Get Inside Chris Do's head...
If you don't already know who Chris Do is, you need to. He is the CEO of Blind, a studio which he founded 21 years ago that's still going strong today. He's also the creator of The Futur where he teaches MoGraphers like you how to be a creative entrepreneur. He has a TON of experience in the creative industry, and he's more than happy to share his wisdom with you.
Joey and Chris tackle some hard truths about the future of our industry, including why right now might not be the best time to start a studio. They also give you step by step instructions on how to land killer freelance gigs, and even tell you how to get hired at Blind. This interview is PACKED full of tactical, actionable advice that you can use right away.
Joey Korenman: Hello MoGraphers, Joey here and really fast, before we get into this episode with Chris Do, I have to ask you for a small favor. Our podcast is now on iTunes, and it would be the biggest solid ever, if you could rate and review our show. Hopefully a five star rating with a good review. I will owe you a high-five, and maybe a beer. And it really helps us spread the word about School of Motion. So I humbly ask you, if you dig the show, if you like what we talk about on this podcast, please take two minutes to rate and review it on iTunes. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. And now, onto the show.
This is the School of Motion Podcast. Come for the MoGraph, stay for the puns. This episode is a doozy. I'm just going to give it to you straight. I drop an F-bomb in this episode, and things get dark. Things get a little metaphysical at times, and basically we're going to go to some pretty weird places today. You're probably wondering why I'm giving you this disclaimer, and the reason is simple. Chris Do is on the podcast today.
If you're not familiar with Chris, he's the founder of Blind in Los Angeles. A studio that has been killing it since 1995. He's also founded a company called The Futur with no "e", which is his platform for teaching the business of design, which he's doing through livestreams, and podcasts, and an incredible Youtube channel, and a bunch of other venues. Chris's success is a product of his ridiculous work ethic, and his no BS approach to his craft, which, not surprisingly, has also led to some controversial statements coming out of his mouth.
But personally, I think Chris is a genius, and an amazing human being. He was gracious enough to take time to answer a ton of questions about the business of motion design. We get into the logistics and challenges of running a studio. We talk about some really great tricks to stand out in the freelance market, and we talk about some extremely important shifts in the MoGraph landscape that are going to affect all of us in the next decade. This is one of the most tactical actual episodes we've done so far, and I hope you get a ton of value out of it. And now, Chris Do.
Chris, dude, it's awesome to chat with you, thank you so much for taking time out of your ridiculously busy day to come on and shout with me man.
Chris Do: Absolutely, I'm thrilled to be here.
Joey Korenman: Right on. All right, so everyone listening is probably familiar with you. You've been in the motion design scene for a long time. Obviously the founder of Blind, and Blind's been an amazing studio for decades now. Now you're also doing a lot of really incredible stuff with The Futur, like doing design training and business training. I mean it's really pretty impressive, but most people, I think, knew you initially, as the founder, and the person running Blind.
Chris Do: Right.
Joey Korenman: One of the things that a lot of young designers, myself included when I was a young designer, one of the goals that they have is to one day open their own studio. It's almost cliché, you know you ask a 24 year old what they want to do-
Chris Do: It's a dream.
Joey Korenman: ... it's a dream. I want to open my own studio.
Chris Do: Yeah. Why not?
Joey Korenman: You've actually done it, and not only done it, but you've done something that I don't think a lot of people realize how hard it is, which is to keep the doors open for years and years and years.
Chris Do: Right.
Joey Korenman: So if a young 24-25 year old came up to you and said, "Mr. Do," I hope people call you that by the way, "Mr. Do-
Chris Do: I'd just rather them call me Chris, that's fine.
Joey Korenman: ... what up? You know I would love to open my own studio one day." And you know the reality of it. What would you tell them? What don't they know about having your own studio?
Chris Do: Okay. This is a great question to kind of open up the discussion, and hopefully I can be very clear and actionable on what I'm about to say, but this one's going to sound a little weird. I'm going to ask them first, "Why do you want to open up a studio? What are your motivations? What do you hope to accomplish? What are your goals?" I want to know a little bit about what they're trying to achieve, and what I found is if you ask people those kind of "why" questions, it makes them stop dead in their tracks. It makes them question, "What am I trying to do here? Is it about doing cool work, or because I want to grow a company, I want to manage a team? Or I want to do sales?" What is it about that idea of having your own business that is most appealing to you? So what do you think they would say? That 25 year old person? We could do a little role play if you want. [crosstalk 00:04:29].
Joey Korenman: I was just thinking that's a really good idea, right? I'll just answer the way I would have answered. When I was in my young 20s, right? I thought-
Chris Do: So where are you? You're out of school, and you've been out of school for a couple of years now, right?
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I've been working for a couple of years, and I'm looking. For me it was looking at companies like Buck and Eyeball and Shilo, and looking at the work they're doing, and saying, "I want to be doing that work with those clients, and have those kinds of people around me." And it seems like the way to do that, is to open a studio, and of course, I'd like to eventually make more than minimum wage.
Chris Do: Okay, so there's two things there. One, let's talk about the money that you get paid. If you're a freelancer, you're going to make a lot more than minimum wage, and we need to be clear about that. So very typical rates in Los Angeles, and I assume New York is very similar, if not a little bit higher than LA., is if you're starting out, you can expect to do, probably on the low end about $250 a day, which is a little bit more than $30 an hour, for an eight hour day. All the way on up to $750 a day. That's really the range. If you've been in the industry for, I would somewhere between 5-10 years, you hustle, you're really pro, you get the work done, you're easy to work with, and you're a good communicator. You're going to be on the top end of that pretty quickly.
And so you can, in about every three or four months, level up, and just add 50 bucks to your rate. So you might start out at $250, and then you're going to go to three, and then before the end of the year you might be up to $400-450. And you're going to stay there for a little while, and then you're going to get more experience, and then you keep changing your rate.
Joey Korenman: I can say too that I'm really familiar with Boston, and the rates are very similar there.
Chris Do: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: I've heard too, depending on how specialized you get, $750 is not the ceiling either, if you become like-
Chris Do: It's not the ceiling at all.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: Not at all, because there are particle specialists who do some really crazy destructive things with code. Those guys are going to get into the $1200-$2000 range.
Joey Korenman: Got it. And do you think that, I want to come back to this too, but I'm really fascinated by it. Do you think that those guys are or girls, they're probably working less days because they're talent, that skill that they're good at, isn't needed all the time?
Chris Do: Yeah. So, the thing about being a specialist, is there are a few people who do what you do, and it's great. You kind of own that category. So when they need that thing, they call you, and you're a person that's in demand. Now that's a double edged sword, because when nobody needs that thing, you're just sitting around doing nothing. And I know somebody like that, who's super talented, super smart guy, helped us out in a couple of projects, get us out of a whole. And he charged us a lot of money, it was great, and he did great work. But then we only needed that thing like once a year, and then sometimes only once every two years. So that is the problem there.
Joey Korenman: Gotcha. All right so part of the answer is that if money is part of your equation for wanting to open your own studio, it's not a great argument. Unless, I'm assuming, your goal is to make $300,000-$400,000 a year, something that's probably insanely difficult to do as a freelancer, but might be possible if you become a really big studio, and you're the owner.
Chris Do: Right, okay.
Joey Korenman: But aside from the money argument, you know, there's that argument, "Well I want to be able to take on cool jobs, and have a cool team, and be able to lead great projects. And how else would I do that, if I don't have my own studio?"
Chris Do: Okay, so there's a couple ... This is a bundled question that's got lots of parts and pieces, so we want to unpack all that stuff.
Joey Korenman: Sure.
Chris Do: So to be really clear about this okay? So here's the thing, one is you want to lead people. So, if you're 25 years old, there's a good chance you haven't been in that kind of role very often, and there's a lot of skills that you need to learn. If you think about it, when you're talking to another artist, how do you give them direction that doesn't crush their creative spirit, yet brings the best of them out? That's a very tough skill to learn. This is not something that you typically learn in school, and you're going to want to be around a really good mentor to show you the ropes.
Because there are people who are very prescriptive, like they say, "Make that bigger by two percent," and then, "Wait, actually just scoot over and let me ... Okay here this is what I mean." And then you just sit there and think, "What am I doing here? I'm just [wrists 00:08:44] on this job, and you're not getting the most out of me." And then what happens is creatively you start to shut down. So that person brought you in at 100%, and you walk away giving 60%, and then you wind up phoning it in.
Now there are a few leaders, and there's a difference between a manager and a leader, and I don't want to get into the philosophical differences. But if you're a great leader and you want to direct and help people actually realize their strengths, that's a really difficult skill. So let's put that one on the shelf for a second, okay. That's about leading teams. Now we do realize that if you freelance, as high as you can climb up in that chain, there's going to be a ceiling. And let's just say in a generous market, it's between $200,000-$300,000. And there will be a ceiling, because you just, you can't work more days, and just the rates, you know, given how supply and demand work, it's going to top out around a quarter of a million dollars, I think, if you're working a lot.
