Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do What You Love

Hello my friends!

I know it's crazy to hear from me right now. I've been MIA for the past 5 months due to the intensity of school. I have so much to catch you all up on. So many personal changes and life experiences I've been needing to share for a while. For today, let me tell you about what I got out of the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) and what I learned from watching the documentary Harmontown.

As most of you know, I am studying Animation and Game Design at Utah Valley University. Before I went to GDC at the beginning of March we were just starting production for our video game junior project. I worked hard. I drew up some really cool concept art and stylized visual effects. (A future blog post.) The thing was, I worked hard primarily because I was afraid what would happen if I didn't.

Up until GDC, I didn't really feel like myself. I just felt like I was there. I felt like I was someone I didn't know or recognize. Something changed in me fall of last year that took me a while to process and changed me. The only time I really felt like me was when I was drawing and doing stuff for our project. Even then, when I completed artwork and assets for our video game it was primarily out of fear.

Here I am with classmates and my professor.
So why was I afraid? I lost a sense of confidence. I was afraid that if my portfolio didn't look good that I would fail. I was afraid of not being able to get a job. I was afraid that I was wasting my time when I really needed to be pursuing a different path. I was afraid of being a starving artist and need to make sure everything is perfect. I was insecure and anxious.

When I went to GDC, I felt like I came to an emotional oasis. I felt secure. I felt belonging. I knew this was where I needed to be. I knew this was the industry I needed to work in. I felt alive. I felt excited. I felt like me. I knew I had a long way to go but this time I felt hope and not fear.

Before GDC, I did artwork because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't. After GDC, I did artwork because I loved doing it.

So what lesson did I learn from Dan Harmon, the creator of Community?

The documentary Harmontown follows Dan Harmon between seasons 3 and 5 of Community. NBC fired Dan Harmon for the 4th season and he was out of a job. Dan felt angry, discouraged and depressed. He decided to broadcast a podcast called Harmontown to work through his emotions. (Subsequently, Harmontown became a hit podcast.) Dan went on tour for live recordings of his podcast throughout the country. This was covered by the documentary.

Dan is alcoholic, sometimes a jerk, crude and blunt. He's completely honest with himself and everyone around him. He doesn't fool himself, he knows his weaknesses. He's a little lazy. He's sometimes a control freak. He's a genius. He's compassionate. He's inspiring. In short, Dan Harmon is Dan Harmon.

What I loved about Dan Harmon's story is simply that he does what he loves. He doesn't care about tv ratings for Community. He writes because he loves to write. Not many people watch Community but the people that do are the best kind of fans you could ever wish to have. The documentary shows that they are real people who have felt alone for being the "weird ones." When Dan Harmon meets these people he's humbled by how he touched their lives.

It made me realize that this blog may not be the most popular blog out there. It may never go viral or become extremely popular. But we have the best readers and we don't write to become popular but because we love it. Similarly, the video games I create in the future may not be hits. I may not make a lot of money from them. But I don't do what I do for money. I do what I do because I love it.

When an artist produces something because they love it you can feel it. It's the best work. It's the most influential. It's the real and authentic. I fall into putting off creating and doing work I love. I'll give that time to television and video games. I love it so why do I do it? Well, that's a different blog post. The point is, I think we should all do what we love. I don't mean doing something to help us relax but doing something to help us be. Put down the remote and write. Put down the controller and draw. Start creating plans for something you love when you walk out of the movie theatre. Give time to do something.



-Stephen

3 comments:

  1. Andrew John AirmetMay 13, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Wait, you're on a game development team?! That was always my dream growing up. Do you need any testers? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We will later in June actually. Did you like Mario Party? That's what our game is like.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Andrew John AirmetMay 13, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    I unlocked every single mini game in Mario Party 3...or was that 2? Not as much of a fan of the newer ones.

    ReplyDelete