That's right! Sounds crazy don't it. Produce a minimum of 2 seconds of animation 6 out of every 7 days. But stay with me please there is logic to to my madness (I hope).
You see for all the great blogs, all the great books and all the great teachers, lecturers and mentors there is still one great reason why many who study animation never reach an employable standard of work. They simply don't produce enough animation, my new mantra has become, The Learning Of Animation Is In The Doing Of It.
As a student of animation how often do you go home at the end of the day not actually having done any animation? Courses have to meet criteria and jump through legislative hoops that mean they usually can't just have class after class of animating, and maybe that wouldn't be a good thing anyway. I'm talking about you taking on the responsibility to pick up the slack. If you have classes in a day that will involve you producing some animation then you're covered, but on other days you need do something about it.
Every single day there should be time set aside to practice the use of timing and spacing (maybe some posing too). These things are a wonderful never ending riddle and every moment you can find to explore them is precious. And why did I make it 6 days a week? Well just because I want you to know this is bloody serious people, yes I want your weekend time too! (grin)
Of course I can't accurately quantify how much this will improve your work or employability, but just think about it for a bit. Apply it to anything really. If you do something for at least a couple of hours every single day for a couple of years you will get better at it. Its so simple. You still need to learn new stuff of course, but just as much emphasis has to be put on putting things into practice and an unavoidable fact with animation is that this is going to take some time. All I'm asking is that you make the time.
There have been a few things that have led me to this idea, one was seeing how my own skills kicked up a notch as soon as I was back into production, another was watching what happened to some of my better students who graduated last year over the past few months. Unfortunately the economic crisis means that no matter how good they are, it will be a while before there are jobs around for them, those who have kept animating are continuing to learn and improve while others are sadly fading from view. And there was this youtube clip I stumbled across, its from a blog called Awake @ The Wheel, its a bit cheesy in a self help kind of way and he is talking about business ideas not animating. But the principle is universal I think. If you want to be an animator you have to start being a productive animator TODAY!
So on the rare occasions when you don't have some animation to do set by your teachers, what kinds of things might you animate I wonder. Well I might put some ideas in the comments of this post some time this weekend. Why don't you put some in there too :)