So if you want to go beyond that, you want to make more money, then you have to learn how to multiply your efforts right? That means that you've got to be able to be the person that goes out and procures new work, that's more work than a single person can do. And then to disseminate that work to two or three people to help you do it. Now there are some risks involved in that, in that sometimes you underbid the project. Sometimes the clients don't pay you, and that's one thing I want to caution people who want to start a business, just to be aware of, just so you know. It's going to happen. You don't know when it's going to happen, but there aren't always ethical business people out there. Somebody's like, doesn't like your work, and is indignant about it.
I have a friend who completed a web project and did like four versions of it, and just did everything he could to go above and beyond. At the end of the day, his client's like, "I want a refund. I don't think I should have to pay for this." And it's totally subjective and arbitrary, and that's what they say. So that was really tough for him, and it crushed his soul. These are the kinds of conversations you need to be prepared for. And how do you prepare for these kinds of things? So my recommendation to that 25 year old is, see if you can't be in a position while you're freelancing, or on a staff somewhere, where somebody in that company takes a liking to you, and you express to them, "I really want to help this organization grow. I would love to be in some of the client calls. I have some questions, like could we spend ten minutes a week, I can ask you a few questions. Like when you directed us to do this? What were you thinking? What did the client say?" Let's be smart, and let's plan for the next step.
So here's the thing, if you look at you as a ... Let's say you're a sprinter, and I always kind of make this analogy, as a freelancer you're a sprinter, and you're good at going short distances really fast. But running a company's a marathon, and it takes a whole different skill set, different muscle groups, and you'll see it in the body types of sprinters versus marathon runners, right? Sprinters are very muscular, they have very powerful legs, as opposed to people who run marathons, they're very lean. They're almost like, I don't know, like anorexic when you look at them. That's how they ... So it's a whole different mindset.
So I would say, if today's your day, and you want to go run a marathon, let's plan. Let's train. Let's go three miles first, and then five miles, and then keep adding to that until you're ready. So, let's pull it back to design and animation right? You need to learn certain skills. You need to learn how to manage people, how to go out and get work. You need to know how to bid. You need to know how to delegate and let go of certain tasks, because if you're the guy who's on the box 100% of the time, you're not able to grow the company. You're not able to be the face of the company.
So those are all things that people don't think about. They think about the glory. "I get to direct teams and that sounds really exciting. I'm going to make a million dollars, and oh I'm going to get Coca-cola and Nike as a client." They only look at the positives. And that's great, that's a healthy idea, but let's be realistic and grounded. Now you've got to deal with overhead. You've got to deal with people who don't work out. People who come in with the best of intentions. They're really trying really hard, but they just don't cut it. It's easy to fire people who don't try, who are not being honest, but the people who're really trying, giving you their 100%, but it's just not good enough ... Do you like to fire people? Do you like to tell people this is not going to work out? Those are the things you need to be aware of.
Joey Korenman: Okay, so you just said like 50 things, that were all ... I would love to dig into all of them, but I want to talk about two. One thing you said, which is a really great tip, and I think I just heard this, or I read this in probably a Tim Ferris book, or something like that. There's a great tip, if you're at a studio, or even at like an ad agency or something like that. You're a motion designer at the beginning of your career, a cool little hack you can do, because some places don't want you sitting in on like client phone calls. They just kind of don't do that. But if you offer to take notes, they almost always say yes. And it's a really great way to see, kind of behind the kimono, because I think you're a hundred percent right Chris, when you transition from being an operator in a business, to a business operator, there are a hundred things that you don't know even exists, that all of a sudden fall on your shoulders.
The other thing that I wanted to talk to you about, and this is something that came up in a guest post I ... I just wrote a guest post for Motionographer, and I heard from a lot of people in the industry, in the process of writing that. One of the things that came up was, the idea that everyone thinks they want to run a business, but in their head, they're imagining themselves still designing and still animating, and doing the thing they love, while having their own business. It seems like your role has shifted a lot, you know? How much of the actual designing and making are you doing these days versus running a business?
Chris Do: Right. That's a great question, and I'm going to just try to clear the air on this, and first I want to say, this is just how I do it. I know people who own companies who do it very differently than I do. So this is just my way of doing it. I've been a person from the very beginning, who wanted to go out and get work, and once I got the work, I wanted to bring in people to help me. Because it's stressful doing the projects by yourself, and I also knew at that time ... I'm not saying I'm humble, but I was just realistic about it, that I'm not the best person at doing whatever, fill in the blank. So I would bring in designers from day one, because people are surprised, and they just think, oh I've been on the machine, and now like two years, five years into it, now I'm starting to delegate the work. I just like the idea of hustling, and figuring out a client problem, and then finding a great solution for it. And the solution, most of the time was not me.
Now I was a really good designer, but I knew that I could bring in somebody, who was going to give me 85% there, but only cost 20% of what the client was paying me. Then through either my art direction, or just sitting on it after they were done working on it, I would just put that little polish on it, and say okay, there, that meets my level of work and quality, and I can give this to the client. So the client pays you a thousand bucks to do something, and it cost you $200 to make it, you're going to sit on $800 profit. And the idea of growing a business, the idea about being an entrepreneur, is you have to start thinking about not doing the work yourself, but managing a team to do the work at your level of quality. And that's a big mind-shift difference, okay?
Joey Korenman: Yeah, it definitely is. That's really good advice, actually, and it's something that ... You know I ran a studio for four years in Boston, and that was a huge struggle for me, getting to the point where I was comfortable letting someone do an animation that I thought was maybe like 10% less cool than I would have done it maybe? And saying, that's okay, because they're eight years younger than me. That's the level they should be at, and I should be able to say the right thing to them, to get them to that next level. It was very challenging, and not something I really was prepared for. I wish I'd had Chris Do in my corner when I did that.
So let me ask you this too, here's another thing that's really fascinating to me about what studios are doing these days, and is just business reality. The business cycle, the pace of business cycles is so fast now. So you constantly have to be thinking about what do I need to do to keep the doors open. I've noticed Blind recently, has made a pretty big shift in the way you're positioning the studio. It seems almost more like you're branding yourself as an agency. And on top of that you are diversifying your brand, because you've started The Futur, which is sort of an online presence for training, and you've created this really cool private mastermind group kind of thing. I'm curious, what's the motivation behind that stuff, specifically the Blind thing.
Chris Do: Okay.
Joey Korenman: Is you know ... And I'll tell you, when I hear about studios doing that, the obvious reason that I think of is because, well you understand that if you're not in that role, there's always a middle man, between you and the client. There's an agency, and if you can remove that middle man, you get more control. You, obviously, get a bigger piece of the budget, and maybe less red tape to chop through when you're going through job. Is that the reason to do it?
Chris Do: Yeah, there's a couple of reasons, and I'm going to give you the answer the way that I feel it, and let's see if it's the answer you're looking for okay?
Joey Korenman: Sure.
Chris Do: I feel like one of the reasons why you need to delegate and manage people and not do the work, if you're staring down, who's looking up? If you're looking at the screen, and the keyboard, and the mouse, who's looking out on the horizon to see what kind of things that are going to disrupt what's going on. And when you do a SWOT analysis, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats analysis on any business, the two things that are going to hurt you are cultural shifts and technological shifts. And we're seeing both happening right now.
Okay, so I remember having these kinds of conversations with my staff at the highest level. You know, everybody, all hands on deck, let's have a talk about this thing, a discussion. So this is like four or five years ago, and I'm saying, look, I'm noticing a trend, and the trend says that we are consuming less TV content, and we're able to skip commercials, and we're also streaming and downloading illegal stuff all over the place. I'm talking about, not me specifically, but society.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Like what's going on? So if we're in the business of making commercials, and we ourselves do not watch commercials anymore, how long do you think this is going to last? And of course, there's a lot of people in that period in time, was like, "You're just being an alarmist, it's not going to happen. Don't worry about it." And don't worry about it ... they worried themselves out, or didn't worry about themselves out the door, because I'm like, I need people who can understand, even if you don't totally comprehend what I'm saying, just believe that I as a person who's looking out towards the horizon, know that there are things coming. I could be wrong, but I need you guys to get on board. We're not a big slow moving ship, but we think like that. We need to be facile. We need to kind of be able to cut through the water as the currents change. There's no point in swimming against the tide, all right? A bunch of mixed metaphors in there.
