The beauty about Los Angeles is that the minute you look at the city’s calendar, there is definitely something going on. This Saturday I attended the opening of Heather Cook’s exhibit, “1D 5L 2D 6L 3D 7L 4D 8L 5D 1L 6D 2L 7D 3L 8D 4L” at the Praz-Delavallade gallery.
Two series of woven work was presented throughout three rooms. You are first presented with Cook’s Shadow Weaves and then lead to see the Weaving Drafts. The compositions are made out of yarn. The yarn is painted with acrylic before being woven together, creating a picture in which the image lives within the canvas as opposed to on the surface.
While standing in front of one of the huge woven creations and letting myself drown in the complex graphic imagery created by the weave, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own line of work.
There is a certain presence of chance in all finished work. The process of planning followed by building will be inevitably altered by interference. This sort of distortion that happens in the creation of every project is why shaping an idea into form is addicting and forever drives a creative mind to design.
If you have a free afternoon, stop by the Praz-Delavallade
The Heather Cook exhibit will be displayed until June 16th.
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” won Best Picture and Best Director at the 90th Academy Award this year. I truly believe it was deserved. Although tackling some extremely serious subjects, del Toro’s fairy tale approach allowed me to immerse myself freely in today’s reality through magic. Del Toro’s use of fantastical worlds allows personal interpretation of his ideas; an approach based on invitation versus invasion. In a society where we are constantly and forcefully bombarded with strong opinionated media, I found an open ended fairy tale to be the most approachable commentary on our world’s reality today.
A fairy tale is for everyone
Today’s topics on inequality in race, sex and status are so constantly pounded into our heads that there is often a feeling of helplessness which, can be followed by feelings of rejection and shut down. By aggressively addressing the differences there seems to be a push towards exclusivity instead of inclusiveness, which in turn only causes a larger inequality gap. The Shape of Water does an extraordinary job at addressing some very serious issues in today’s society without feeling like a personal attack. Just like old fairy tales, this is a story for anyone and everyone. The tale is not catered to a specific group of individuals which, in my opinion is the only way to tackle inequality.
“A Director doesn’t dictate; a Director interprets“
I watched the film twice. The second time, a good friend took me to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, screening on February 22nd at the Landmark Theater on Pico (LA). It was wonderful to see the film again, this time in the presence to the Director and Writers. Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor lead a fun and warm Q&A after the screening.
Gulliermo speaks of his role as a Director and reminds the audience that “a director doesn’t dictate; a director interprets”. This was a phrase that really stood out to me. Dictating people into a way of thinking has never and will never have a successful effect. Again, the topic of inclusiveness versus exclusiveness. This is a thought process that rings true in so many aspects of our lives. Invading someone’s mindset versus inviting them for a stroll in your brain can have an immeasurable different outcome.
I managed to stop del Toro for a quick snapshot. As a “thank you”, I gave him a book about Russian fairy tales.
The Shape of Water definitely had an impact on me. It was gorgeous, the story was sweet but, what did it for me was the open ended magic. The need for every viewer’s opinion to complete a story. In a time of exclusive social movements, I felt included in something with everyone.
Guillermo, thank you for keeping fairy tales alive.
Creativity comes from the world around us. Dallas, talented 3D generalist proves it through his awesome work and inspiring lifestyle.
Dallas Holloway on his Los Angeles sailboat, Emily Lynn
After a couple of back to back Wednesday meetings, I got to detach myself from the ground beneath my feet. I went out on a sailing adventure with my good friend and colleague Dallas Holloway on the coast of San Pedro, CA. We talked design, shared freelance experience, and philosophized about the motion industry. All this while catching incredible views of dolphin packs, grey whale blows, seagull dives, and barking seals.
Throughout the years I’ve known Dallas, I have seen him seamlessly juggle his busy freelance life with family, friends, music projects, and sailing. His ability to never lose touch with the physical world around him is what makes him so great in the virtual worlds he creates.
Dallas is an extremely talented 3D artist with a passion for outer space and sailing. He freelances between Los Angeles and Wichita. He is one of the best artists I’ve ever worked with. He is fast, organized, has an answer for almost any 3D question — and if he doesn’t, he’ll figure it out in no time. Besides all this, he is also just a good person. If you ever have a chance of working with this guy, do it! Check out his work at dallasholloway.com
I got to steer the wheel. The happiness was out of control.
Dolphins! And check out that tuna splashing in the background.
