GSG Speaks at SAIC Chicago about getting a Job in a Creative Industry.

October 22, 2009 - By 

Here is the speech I gave at SAIC Chicago about what to learn and how to get a job in a creative field. I do focus some of the presentation on Motion Designers, but most of it is relevant to most creative industries. The main idea is to think of yourself as a business. You need to turn yourself into a great product and then learn how to sell yourself.

The speech gets cut off toward the end, but I only cut off one question. As always, let me know what you think.

  • thanks for giving a very informative talk man! you are an inspiration to aspiring motion designers and creative people in general!

  • so what happens when you’re uncool? are you screwed?

  • Great job! Seemed like a tough crowd though.

  • Gorilla man…

    Is this the same presentation that was wrapped with an fxphd-lesson once ?

    • It’s a variation on it. It’s a bit more streamlined and thought out I think. What are your thoughts?

    • Just finished watching it and indeed, it’s a lot more focused, mostly for a student audience I reckon..

      Best tip I got out of it, as I’m working fulltime in studio, was ‘don’t be the best, be around the best’.

      That summed up a lot of feelings I’ve always had… I love to be around great artists.
      And the internet and sites like yours, make this a bit easier, although on a slighty different level than actual co-workers.

      Keep the quality content flowing !

  • Hey did you say your not at DK any more?

  • Hey Nick thanks for sharing – great set of information; easy to digest! Cheers…

  • nice speech man! I agreed wt what u said about how we should work wt clients, giving them a back up idea is a good way to show your own opinion to client, and im actually also treating my Creative Dir as my client, but the problem is almost every projects that we had, i had to follow what he wants. clients no big deal for me today i get a hard client tomorrow might be different, but with my own creative dir, i have to face him like every day man…have u ever had this kind of issue in your career life? im working in a music tv station by the way,… (kinda like MTV) .
    excuse my english coz it’s my second lang.

    thx man…

  • Really interesting presentation! You going to start selling trainings ? Can you tell a little bit more about that? I’m student now, sometimes your blog posts are more interesting than some lessons at school. By the way what is your vision about a course that is dealing with design and programming (flash programming)?

    • The videos on Nicks blog are 80% of the time more interesting than what I learn at school. But then again… it’s the only school in like a 200km radius that teaches computer graphics (high school that is.) AND it’s only their second year so can’t blame ’em.
      But I’m kinda starting to see Nick as a not-so-personal-but-still-personal mentor lol. Big thanks!

    • Thanks, Stef! I have some photoshop training on my site now and expect to have AE training and C4D training soon as well. Stay tuned.

      Robin: Thanks for that. I really appreciate those great words! Glad I can help!

  • Nick has nothing but excellent info. I work staff at a pretty well known motion studio and still always find time for Nick’s priceless insight. The man is making shit happen and cool shit I might add! keep up the great work Nick it’s fun to watch your success grow as a designer, best of luck dude !

  • So what web publishing company do you use for GSG Nick?

  • Great presentation Nick…
    quick question what is the font that you used during your presentation and all throughout your site? Haha I know random question

  • Hey Nick, i have a question.

    You say keep site design really simple, but I think mine is plain boring. Can you tell me what you like/dislike about my site, and how could it be improved? Thanks man!

    • Looks great to me Jake. What don’t you like about it. Anybody else have comments for Jake’s site?

    • Your site looks good to me man. Don’t feel like a simple site reflects poorly on your design skills or anything, it doesn’t.

      Your home page works really well. One idea is to put all your designs right there on the home page. Add the thumbnails under your name graphic.

      While navigating the site… your name/ID isn’t clearly present anywhere because it exists only on the home page. Just something to consider.

    • Thanks alot guys for the reply. Chris, ill take that into consideration, i think thats a great idea. Also thank you too Nick. I guess i got tired of looking at my site everytime i updated it lol

  • Very very nice. Wish I could have seen something like this when I was in school. Thanks Nick.

  • Nick don’t be so hard on yourself! haha

  • I’m not yet a motion graphics student, but stopped in because I am interested in going that direction and was inspired beyond words, man. I learned a lot from your presentation… really took the pompous asshole thing to heart. Thanks a lot.