So, we see that there's a change, and what's happening. So you can look at the kinds of jobs Joey, and I don't know if you still do this kind of work. I don't think you do, but you can see the kinds of jobs are not as creative. There are not as many of them, and the budgets are getting lower and lower. And then you look at what's happening too. So brands have become very savvy. They too have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars towards agencies, and doing media buy. So they get really wise, and they say, "You know? Maybe we should just hire and buy our own media. And why do we only have one agency to run this. Why don't we just hire the best agency people, bring them on board as brand managers, brand directors, and then have them manage a bunch of agencies?" So essentially, the clients, the brands, have turned ad agencies into big design studios. So now they no longer control the entire account. They no longer get the media buy, which is where they're making most of the money.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: To give your audience some context here, now this information is a little bit old, but American Express used to spend $500 million in media buy alone per year. And what the agencies were getting is a negotiated rate, maybe it was 10% of the media buy. So when they get $500 million and they sell that media, they're going to get 5% of that, what's my math? Is that $50 million?
Joey Korenman: That'd be 10% yeah. 10% would be $50 million.
Chris Do: So they get $50 million a year, just for buying media. So that's why when they ... And what do you need to sell media? You need a cool creative spot, right?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: So, if I make $50 million on that, and my incentivize to sell the spot and make the commercial, for as little money as possible, so I can get the media buy.
Joey Korenman: You know I've heard that before, and I can't remember where, but I definitely heard that the ad agency model doesn't work the way most people think it does. The creative-
Chris Do: They don't understand.
Joey Korenman: ... is almost just like the cherry on top. You know?
Chris Do: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: That is, okay, so we have 20 ads to run in print. They're blank pages right now, and we have two hours worth of commercials to buy, right, for our client. Well we need to sell something. So we're going to make ... Okay, so here's a strategy, and then we get companies to bid on it, and the companies come in at $800,000 to do these amazing commercials right, a commercial campaign. And then the client balks at the number and is like, "No, that's too much. We don't want to buy that." So they're held up on buying that media, because they have nothing to sell to the client. So their incentivize actually to bring the cost in to get the clients to approve it. That's the birth of three-way bidding, and hammering vendors down, and they don't care. They used to care, they don't care anymore, because you also have to think their livelihoods are on the line too. You know?
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Brands move from agency to agency every three to five years. The average lifetime of an agency creative person, is probably like a year and a half to two years when the account is gone, they lay off entire buildings. Hundreds of people lose their job, and they know that.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. I've seen that time and time again.
Chris Do: So they're all planning for the next thing, right? It happens all the time, this is the reality of it. And so what happens is there's this thing, it's like downward pressure right? You can call it a trickle-down effect, we can call it whatever you want, what happens to your client is going to happen to you, but it's going to be five times, ten times as worse. So we're seeing all these things kind of happening. The other thing now is agencies have lost the ability to control the entire account, so their accounts have gotten smaller. They've lost the media buy, now they have to learn how to make commercials, and videos, and print, and all that kind of marketing stuff, at a profit. Imagine that. So now they can't just make a small mark-up on it, because they can't sustain. These buildings are massive. The salaries are gigantic, okay? The overhead is there, so what are they doing? They're building their own in-house motion design studios and production companies.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, so one of our alumni actually brought this up. His name's Christian Prato, and he asked, you know there is definitely a trend of not just ad agencies either, but like product companies. I recently talked to a motion designer who works for Airbnb. They're building their own in house teams to do this stuff.
Chris Do: Everybody is.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, so did that affect Blind's bottom line or did you just kind of see, okay this is coming down the pipe, we need to get in front of this?
Chris Do: Oh no, no. Without a doubt, without a doubt. So our highest grossing year was 2007, before the market bottomed out.
Joey Korenman: Wow.
Chris Do: That year we almost billed $7 million, we were really close. That's the most I've ever billed, and it's never been there again. And we see that okay, there was this whole crash of the market that kind of ... All that mortgage stuff that was happening, right? Then you see the cultural things happening in terms of how we consume media. I know that more than half our people don't have any kind of standard set-top box. Everything is streamed through Netflix, Hulu, or whatever else they get it from. So you're seeing all these changes in culture, and you have to be smart enough to say, well, what we do in that kind of small to medium agents, design studios stuff, servicing agencies, it's not going to be around. So definitely it's affecting our bottom line.
So we're just scrambling, and we're thinking okay, if the commercial, the 30 second spot is going away that we knew it, what are we going to do? So we tried a lot of different things, and something that I don't talk enough about, I'm going to try to do this now, is we tried a lot of things and failed. Right? We tried to create another company to do explainer videos, because you know, it's still a story. It's still motion. It's still video. Let's go do it and help explain products and services, and that's kind of big. And we got nothing. When we walked in with our Blind reel, and presented to some of these companies, "Oh, we don't need that. That's too much. That's too expensive. We can tell." But we didn't even get to talk. And I understand that, because we've been positioned, and we do work at the highest level. So they look at it, and they're like oh that's a $400,000 spot. It's got to be, we have 20. And then the problem too was, with the staff that I had, how could we produce a video for $20,000 bucks, when we used to do for $250,000.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: We don't even understand how to produce it for that. So it required a major rethinking and re-engineering of the entire company, and it did not happen overnight. So we tried that, and we tried a couple other experiments, and it just didn't work. We even created another brand, to help separate Blind from this other thing, because we're thinking if we walk in as Blind, they're going to freak out and have sticker shock. And we don't even get into having a conversation about how to be smart about solving a problem.
Joey Korenman: So let me ask you this Chris, because it's interesting. There's, you know, history is cyclical, and when I started my career, it was kind of right at the beginning of After Effects and Photoshop starting to overtake like Flame and Smoke as the software-
Chris Do: What year was this?
Joey Korenman: I really got into motion design in like 2003-2004.
Chris Do: Okay.
Joey Korenman: And so the biggest studios in Boston at the time, which were really just post production houses, had Flames, and Fire, and Smoke, and I think there might have been a Henry or something like that. And by the way, I guarantee, there's people listening right now, who don't know what those things are. They're software/hardware combos, that you used to-
Chris Do: It's a turnkey box.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, you would buy it from Autodesk, and they'd cost hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes.
Chris Do: I have one of those.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, that's amazing, and how much is the operator that uses that thing, that's the thing.
Chris Do: Pretty expensive.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and when all of a sudden, clients finally, something snapped, and they realized, "Oh I don't need that. I don't need to pay $1500 an hour, or whatever the rate was, to use the Flame. I can get a good After Effects artist, get the exact same thing." A bunch of companies closed, really quickly, so now I think there's something similar happening, where my studio in Boston, we had a big fancy office, right in the middle of Boston, so we could service the ad agencies, and that model died. Because ad agencies are now building their own in-house departments, and they're starting to realize that, you know what, I don't need a Starbucks literally right downstairs from the After Effects artist who's animating stuff. So how have you managed to weather those changes? Have you been really careful with your overhead, and with budgeting and stuff like that?
Chris Do: A really great question. So, if you look up our 20 plus year span in business, we've had to do three or four pivots. When we first got into the business, we were doing mostly animated titles right? That's what I knew how to do. I was a good graphic designer, and that's the next evolution. And then we tried to do full animated spots, and then animated spots with live action. Then the last thing we did was just all live action. And it's kind of weird, the evolution, so each time you'd make that jump ... Now people that are listening to this today, who have no context of that, it's like that's the way it's always been right? And it's like, no, it wasn't always like that. You had to prove yourself at each one of these turns, and not everybody made that divide. They weren't able to jump over that curb.
But the biggest thing that we've had to address right now, is people don't really need what we do, in terms of like who we've typically sold to. So we have to move towards working with brands directly. And we just ... It's called client direct. You have to go to client direct. You have to work with them. Now it requires a whole new set of skills that we didn't have before, and I wasn't confident doing that, until I learned some things. I'm like, you know what? The thing that the agency did, I think I can actually do. I think I can craft the strategy. I can write the messaging, and I can conceptualize the campaign, and then we'll execute it.
So you see there were like four or five things that we needed to learn how to do, that we had to add on top of what we do. So we do account management. We do strategy, and video is only one of the things that we actually make for the client. So the client comes to us and we chat and we come up with an idea. The idea could be, let's do an outdoor thing, like an installation. It has nothing to do with video, because if that's what's most appropriate for their clients, and their target market, then that's what we're going to do. So now we have to, basically, there's a race to the client. And I'm doing air quotes like you can see them. It's a "race to the client". Basically the agency, and the only correction I wanted to say with you, is that instead of saying they're building studios in-house. It's they built it. And they're not figuring it out, they've figured it out.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: They've essentially cut us out of the process, that's why we don't see the bids we used to. My rep is here from New York. She was here yesterday, and she came and was like, "Chris they're very proud to show me around their studio. It's a hundred-thousand square foot facility." A hundred-thousand square feet, Blind with all the creative stuff and we're highly specialized, we're in a 12,000 square foot building. So imagine 10 Blinds within an agency, just to service them.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: So the idea of the independent small to medium sized motion design studio, I don't know if the future for that is bright. Now I don't-
Joey Korenman: And let me ask you this-
Chris Do: Go ahead.