By the time we got back, it was dark. Here’s a view of San Pedro Marina.
Many of the cover letters I receive don’t get forwarded because there simply isn’t enough information to forward. Originally posted for Prototypr Medium, I explain 6 key parts to a bare minimum but, complete cover letter.
Cover Letter : The bare minimum
☑ ️6 check marks for a complete cover letter
The digital age we’re living in is speeding everything up. We want our news in a headline, our education in bullet points, and our courtships in a swipe. Cover letters have gotten minimal too, a habit that doesn’t always work to our advantage. Candidates omit essential bits of information that could have been the very reason to get hired. This article will explain 6 key parts to a bare minimum but, complete cover letter.
Throughout my years of freelancing I have had the opportunity to create a wide professional network, which has occasionally positioned me into becoming a recruiter. I will often post jobs for fellow colleagues. Many of the cover letters I receive don’t get forwarded because there simply isn’t enough information to forward. Your cover letter doesn’t have to be an essay. Concise and straight to the point is often much appreciated. However, there are a few details you’d be crazy not mention.
If you are able to deliver a well-rounded picture of yourself in a few short paragraphs, your letter gets a much higher chance of being forwarded to the employer. If it turns out that you’re not the best fit for this particular job, the information you provide will still be stored for future opportunities. Think of your cover letter as an investment. If it’s well done, it will get you a good return in the future.
The 6 check marks
What is the bare minimum you need to include in a cover letter? Let’s pretend you are Sandra, writing to me, (El) about a job opportunity.
Here’s your check list:
1. Name who you are writing to.
2. What do you want?
3. Who are you?
4. Why you?
5. How do I reach you?
6. Sign your name.
Let’s start writing!
If there’s a name to write to, use it.
Before applying for a job, read the job post. The job post will often tell you who to address your letter to. By ignoring such a simple piece of information you’re telling me, you couldn’t be bothered reading my post thoroughly. Alarm rings! If you don’t care about the project’s needs, you’re probably not going to fulfill them either.
I get emails from designers who misspell my name, or leave it out all together. My name has TWO letters in it, how do you mess that up? Although this could be a shallow assumption, my first thought it that you might not care so much about this job. If you haven’t re-read your cover letter at least 3 times, you aren’t very dedicated to this job.
eg: Hi El,
☑ 1. Oh hi! You are showing me respect, I will respect you back by paying attention to you now.
QUICK! WHAT do you want from me?
Are you offering me a job? Are you selling something? Are you my great aunt’s long lost sister that wants to know what happened to my step-brother’s cat, Whiskers? Don’t keep me guessing! What do you want from me?!
People get their inboxes filled with mail daily. Get to the point quickly. In one sentence tell me: what do you want from me.
eg: I am writing to inquire about a possible job opportunity at Fantastic-Amazing-Company.
☑ 2 .Great! You are writing about something I am interested in. I’ll keep reading your letter.
Who are you? PROVE IT!
Now that I know what you want from me. Tell me about yourself. What’s your name? What do you do? Show me what you’re talking about.
eg: My name is Sandra. I graduated from Cool-School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Some of my most recent work includes social media graphics I designed and animated for Super-Film while working at A-Company, http://www.[linktoyourwork].com
☑ 3. Nice to meet you. I am starting to have a better picture of you and the type of work experience you’ve had. Looks like you might have the skills I am looking for. I’m going to keep reading.
Why you? What’s so special about you?
After everything you’ve told me about yourself, why are you a good fit for this job? Is it because you’ve already worked on a similar project? Is is because you are passionate about the topic? Is it because your style matches what I am looking for? What can you offer to the project?
☑ 4. Very good, looks like you do have the skills and dedication to this particular field I am focusing on. I would love to continue this conversation with you.
I want to learn more about you, how do I reach you?
I am intrigued by your cover letter. How do I learn more about you? Send me your website, email, phone number. This is where you get to choose how I see you. Point me to what best represents your work.
The internet is making it so easy to have all your work in one organized place. You have Behance, Cargo Collective, WordPress and a sea of other portfolio friendly websites. Pre-made templates are often free and easy to use so, you really have no excuse not to post your work up!
*remember, just because you don’t get this job, doesn’t mean I won’t keep you in mind for the next so, show me what you got!*
eg: My portfolio can be found at sandra-fab-work.com. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
☑ 5. I have your website, and I know what method of communication you prefer. I now have easy access to your contact info and can easily reach you in the future.
