wish I loved building rockets, but I don't so I won't be trying to work for NASA. And years ago, members of my family were upset with me that I didn't pursue a career as a dancer. They said I was throwing away my talent. But here's the deal: I didn't love it. If I had done it, I would have been throwing away my life, not my talent. So, I didn't do it.

I know that fear is the biggest de-motivator. Believe me, I've had my fair share of it. And it was because of fear that I resisted starting my own business. But when I remembered that the days of my life were falling away, like grains of sand, I knew I had to do it immediately. And I knew that I could fail, but I could fail just as easily not doing what I loved. In fact, we're more likely to fail at things that we don't love. And besides that, we can get a string of bad luck, no matter what we're doing. So, I implore you...do what you love.

It's worth it.

And now, for the dumbest yet in my super dumb series of dancing cube videos that I force myself to make quickly. They are not masterpieces, but they make me laugh while I'm making them, so that's something.

Your pal,