Joey Korenman: Because I've kind of ... And I want to get into this in a minute too. I was freelancing when that trend started, and for freelancers, it was a great time to be a freelancer, obviously for a studio, bad time to be a studio. But even then, once these ad agencies built these huge studios and staffed them with motion designers, there was still a little bit of ... The term is "star-fucking", but when there's an in-house explainer video, or something that isn't really sexy, they do it in-house. When they have a budget, and it's going to go on TV and be cool, they would still go out of house. They'd still go to Blind or Stardust or someone like that. Is that going away too?
Chris Do: I think it is, because the Blinds and the Stardusts or Buck are already kind of in-house now. What happened to those companies when they don't do well? What happens to the creative directors and the art directors when they cut their staff in half? Well where do those people go? They didn't disappear into a hole. They went somewhere else. I literally had this conversation with this guy this morning. A business owner in the same kind of space that we're in. He's in New York. He told me he was going to go meet the creative director at one of these big corporate companies, and he's like, "Oh the guy's portfolio's going to be schlocky and whatever." He looks at it and was like, "It's blow-away amazing." Well, where'd that guy come from? Well he came from all these people who are displaced now.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Right? Because there's a handful of owners, and then there's a much bigger pool of talent from creative directors, art directors, and designers and animators. Where the heck did they go? They went in-house. They go where the money goes. So what happens is, a lot of my senior and experienced designers and animators, I can't book anymore, because they're over at 72 and sunny. And they're eating sushi over there, and getting paid whatever, and that's what they do.
Joey Korenman: I heard a rumor actually, that that was actually becoming a big problem, that companies like Amazon and Apple and Uber, you know super heavily funded, cash rich companies, that need tons of motion designers now, they'll pay motion designers whatever they want. And studios like Blind that have to make a profit on motion design, now can't find freelancers.
Chris Do: Yep. It's just an economics thing right? Let's just be real about this. When Apple hires [Shy Day 00:33:04] or what is that called? Media Arts Lab? MAL? They're paying a giant piece of overhead, part of the media buy, and then they outsource it to companies like ours to do the work. So whatever they're paying for the actual talent, is like 10 times what they would, if they were to pay that person directly.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Okay, so if I'm paying that person $500 a day, somewhere between probably $500-$3000 a day in that spread, they're still out ahead. So it's an economics play. So if they bring them in, and they can manage it internally, and do the level work that they've been expecting, or come to get used to at that same level, then they're actually saving money. So it's stupid for a person who's sitting there like, "You know I could go to work for Blind, or I could go to Apple, the mothership, and get paid four times as much, and sit here and have meals catered, and massages and whatever else these startups, or these tech companies can offer me. Why would I do that?" I mean there is a drawback. The drawback is you only do Apple work.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: And that's cool, until it's not cool anymore. The other thing too, is that Apple and these kind of companies, the reason why they bring it in, it's not just because of economics, it's because of controlling leaks. Like when there's a new keynote, and they have to work on this weeks or months in advance. There's this animation and product announcement, they can't afford for this to go outside their halls, so it's all like super tight security. So that's another reason why they would bring you in house. So, this is not about painting the doom and gloom picture for the people who are listening to this podcast, it's about, just be smart about where the opportunities are, and a lot of people are like, "Well I'll change the world." And like, good luck with that.
You know, I say look for the opportunities, and be very agile and be flexible. So you see an opportunity, try it out. Don't over commit to it. See if it works for you. The only thing I can offer these people, and I'm thankful that I still have some really great designers who are working for me on staff, is because they like the variety. They like the culture. They like what it is that we do, and money is not the end all and be all to them, because I cannot compete financially. I'm not going to even beat around the bush here. Some of these people pay their interns more than we pay our own staff of senior designers.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: I had a friend who got picked up by Yahoo, and they're paying their interns $75,000 a year.
Joey Korenman: That's incredible.
Chris Do: Don't try to process that. So I'm like what if you're a designer, what do you get paid? What if you're like an art director? Oh my God.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I've talked to some people who've worked at Google, and you can imagine, money is just not an object there. If they need a motion designer, they'll pay the best one they can whatever they ask for.
Chris Do: They spend more money throwing a lunch event than we make all year, so let's just process that, okay?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: Let's be real.
Joey Korenman: So here's what I'm getting from you. To go out and start a brand new motion design studio right now, it's a very difficult time to do that, unless ... And tell me what you think about this. At the very small size, the small end, you know? Like the three, four person studio where you can bill a million bucks a year, or a little under that, and still everyone gets paid decently well, and you can keep the lights on. That is probably still possible, but to grow to like a 4-5 million dollar a year studio, you're starting to compete with your own clients basically.
Chris Do: Yeah. I mean you have to kind of think about who are you working with, right? Who is your client? Is it client direct, or is it for an agency? I think the model of working for the agency is just becoming very, very tricky. I don't care at what price point you do it for anymore. At a certain point, it becomes like a glorified version of 99 designs, meaning that we're all competing and pitching for super low paying work.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: So the advice I would give to anybody that wants to go out and start their own motion design studio, is this, is to keep your overhead really low, okay?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: Don't try to get that waterfront office with the corner office and super fancy furniture and all that kind of ... You don't need any of that. Just work from home. If you've got a cool loft, that's awesome. Cut half of it, build it the way you want. Make the ultimate man-cave, but just so that when you're not working you still have a pretty cool place, you can chill out in. And the thing is to keep your runway low because I had mentioned this, and I'll keep saying this. You need to be really agile. You need to shift when things shift, and there's new emerging opportunities and industries. Well, if you're agile, you can jump into it. You can make an investment, because you're not moving month to month.
Now I do coach a lot of people within my pro-group right? And a lot of those people, I ask them, "What's your financial runway?" First of all, they don't even know what that means, but once they figure it out, they say, "You know, like this month." If I don't make enough money this month, I'm in the red, and I'm upside down. And that's a scary place to operate out of, because almost all of your decisions now, are going to be motivated by, "Can I pay rent? Can I eat? Are my kids going to still be in school, because I can't afford to put them through this school anymore." That means you wind up accepting, and taking on super-risky, super-sketchy jobs, that you know in your heart it's wrong. And then you start doing it, and you get burned, and you can't get out of it because you need the money. So number one tip today, keep your overhead as low as humanly possible. Work on sawhorses and a plywood sheet of wood, you know? Just, that's what you've got to do.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: Keep it really tight. Then if you bring in 20,000 bucks, you didn't spend 18 of it just making it look pretty. I mean your office and all the accoutrements that you might add. So that's one thing you could do, but I think the idea of going out and working for agencies, is a dead idea. Now, I want to just bring this up, because I know probably a bunch of your audience is also from Motionographer, and I've said some controversial things. So somebody said, "Yeah, well Chris is in that place, and his industry's dying. He's dying. He's just an old dinosaur, and that's that." Like dude, go for it man. Don't believe me. Do it. Just do it. Yeah, granted the size that we're at, with like 12-15 employees, it's becoming more and more difficult to do what we used to do. Now we've pivoted, so we're going to be okay, so you don't have to stay up late at night worrying about us, but to dive into that saying like, I've figured that thing out. Going against the trends of culture and technology, you're asking for trouble.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and I've talked to some motion designers recently, who are pretty well known, and they're freelance, and they could open their own studio, and people would follow them anywhere. And I'm starting to get the sense that less and less people want to start their own studio than used to. I think in part because it's becoming hard to argue with the fact that the traditional source of these big money jobs, that keep the lights on and lets you do the cool spec things that get you noticed, those jobs are going away. Or they're staying in-house, or their budgets are just being cut by 75%.
Chris Do: Yeah, so here's the alternative to that, because maybe you're feeling really dark and depressed right now if you're listening to this, you're like, oh my God.
Joey Korenman: This is gloomy, man it is.
Chris Do: It is a little gloomy. It is a little gloomy.
Joey Korenman: We'll bring it back in a minute.
Chris Do: Yeah, so, we got to like drag you into the gutter for a little bit to get ... How they do that reality slap in the face you know? And then we're going to talk about at some point Joey, what the options are, and where you can get out of this. And I think there's no better time to be alive, to be in the creative industry.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and so let me try this for a segway. While it's going to be very difficult for someone to start Blind right now, I mean it was difficult for you to start it, but right now, the landscape is just very different than it was, and it's just a lot harder. I would think that because the trick with running a studio is you have much higher overhead. Clients treat you differently and you know, when you're Blind versus when you're Chris Do. But for a freelancer, or for someone looking for a staff job as a motion designer, this is a pretty good time to be getting into the game. Right?