6. Sign your name
What’s your name?
Don’t leave without telling me your name. I don’t want to spend time going through your links trying to figure out if you prefer Sandee, Sandi, Sandie, Sandy or, are you actually an Alexandra???
☑ 6. Thank you! I now know how to address you in my reply.
We have a cover letter!
Here’s your compact bare minimum cover letter.
(1) Hi El,
(2) I am writing to inquire about a possible job opportunity at Fantastic-Amazing-Company.
(3) My name is Sandra. I graduated from Cool-School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Some of my most recent work includes social media graphics I designed and animated for Super-Film while working at A-Company, http://www.[linktoyourwork].com
(5) My portfolio can be found at sandra-fab-work.com. I can be reached by email at email@example.com
Now it’s up to you to add your personal bells and whistles — or, balloons or, dragons or, explosions or, an extremely boring monotonous tone, whatever screams “You”. It’s always a plus to add a little more personality and detail. Has your work been displayed somewhere? Have you won awards? Do you have an interesting hobby? Do you know another language?
You want your cover letter to leave a good and strong enough impression so, that the employer/recruiter will save your information for upcoming gigs. When you write a cover letter you are not just applying for that specific job, you are applying for a spot on a list for future considerations too.
Nonetheless, if you are writing your 12th cover letter today and you are all out of personality, by including the bare minimum you are giving yourself the fair chance of being acknowledged.
Good luck on seizing your opportunities!
* Don’t forget to read the job posts thoroughly. Employers may ask for specific information which overwrites anything written above.*
It was fun, but I’m not going to lie, it was also terrifying! It’s really weird to type in front of a live audience. I was constantly worried about misreading the questions, writing with typos, taking too long to answer! Phew!
Although the discussion was supposed to open to questions, I think I did take too long to type my answers, because the interview ran way over the 30 minute mark! Nonetheless, if you are still interested in catching up, you can still read the interview on VentureApphttps://va.chat/11kvw
Don’t forget to leave a clap if you enjoy the chat! 😃
Below is an abridged version of the interview. For the complete conversation visit the original Venture App discussion here: https://va.chat/11kvw
Hannah: Did you always know you would be in motion graphics? When you were a child, what did you think you’d end up being?
El: As a kid, I was all over the place. I wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor, a painter, a psychologist. As long as the profession included a brief case with papers and tools, I wanted it. I had no idea about motion graphics.
Hannah: So how did you end up getting involved in motion graphics?
El: I discovered motion at school. I was studying graphic design and ended up taking classes outside my major. I liked a bit of everything and was having a hard time focusing. When I realized that there was a profession where you can literally use everything from image to video to music, I was sold. Motion Graphics was for me.
Hannah: Would you consider yourself a creative person?
El: I would hope so! I am a designer after all. Then again, creativity has nothing to do with art. It’s more about problem solving, and coming up with alternate solutions regardless strict limitations.
Hannah: Do you think creativity is a requirement for your field?
El: Absolutely. It’s too competitive for someone who is not willing to be creative.
Hannah: In your opinion, can creativity be learned?
El: Yes. Although some of us might be innately more creative than others, creativity is definitely a skill that can be learned and developed. It’s a style of thought, and I think it’s something we never stop learning to do better.
Dallas: How have your travels affected your work El?
El: I think travel is a big part of my work. Traveling energizes me. It gives me a fresh perspective on life every time I return to my computer. It keeps my mood and health up, which contributes to productivity and high quality work.
Hannah: Do you think living in certain locations gives you an advantage when working in the field of motion graphics?
El: Yes. For sure. LA would be a good example. LA is the Mecca of motion graphics. Some of the greatest studios in the world are here. If you are looking to network and want to put your hands on some high end projects, this is the city to be in. However, with the increase of globalization, remote work opportunities and rapid technology improvement, it is becoming easier to work from all over the world.
Hannah: Only a small percentage of the motion graphics field is female. Why do you think your field is so male-dominated?
El: I think the male animator is a stereotype because of which many women aren’t interested in participating in fields like motion graphics. It sort of sounds like a dude’s club … which can have negative connotations in a women’s mind. Will they try to cut my pay? Are they going to give me the less interesting projects? Will I be taken seriously?