  • Very inspirational as always, Nick!
    Keep up the great work!

  • Really informative but I do have some (hopefully constructive) criticism. You say ‘Uh’ and ‘Uhm’ a lot. I don’t mind so much but I’ve been taught to do my best to avoid doing that when publicly speaking because it really takes the reader out of it.

    You just seem to wing your speech freely which makes it much harder probably but yeah, I just noticed it so I thought I’d let you know.

  • you are a hunk =)

  • Good stuff, Nick. So many ‘Getting a Job’/’Set up your own studio’ type articles I see in mags/online are full of disappointingly obvious comments but I thought you raised some really interesting points.

  • u have legs 😀

  • Great stuff, I like your style…I enjoy your down to earth approach…

    I think I am going to send you a lavalier mike for xmas…But only if you’re good!….

    One question though, how do you monetize all that work you put in here?

    • Hi Serge! Yeah, I have to get a better mic setup for the speeches for sure.

      As for monetizing, I am starting to sell training products like the Photoshop for Photographers training, and I may have some other ones soon. But, I’m not too concerned about monetizing at the moment. I just want to build a community and help people rock this business. The money will come later… Maybe 🙂

  • Great talk Nick!
    I don’t think we’ve ever really had anyone in motion graphics speak at SAIC. We really enjoyed it, thanks again!

  • Please come to SCAD’s Inspire, hit up Justin tell him u want to come and speak!

  • Hey gorilla, I have a suggestion, unrelated to this post, but a suggestion nonetheless! Have you thought of a direct site to the blog? So to get there it’s not gsg/blog? Just wondering!

    • Yeah, the blog has really become a big part of the site lately. may make to directly to the blog and move my photo gallery to /photos or something like that. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Question: Let’s say a client asks you to do something that you don’t know how to do…

    Do you save face, say sure, look up how to do it later, or do you be honest and say uhhh, I don’t know how to do that.


    • Hey Blake, I’d say it really depends. When it comes down to one or two techniques you can easily learn I’d say yes… but when it’s really something different, like when someone would ask me to do a 3d character animation or something 😉 I’d be wise enough to say no. Or make sure you know someone you can hand the job over to.

    • Well put, Michiel. With every project, there will be some things that you don’t know exactly how to do. Embrace those challenges and lean as you go. But if they ask for something WAY out of your knowledge base, either have someone to call on for freelance that CAN do it, or say no. This is a time when having some great connections can find you the person that can help work on a job with you and then everybody is happy.

  • Nick, Great thoughts on photography as it relates to design. It’s strong motivation for me to buy a good SLR. Thanks for the great advice and tips on your site.

  • Thats some great advise about the length of the reel. Lots of people including me made a reel thinking oh man this isn’t long enough to be qualified as “good.” My old reel should have been 30 sec and the next one will only be 40.

  • Thanks you Nick for this conference, I’m French but I understand some things thanks to your mimes 🙂
    Keep it up to share us your experience Nick.

  • Great presentation! The Q&A session really opened it up. I also loved the idea of outsourcing the Web aspects.

  • Wow! Thank you Nick, i gained alot of insight from this presentation. I dont know anybody around me who’s into this stuff so being able to see this clip and have sort of an online motion design mentor is awesome… This cleared out alot of my confusions!

    Cant really find the words to describe the motivation i got after watching this, I’m now going to chop of 1m30s of my reel 😉


  • Hi, dude, this is a great one, thanks for the information, its really enlightening. Can u compress this video further, to a size of like 50 to 60 MB, thanks alot

  • Great video, i’ve made some notes from this! 🙂 In college (Holland) i dont never heard most of these tips! good job man, keep on going.

  • awesome tips man!
    i totally gonna follow the one in which you recomend not to be the best one (i wanna be modest, so i won’t bring that up again :P)

    U are the best one nick.
    keep on rocking man 😀

  • this door needs some WD40!

  • Hi my name its Luis Alvarez im from Mexico and its hard to find 3d professionals that it will help me improve my reel.

    Can you check it out and let me know how can i improve to be world class.


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