Chris Do: Pretty good time. Yes. Pretty good time, and your best opportunities from a financial point of view, not necessarily a creative point of view is to gonna go work in house at an agency. When I say agency, I mean an ad agency, or one of these tech companies.
Joey Korenman: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Chris Do: That's where your best opportunities are going to come from, and we're seeing so many people move to Silicon Valley. And then a year later, we see them move back, but whatever, you know, they had to go experience it, that's cool.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and I've talked to people who've worked at these companies. One of my old students just let me know she's taking a job at Microsoft. You know, it's like 10 years ago, who in their right mind would want to go work at Microsoft as a motion designer? But they're probably doing some really cool stuff over there. I know Airbnb's doing cool stuff with After Effects and stuff like that. So let's talk about freelancing a little bit, because I know a lot more of our audience will be able to resonate with freelancing. Let's talk about you, when you hire freelancers at Blind. What's kind of the key for you when you're looking at freelancer A versus freelancer B, which one am I going to hire?
Chris Do: Okay, there's a lot of talented people out there, that's for sure, and we're busy just trying to keep track of who's who and who's done what, right? So one of the things is people send us their reel, and I'm like, that's great, and I send it to a person and then they have to put it in a database. So if you're good enough to make it into the database, you obviously have certain skills. The next part is do we remember you when we need you, because there's a lot of you out there, unfortunately. Right? And you have to be good, that just gets you in the door.
And a lot of times we'll ask around, and you have to understand something, people are risk averse, including companies like ours. We want to go with somebody who has done a couple of things that's kind of like what we want, and has a good reputation around town. Even better they've done work with us in the past. They always get the first choice, right? We're going to pick them first, and if they're not available, we just keep moving down that list. That's how we work with new people, because the seven people we wanted, and this is the reality, are already booked and we can't get them. So when we move on to, "Oh here's Bobby from this other place," the work looks promising. I have no idea, and we'll bring him in. We talk about rates and if the rate works for the job, then we'll bring you in, and we'll kind of book you for a few days, and put you on hold for the rest, because we just don't know how it's going to work out.
And that's the risk that a business owner has to take. We don't do big interviews beforehand, we just don't have the time, or the manpower. So we'll bring you in on a job, and what's going to keep you there is you're focused on doing the work. You're easy to talk to. And what do I mean by that? If you need some redirection, because you're kind of missing the mark, how do you handle that? Some people get really weird. They get really uptight.
Joey Korenman: Right. So I mean-
Chris Do: That's when you get unbooked really fast.
Joey Korenman: So would it be fair to say that if you have two freelancers and one in terms of talent, is an A- and one's an A+, that that may not matter if the A+ doesn't take critique very well.
Chris Do: Yeah. It won't matter. I mean, you'll get in. You will get in. We'll pick the A+ if it's that clear for us to see. I mean for me, an A to an A- or whatever it is, it's very hard to see that difference, right? But you can see a difference between A and C. So we'll bring in the A player, and we'll bring them in if we've never worked with them before, and they're sloppy with their files, and they tend to be on Facebook for an hour and a half every single day. And we come and talk to them, and they're like "Oh, whatever," and they don't really take direction. It's like, I'm not giving you this direction because it pleases me. I'm giving you this direction because these are promises we made to our client, on behalf of their client. I'm not in the business of telling them we're going to do something, and do something totally different. It doesn't work like that.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: So that's when we'll pull you aside, and like, "You know what? Is this the right place for you? Do you really want to be here?" And then we try and give an opportunity to recorrect, and sometimes it works, more often than not it doesn't work. And that's when we just don't book them anymore.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, so I mean in my personal experience, it's very hard ... I've always found it hard to kind of judge my own talent level, but when I was freelancing, I was surrounded by animators and designers who were so much more talented than me. But I got booked 50 times as much as them, simply by always showing up on time, I was really fast. I took the time to learn how to work quickly and be organized.
Chris Do: That's a good one.
Joey Korenman: And I was friendly. And literally, I always in the beginning I was really nervous. I was like, you know, I'm not as good as these other people. I'm going to be discovered. They're just going to quit booking me, and it never happened, simply because they ended up liking me, and they liked having me around. So that's one of the biggest tips I give people who want to freelance, is your reel has to be at a certain level, and of course for Blind to book you, you have to be pretty damn good. But for every Blind there's probably 20 companies that don't need someone at that level just yet, and for those companies especially, your personality and your professionalism, the way you come across, can be even more important than how good you are at design.
Chris Do: Yeah, I think you totally said it right. Fast and friendly, those are good things to have, and you're going to get booked, and you're going to keep leveling up your portfolio. That's it. And then look, and I'm not trying to blow smoke up your butt here, but the level and the quality of animation education out there that's available, has been so good that a lot of people you're like, "Oh you didn't even go to regular school, but you're really good. You have that sense for timing, and that's what we need when we bring in animators." So, the pool of talent is just getting richer and deeper, and it's an exciting thing for me as a business owner to see.
Joey Korenman: So, do you treat it differently when you're looking at hiring a freelancer versus hiring someone as a full-time staff member?
Chris Do: I look at freelancers as a trial for the full-time position. It's always that way. Even when we're not looking, we're thinking. You know? And this is where you might need to be a little bit smarter you guys. You can win the battle, but you'll lose the war kind of thing. So when we bring you in as a freelancer, we like you, and then everybody starts booking you, and it's like, gosh, behind closed doors, me and the creative director's like, "You know, do we have a job for Jenny, or Bobby, or Mary, because I love working with them, man, they make my job really easy." And that's where me as a business owner, I'm like, "It does look like these accounts are going to need more and more. Let's explore the relationship. Let's broach the subject. Why don't you guys go talk to them to see if they're interested in full-time." Half the time they're interested, and the other half they're not. The ones that are interested oftentimes will out-price themselves for a full-time job, and we got to just keep doing this dance until we find the right mix.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: So one thing I want to tell you guys, is those of you guys that have been freelancing, and when somebody asks you, you want to go for full-time and you really do want to go full-time, and they're like, "Well what kind of money do you need to make?" Don't take your day rate and multiply it out by the number of days you can work in a year. It doesn't even work that way.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: And that's where people just get it all wrong. It's like, well I'd rather just book you, and when we don't need you, I'll un-book you. There's no incentive for me to guarantee you a job, to train you, to make you a part of our team, to pay for your insurance, pay part of your taxes, give you paid sick and holidays. Why would I do that? Because now, not only am I going to be paying you your rate, I'm guaranteeing your booking and I'm paying a 20% tax on top of that. So, what you have to do is think totally differently. When you're a freelancer, you make your day rate. When you're a staff person, you have to kind of look at what is that position that I'm going to be slotted into, within the market that I'm in, worth. And where do I ... Plus or minus 10-15%, where do I fit in that?
Joey Korenman: Right. So this is a question that came from Chris Biewer, he's actually one of our teaching assistants for Animation Bootcamp. He was curious about how hard it is for a company like Blind, to staff up, I guess, when you get these big jobs, because I mean I've had experience where a job comes in, and you basically have a couple of weeks to get ready to start doing it. But you need four extra bodies. How do you approach that problem, finding freelancers or hiring new staff? How scary and how big of a deal is that for a company like yours.
Chris Do: It's a big deal. It's not scary. They say when there are two boxers that meet in the ring, that the outcome of the match has been already determined prior to the first punch being thrown. And it goes all into about preparation, and the same is true about this kind of stuff. So when we're not actively working, and bringing in people, we're always entertaining new work. Somebody's like, oh somebody shared a reel? I add it to the database. We're getting constant submissions all the time, so we got to filter through. It's like, okay, two of these ten fit in our company and can do good work. We add them to the database, and we actively manage it. We rank and we rate. We write their rates and all that kind of stuff, and we share this internally. It's a massive database, if you can imagine. So that when we're looking for you, we can find you again. Because trapped in email, it's forget about it. It's not going to happen.
So I'm going to give your listeners a tip, if you guys are on the freelance circuit, and you want to get work, I think it's important for you not to assume sending one email is all you need to do. What you want to do is periodically send this, and don't be annoying about it, say like once a month. Just give people an update as to what you're up to.
Joey Korenman: Preach.
Chris Do: That's it. Send a simple email with a JPEG of something cool you've done, a still-frame, and let's say in that month's time, you haven't done anything new, go back to an old cool project you haven't talked about. Just grab one frame, and just say, "Just letting you guys know what I do, so I'm on your radar. I hope you have a blessed day." That's it. [crosstalk 00:51:26].
Joey Korenman: You and I write ... Okay so that is almost exactly the email that I tell people to write. So let me throw out my email tips for freelancers, and you tell me if you agree with them okay?
Chris Do: Okay.