Luckily I think that today things are changing. The animation world has expanded and fields like motion graphics are slowly becoming more enticing for everyone. Women are encouraged to join a wider range of professional fields and are becoming more interested in participating in Motion graphics. As participation numbers grow, so will the respect for one another. We are learning to put our guards down and work together.
Hannah: What is it like working as a woman in this field?
El: It’s fun! Sometimes a little frustrating, at times a little disappointing. Overall however, I think it’s becoming better every day. Our society is slowly but surely moving towards a more inclusive atmosphere. We are starting to see inequality slowly shrink even in male dominated fields such as motion graphics. We still have ways to go, but the more women participate, the the faster we will be closing the gender gap we are still facing today.
Hannah: Have you encountered any particular struggles you think you wouldn’t have in your work life if you were male?
El: Definitely. Most of the struggles I experienced didn’t arise form malice, but from ignorance. Some people are not used to seeing women in my position.
The surprise of the unknown often causes uneasiness. I feel like I always need to work twice as hard to prove my value and I need to speak with twice the confidence to be listened to.
Hannah: What steps did you have to take to become a motion designer?
El: There are a million steps to any profession. In my case, once I discovered my interest in motion, I ended up interning at production company in Culver City called The Famous Group. I really enjoyed working there, and was a surrounded by an environment that was eager to teach me to do better. That internship gave me confidence to venture out into the entertainment industry as a freelance Motion Graphics artist.
Hannah: What is one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
El: I have quite a few projects that I think about a lot. One project that was particularly fun was an animation for an Amazon sponsored Reddit AMA.
I had less than a week to design and animate a fun quirky animation about flight attendants. I was pulling two jobs at once which made things extra hard. There’s something fun about rush projects. You need to figure out how to make something good even if you don’t have the time to do so. It’s like solving a puzzle. I am a huge fan of Reddit, so this was one of those projects that I was passionate about. When you admire the client you’re working with, your work inevitably comes out better.
Hannah: Who are some interesting people you’ve worked with in the entertainment industry?
El: I work with fascinating people every day. Clients, producers, actors, fellow designers. Every person that contributes to the creative world has something to give. You can learn from your boss just like you can learn from your intern. I think the entertainment industry brings together people that are thirsty for challenge and eager to brighten the world with their energy. It’s an incredible group of people. I’m glad I found it.
Hannah: What advice would you give somebody interested in joining the field of motion graphics?
El: Don’t get stuck in the computer. You are the one inputing information into the computer, not vice versa. Your work will flourish if you give yourself a chance to absorb the world around you. Go out, sit at a park, go hiking, watch a concert, pet a dog, and most importantly talk to other people. You are designing for the world around you, so get to know it.
Hannah: I read in one of your blog posts that your New Year’s resolution is to concentrate on your work/life balance and “being more conscientious of my time, and learning to be more productive by adapting a more fulfilling lifestyle.” Could you tell us a bit more about that?
El: I went on a 2 week trip to Scotland. When I got back, everyone seemed so stressed and angry. Friends and colleagues all seemed to be on edge. It made me realize what state of mind I must have been in before taking that break. When I was back at work I was full of positive energy and I was working twice as fast effortlessly
I had the same situation happen when I went on another trip a few months later. Only this time, those who went on the trip with me experienced the same surprise when they got back to LA. This made me realize that It wasn’t just me. It’s how humans are. Being happy and relaxed results in higher quality work. The more you work on yourself, the more you can give back to the world around you.
Hannah: Do you think your field is one particularly easy to get overworked in?
El: Yes. The entertainment industry is brutal. Unless you push back, it swallows you whole. Companies have no problem “saving money” by throwing staggering work amounts on a single person. Until you choose to live your own life, you will be asked to pull long nights, skip lunches and accept lower wages. It’s harsh and it took me a few years to understand how to respect my time and health
Hannah: What’s coming up for you in the future? Any interesting new projects or travels on the horizon?
El: Travels are always on the horizon! Although I haven’t quite figured out what my next destination will be just yet.
I’ve been taking notes on my professional experiences throughout the years. I think I’ll start writing a little more about what I learned in my career so far. I’ve been lucky to have met really wonderful people in the entertainment industry. I received support and priceless lessons along the way. I’d like to give back through teaching and telling stories about my own professional experiences.
Hannah: Ok, last question for today… How do we keep track of you? Website? Twitter?
El: I have a website at el-ogorodova.com and i TRY to use twitter when I remember to @e1ena29
Hannah: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, El!