Joey Korenman: So first of all, that's basically a check-in email, and I realized this when I was running my studio, is that, and you already mentioned it. Just because you emailed me and I loved your reel, and I want to book you, I just didn't have a job then, doesn't mean I'm going to remember you in three months. Right? If you're running a studio, your inbox is like a war zone. You get tons of emails.
Chris Do: It is. Hundreds of emails.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, easily, easily. So, you need to check in, and I say every 2-3 months at a minimum, every month works fine. And the key is with these emails, make sure you're not asking for something. I even say, and this is a tip I learned from reading "The 4-Hour Work Week", in your email you can even write something like, no reply necessary. And it just makes the person reading your email feel really good like, "Okay, here's my reel," or you know, "Hey, just checking in, wanted to let you guys know I worked on something really cool. Hope you're having a great summer. No reply necessary." And if they have something right then that needs a freelancer, they will almost certainly call you if they like your reel. Just because now they're thinking about you, and you did something nice for them. Yeah. I love stuff like that. I love little email tips.
Chris Do: That's perfect.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, that's the way to do it. So let me ask you this Chris, I get a lot of questions about getting work. I mean when you're a freelancer, that's the most important thing, especially when you're starting out. So if you had to start over, and you were a freelancer, and you had a good reel, what would you do ... How would you go out and get your first few clients. What are the steps you'd take?
Chris Do: Okay. Let's first start with the good reel. What's a good reel? Pay attention to the first 15 seconds because you're going to lose me in the first 15 seconds.
Joey Korenman: Got it.
Chris Do: Don't give me a long countdown timer thing, because I'm out of time by the time your good stuff happens. Two, edit out all the crap. I don't need to see lots of projects. People feel like they've got to put in 35 projects, and they know that 30% of them are no good. Just get rid of those. I don't need to see a long reel. A minute, 30 seconds, I don't care if it's good, we're going to call you. You just gotta make that impression in a burst of time that somebody has available.
So those are some tips, but the other thing you need to do, is just put your name in there and what the hell you do, because it's not always clear. I'm not your mom. I'm not your dad. I don't know what you do. So if you're a texture artist, or a lighting person, or a character animator, or a compositor, put that freaking thing really clear. And don't come up with these obtuse titles that nobody can figure out. A visual communication expert at ... You know, I don't know what that means. Just tell me what my industry knows, and that way we can slot you in, because I'm probably looking for you right now. Right? So that's a good reel.
The other thing that you need to do, is you need to profile people that you want to work with. Figure out who they are. Spend 10, 20, 30 minutes figuring out who the decision makers are, and where you should send their reel. You know, I get this email, or this question a lot. They're like, "How do I become an intern at Blind?" I'm like, "Dude, you're not going to get that job, because that's posted everywhere. Spend the five seconds it takes to go on our site and type in internship at Blind, and look at our freaking site."
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: It shows me you're not a resourceful person.
Joey Korenman: I love it.
Chris Do: Right? It's like, "Where do I submit the work?" I'm like, "Dude, did you not read the posting, or not?" So I'm just going to discount you right there. I'm sorry, I'm going to discredit you. You have to spend a little bit of time, so know that realistically there's probably a handful of companies that you're really well suited for. Focus on that. There's the Pareto Principle, that 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your clients. Focus on that 20%, because the other eight people are not right for you, and you're not right for them, more importantly. Okay?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: And if you can do work, that you can see them taking your reel and putting it in their montage, you've done a really good thing. They'll hire you, for sure. Get to know them. That's as much as I can tell you, so some of the cyber-stalking stuff, it actually works. Now I'm going to tell you two weird stories, not that I want people to do this to me or to you, is that when I bump into people in the real world, they go, "Hey Chris, I'm sorry ... " and I'm out eating with my wife, and I just ... The kid is super persistent, and I look at the reel later on, and I'm like, "Gosh, it's not ... I'm on the fence on this, but that person's got moxie. They want this." And then there's this other person, that's kind of like, "Yeah, I've got some options, and maybe Blind, maybe not Blind." And I gave these kids a chance, and they've worked out. My instinct is to reward people who are persistent, who are not aggressive, but take initiative and are resourceful. I'm going to do it.
You know this kid called his dean, or the chair of design, and asked them to make a referral for him. So at that point, I'm like, you got the chair involved in emailing me, I better give you a shot. And it worked out. This kids doing well. This kid actually just got a job over at Google, so he's traveling. This has been a couple of years now, and he's going to be working at Google. Who knew?
Joey Korenman: I love this because when I was running my studio, I got reels sent to me all the time. And I think probably like 75 or 80 percent of them would come through our [email protected] email address, which would go to our producer or something. And then she'd forward them to me, and if I had time, if I remembered, I'd look at them. But some people would somehow find my email address, and they would email me directly, and before they would email me, they would look at my reel, or they'd go find some post I wrote on MoGraph.net five years ago, or something like that. And they would attempt to make a personal connection with me. And those people, almost always, A were better, I guess maybe that was an example of their drive, which would make them a better artist anyway. But I was more willing to give them a chance for that same reason. And so when I left Toil and went freelance again, I started doing that. And there's a lot of tools out there, it's really easy now. You know, RocketReach.com or Voila [crosstalk 00:57:37].
Chris Do: [crosstalk 00:57:37].
Joey Korenman: I always tell people, try not to email Blind. Don't email [email protected] Find the-
Chris Do: No.
Joey Korenman: So I would, if it was me, I would try to find ... I mean your email address is pretty easy to find, but I would try to find like a-
Chris Do: Shh. [crosstalk 00:57:55].
Joey Korenman: ... like a producer you know? Email the producer, because they're often the gatekeepers for this sort of thing, and they'll at least know. And I will go on Linkedin and I'll look at their picture, and I'll try to get a sense of them. And I'll try to relate to them in the email, and it's amazing how well it works even though describing it sounds kind of creepy and stalkery.
Chris Do: It only sounds creepy if you have bad intentions. If your intention is, I think I do something really good, and I can be of service to that company, you're actually helping them.
Joey Korenman: Yes. Yes. That's the way I look at it. I'm glad to hear you say that.
Chris Do: And that's how [crosstalk 00:58:24] look at it. Right you have to look at it like that. I'm a plumber and you don't know, but your pipes are bad and so I'm just trying to let you know so when the pipes explode, you can call me and here's the magnet on the refrigerator, you can call me. I'm here for that.
Joey Korenman: Exactly.
Chris Do: Okay. So if somebody spends, really, honestly to go on our site, because it's so ... We live so much in public, I can only imagine this. Nobody's done this yet. Please don't do it now that I've said it, is that you send me an email and say, "Chris, I don't know if you Greg or Matthew are the best people to speak to or should I talk to Scott Rothstein about what I do, and if you guys have need." Nobody's ever even done that. Not even close.
Joey Korenman: Really?
Chris Do: And the information is on the freaking website. [crosstalk 00:59:06].
Joey Korenman: See that's amazing to me.
Chris Do: You can pick up the phone. You can pick up the phone. Most people have receptionists, we have one, office manager. Call up and say, "You know, I really would love to get in there some day. I'm an animator ... ", our office manager's name's John, "John, who does the hiring there? Who's the best person, and what's the best way to talk to them? Is it through email, or voicemail, what do you think?"
Joey Korenman: So we actually have a little kind of mini-course on School of Motion, it's called FreelanceU. And before we released it, we did a survey, and we asked ... I forget, we had like 150 producers, creative directors, studio owners, reply to it. And one of the questions was, "Is it difficult to find freelancers?" And we had people who are at Buck and [SciOp 00:59:53] and big well known studios that every motion designer wants to work at. And 83% of the people said yes, it's hard to get freelancers sometimes. Which kind of blows my mind, and like, does Blind ... I mean, I would imagine Blind must have like every After Effects artist in the country sending you their reel. Is that not the case?
Chris Do: We get a lot of reels sent to us, but it is ... I wouldn't call it difficult. I just call it the cost of doing business.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: It's always trying to manage and anticipate demand, like we think the job's going to book. We're hedging our bets, so we have some people on hold. So it doesn't become a nuclear meltdown. Now one thing that I can say that is kind of just tooting my own horn here, is we have a really healthy company culture. People do like working at our company. So oftentimes when we call somebody and they're somewhat on hold or booked somewhere, they try to get themselves out of it.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: And I tell them, "Please don't ruin your professional reputation, but I would love for you to come here." And they're able to get themselves out, and so it's kind of nice to know that. If you treat your staff and your freelancers well, and you treat them with respect, and you create a nurturing creative environment for them, that they have choices. And the people we hire have choices. They're not worried that they're not going to make rent the next month. So that's the other thing too, from the business owner's side, but I wouldn't say that it's like 80% frustrating an emergency bomb is dropping off. We've always been able to manage to find the right kinds of people.
And like I said, this is good news for you guys too. And it might sound like an insult, but it's not. Is that when we can't get who we want, it opens the door for new people for us to try. We're forced to try new people. People we've never worked with, and some of them are gems. They really are. Now I know this, because, and I swear I should be making money on this, is people from other companies call me all the time. They're, "Chris who do you got?" I'm like, "Dude, I'm not 1-800 your career placement person for free dot com." I'm not. But people hit me up all the time.
Joey Korenman: Being a freelancer, it's a really interesting game to be in if you ... I think it's kind of a good way of going to business school, without going to business school. And one of the things, I'm curious, because you freelanced very briefly, before starting Blind?
Chris Do: Yes.
Joey Korenman: One of the things that I'm curious about from your experience, is being a freelancer and learning sort of how to manage your time, and send invoices and chase down late payments and things like that. When you then open a studio, some of those skills translate over, and some work totally differently. And I'm curious if you've had any experience with people treating you differently when you were Chris Do, than when you were now Blind?
Chris Do: Yes and no. I started with a company fairly ... We're talking about months after I graduated, so my freelance experience on this is very thin. Now I remember, and I'll tell this story, I was working for Kyle Cooper, at what was at that time [RGELA 01:02:52], soon to become Imaginary Forces right? So I'm working with Kyle Cooper, and I'm introduced through a friend, so I'm going there and I'm doing work. And I'm not working on-site. I'm working at my studio. Okay? I tell him, "I work at my studio, is that okay?" He's like, "Yeah that's okay." And then I go back to the studio, and my two or three friends that worked there. They did the work. And we'd come in and we'd turn in the work. And he was happy with the work. He assumed I did all of these things, and over time, I was raising my rates, because it wasn't obviously enough to support the three people working on it. And when I say over time, it's a matter of weeks, okay, because I move really fast.
And then eventually, I went in person, presented a bunch of boards for a show title he was pitching on, and he goes, "This is really good work. I like all of these things," I'm like, "Oh, all right." He's like, "I like this one in particular." And he pointed to something, I said, "Well that's great. My friend Michelle made that." He goes, "What? What did you do?" I'm like, "This one on the corner but not really." And he gave me this look of shock and disbelief, and then he smiled and he said, "So you've been ghost-writing this whole time?" I'm like, "Well, I wouldn't use those terms, but okay, if that what works for you."
He still hired me for more work. It didn't matter. There was that initial shock like of deception. I never told you I did the work, you assumed I did. And then I asked him, "Did you always think that I could turn around four times the work that a normal human being could?" He goes, "Yeah, that's why I agreed to pay you so much."
Joey Korenman: You bring up a really interesting point Chris, and so we're going to link to this. We'll link to this in the show notes. You know, the infamous brick-layer comment that you made in one of your Youtube things.
Chris Do: Oh let's do it [crosstalk 01:04:23].
Joey Korenman: And it's interesting, because I understand why, just the short version is, Chris made a comment about designers ... I think you were essentially saying that designers in the ecosystem of art directors and studios that need a lot of design, designers are the blue-collar worker. They're the brick-layer. Even though they would consider themselves artists, and it's very creative, and it's not at all like brick-laying, even though it kind of is really. And you just recognized that, at a very young age, and were able to capitalize on it. So we'll link to that, but one of the things that I eventually realized, and it really kind of changed the way ... It changed my relationship to work, is that the way you make money, it can kind of be detached from the creative thing that you do, that you're really excited about.
And so, maybe for you, it's running businesses, or it's just kind of being an entrepreneur. But the way you make money is by enabling other people to create design. And so maybe you're able to kind of detach yourself emotionally, which, if you're like a designer that lives and breathes Photoshop and being inside the app all day doing it, it's kind of insulting to think of that as a possibility. "Well, I could just design to make money, you know and cheapen my art, but then I can go home, and I can do what I really want."
And so I guess the point I was trying to make was that, a job is literally, it's just an agreement between two people. I need this. You can provide it for me. I agree to pay you this much. And once that happens, in most cases, how that job gets done, you hire somebody else, you art direct it, or you just stay up for three days straight and do it all yourself, doesn't really matter. And once you realize that it opens a lot of doors, in terms of being able to freelance the way you want. You can even work at interesting arrangements with your employer and stuff like that. I just thought it was fascinating, the way that ... I mean, I've never heard you tell that story before, and it was really interesting.
Chris Do: It ties into that right?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: So here's a couple of things that I want to just clarify. I mean there's so many arguments about this, and I'm okay with handling the next wave of arguments about it. There's production work, and there's non-production work. And I don't know what the label to put on that is, but if you're like, "I'm an ideas person," you're not making something. It's like you get paid to think, write, and speak. But when you put your hands to craft something, and then you're a production person. I don't say that with disdain. There's tremendous respect for things that are really well made from a wallet, a backpack, to a finely crafted piece of motion graphics.
The distinction I also make, and granted this is my own point of view, is there are artists in the world, and then there are graphic artists. And they're different. Or they're designers and they make stuff. And they make stuff on a commission. Artists make stuff because that's an expression of their spirit, and they want to share their point of view with the world. Period. They don't do it for commerce. It just so happens that people love what they make, and so they buy and support their artistry.
To use the word artist, within the production pipeline, I'm not sure that that's what it is, because I'm not bringing you in and paying you $800 a day for you to share your point of view of the world with me. I'm bringing you in because you make something so great, that fits the problem I'm trying to solve, and I need you to do that. And I will pay you for that. I will pay you so that you can have a life, pay your mortgage, and put your kids through school. That's the agreement we're making. If I wanted you to be an artist, go get an art studio, and go get some canvas and make stuff. Don't worry about making money. I respect all sides of this thing.
The way I said it, my tone in that thing that got the internet on fire for a little bit, because I said it with such fervor, because I was in an intellectual debate with two women from academia, and I was in the moment. But there's a couple of things I want to talk about here. Okay? And it's going to sound weird and metaphysical for half a second.
Joey Korenman: Let's do it. Go there.
Chris Do: There's this quote, okay? And it's from Shakespeare, and he says, "There is no such thing as right or wrong, or good or bad, it's the thinking that makes it so." And it's a deeply profound thing if you really think about it. Our lens into the world, determines how we feel about it, but it's an objective thing. Okay? Like a bird chirping in the morning, to some is a beautiful melody and a song, and it's a reminder of nature. For some, while they're trying to sleep, it's noisy, distracting, you want to go kill the bird. But the bird is just a bird, and it's making a sound.
The thinking of it, changes your perception of it. So when you're talking about meditation, you're talking about your attachment or detachment to things. Like when we care about what we look like, it's an attachment to our ego, and our vanity. So people who have achieved some kind of level of higher thinking and self-awareness, have become detached to these things. Now I may have lucked into because I'm a little bit more logical than most, but I've been working on this form of meditation, without knowing that it's meditation, for quite some time now. To detach myself from feelings that aren't constructive to my being. So this idea, you know I just look at it, as like it is what it is. You're making something, what label you want to put on it is up to you. When I'm going to process it-
Joey Korenman: So is this-
Chris Do: Go ahead.
Joey Korenman: I was going to say, so what you're saying, it's kind of resonating in a weird way with me. I get it. It is like ... And you do speak in a very logical way, and I think maybe that's why it kind of pissed people off, because ... And frankly, I think the reason it pissed people off, this is my theory, is because it triggered some cognitive dissonance. On some level, motion designers and illustrators and designers know that 20 years ago, or 15 years ago, when some of us got into this industry, there were a handful of people that could do what we do. It was a very rare skill, and a very lucrative, in demand skill.
Chris Do: Right, I was there.
Joey Korenman: And now, it is not that anymore. It's still to be at the top and be really good at this is still pretty rare. But, if you need a B+ After Effects artist, there's a hundred thousand out there, right?
Chris Do: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Joey Korenman: And if you're not one of these super gifted people, what's your ... How are you going to stand out, and how are you going to make good work. If you look at what companies ... Like my favorite example of this is Buck. So Buck put out a piece a bunch of years ago, it's called "Good Books". It was like a really famous motion design piece with the Hunter Thompson poem, and it took a team of probably 30 artists like six months to do. And they literally lost tons and tons and tons of money on it. But, it put them back on the map, and expanded their business. The only reason they were able to do that was because they charge a lot of money, and do a lot of work that never sees the light of day.
So, if you can get to that point where you're not so ... And this is from ... David Lewandowski said this in some documentary. "Don't be so precious with the commercial work you're doing. It's not going to be cool. Don't try to make it cool. It never will be cool. Do it so that then you have the time and the capacity to do the cool thing, and that's what's going to set you apart." And I think in today's landscape where there's an After Effects artist born every 10 seconds, having a different strategy with the way you approach your work, can actually be your competitive advantage.
Chris Do: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Now, you know I recently spoke ... Not recently, like last year when I was at The Motion Conference in Santa Fe, I talked about this. I'm like, it boggles my mind, and I have a slightly nuanced different point of view than what you just said, but I'm going to share with you. Is that, it boggles my mind that people pursue this life of making animated pixels on screen dance and do wonderful things, that then they have to work a night job to get some kind of creative fulfillment. And I think, to trace it back to that Shakespeare quote, it's like the labels that you put on stuff, right? Because this is not corporate work, or this is work I do for money, and this is work I do for myself. And I get that, and we're living this kind of fractured self, and we're not in harmony. I'm trying to figure that out.
If I redefine what I do as, you know what, I get to use my talents, my eye for timing to solve complex and sometimes simple problems for other people and they marvel at what I do. I'm pretty fulfilled. Sometimes it's for Nike, and sometimes it's for dog food commercials, and I don't really care. If you talk to Kyle Cooper, who is at the pinnacle of main title design, he's like, "There's no such thing as a bad client, or a bad assignment, just bad designers." Because they want to put these labels on it, that's dog food, it can't be interesting. But I get great fulfillment from solving a problem, and sometimes that's using animation. Sometimes that's using video or something totally different. I think if we had a healthier, more balanced way of putting these labels on things, we might be just better, you know, we'd win at life. So that we don't have to feel this thing where at 4:00 in the morning you're going to grind on your own little thing.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Chris Do: I mean if that's what makes you happy, you can do that. But to me, it's like, I show up. I look at the faces of the people at the office and they're happy, and I'm nurturing them, and helping them to find fulfillment in their own career path. And I'm pushing them. That makes me really happy, and I'm not calling that art. I'm not calling that design. That's how I define my own happiness is, am I growing today? Am I doing something different than I did yesterday? And if can look back on myself upon a like a year's time and say, I don't recognize that person anymore, I feel a great sense of fulfillment. I feel like there's growth, and I'm happy. I feel like I've learned, and I've grown. So I'm not sitting there looking at like, "Man did we do that really cool experimental animation that 10 of the people in the motion industry, that care the most about this kind of stuff, are going to talk about it?" I really don't care. I just don't.
Joey Korenman: So do you think that ... This is something that I mentioned in that Motionographer article, that when I, I don't know, maybe as recent as 6-7 years ago. I had this crazy ambition that a lot of people have to start a studio and do amazing work and this and that. Then after getting close to that, I realized that ambition was making me really miserable. And so, I don't want to say scaled back my ambition, but I kind of redefined what success was to me.
Chris Do: Right.
Joey Korenman: And ended up making a huge pivot. I'm still very ambitious, and obviously trying to do a lot of things. I'm curious if you experienced that when you were younger, would you have listened to what you just said about being happy doing a well-produced dog food commercial. Would you have agreed with that 10 years ago?
Chris Do: I'm going to say this, and I don't know if it's an honest answer or not. I would and I have been for a long time. Almost the first freelance job I got, I gave it to somebody else to do, and we just kept doing that. And I found fulfillment, and you know what? People really enjoy the things that I can do, without a lot of effort. I must be pretty good at this thing. And I'm happy about that, and they just keep calling. Like you had said, you were friendly and you were fast. And you got a lot of self-validation because of that. People like what I do. They like me, and they like the work I'm doing. It may not be as technically sophisticated as the next guy, but they keep booking me, so something I'm doing is right. And I really don't care. I worked on a brand. It's a self-storage facility. That is not sexy.
Joey Korenman: It's not, you're right.
Chris Do: But we didn't approach it like, "Oh what a dog project. Oh my God. Let's just do this, make the money and bury this thing." This client has gone on to give us so many opportunities, and then go on to become a champion of ours. So when clients call us and are like, "Hey, we need to call your references," I'm like, "Okay, call Brett from Trojan Storage." He goes out there, and he sells it for us. Now I want to ask you and potentially all the listeners, how many clients have you done work for, whether it's a company or client direct job, where they're out there as your champion, as your spokesperson right now. I'd rather get that kind of validation, than to win some kind of award that means nothing to anybody.
Joey Korenman: That's a really mature point of view you have. I hope that everyone listening can kind of ... I think it's difficult when you're in the thick of it, and you're at the beginning of your career, and what you're craving is validation. That you belong. And so there's kind of obvious markers for that. Right? Like, oh my first national spot, that my parents in Texas can watch. And then there's, oh I got a local Emmy. Stuff like that which you're correct, is completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Chris Do: Now you know what? I want to tie this into the very first question you asked, which was you're a 25 year old, I'm going to start a studio, and then give me some advice. And the first thing that I said, and I didn't plan this, obviously, was to ask you, well why do you want to do this?
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Because I'm trying to get you the part where Joey realized what you realize, and I realized what I realized, and you can take the shortcut. But the way I realized is that there are different kinds of learners in the world, and some people need to just learn by experiencing it. That they're like, "Well that was your experience, and I need to experience it myself." I'm like, "Okay, those are hot coals dude. Good luck. Those are really hot coals, and you'll get burned," but people do need to put their hand on the coals and around the kettle and burn the skin off their arms, and then they're like, "You know what? I should have done this, and maybe there was a better way." And they'll find it themselves, and so I respect that too. That people just gotta do it because they're like, "That wasn't my story. That's not my arc, and I'm going to prove it wrong, or nah, that doesn't work for me." You know, whatever it is.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, that's super good advice man. And I think you're right. So I know you've got to get out of here pretty soon-
Chris Do: I do?
Joey Korenman: ... so I got one more ... I thought you said ... Don't you have to go to work, and you have a studio to run? Or something?
Chris Do: Yeah, I have a meeting at 11:00 with a client, so I need a few minutes to get there, but let's hammer this one home. You've got one more question?
Joey Korenman: Yeah. And it might be a big one, I don't know, we'll see.
Chris Do: Okay, let's do it.
Joey Korenman: So I want to know, because you mentioned it before, you are the guy that you're not looking down at your feet. You're looking up. Where the hell are we going? Where's this boat going that I'm on?
Chris Do: Yes.
Joey Korenman: And a lot of our audience are at the beginning of their career, or they're in the middle. But they're at kind of a turning point, and they're thinking okay, do I quit and go freelance? Do I leave and try to find greener pastures? As someone that's looking at the industry, what are the biggest opportunities that you see in the next 3-5 years for motion designers? I just talked to a team at Airbnb, and there's all kinds of app prototyping stuff, that I think is coming down the pipe, potentially VR, all that kind of stuff, interactive animation. What are the things you're seeing that you would say to the School of Motion audience, to look up, stop looking at your feet for a second. Look up and focus on these things, because they might be important to your career in the next few years.
Chris Do: Okay. I want to ask them this question versus giving an answer. The question I'm going to ask you is, where do you spend most of your time being entertained or learning about stuff?
Joey Korenman: It's your phone right?
Chris Do: Where do you spend most of your time? Okay? So if you're spending your time on Facebook, and you're watching these funny videos, why are you watching them, and why aren't you making them? And this is a big mindset shift that I'm trying to get people to get into, which is to become the author of their own dream, their own product. Instead of looking to work for the man, to become the man. And this is really critical for me. Joey, you're doing it right now. You're living the dream, and we're collectively building this giant dream together possibly, maybe, you know? As we're doing our thing, and you're doing your thing, and there's a lot of crossover. It's very interesting, and for me as a person that's trying to do a similar thing as you, I'm watching you with great intent. I'm like, what is he doing? This is working really well.
And so I say to them, there's these videos that you'll watch, that are very popular. How people see the world, and how designers see the world. It's kind of like low level motion graphics, right? And it's kind of funny, and we all laugh, and it's got 67 million views. And then the motion design snob will come and like, "Well they didn't key frame that right, and they didn't ease that. The curves weren't good," and in the mean time, those guys are laughing all the way to the bank.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Chris Do: Because they have an audience that is powerful that they leverage to have brands come to them. So we're in this situation now, as the future, where companies are coming to us, and paying us, just to be who we are. So all that talk I've been saying about we're not artists, like we are finally becoming artists now. When I get to make a video, and have a conversation with my patrons or the audience if you will, and they tell me if it's good or bad. Then I build new pieces to things that nobody tells me to do, that nobody pays me for, then all of a sudden, now people are starting to bring in money, and it's like we want you to be a brand ambassador. All you need to do is show the product from time to time, or just share your experiences in a real natural way that's authentic to you. I like where that's going.
So, the thing of making motion design to sell products or services to other people, is a dated concept. I would ask you to kind of look into your world, where you find the most entertainment from, and asking yourself, well why aren't you using your skills and storytelling, your technical chops in moving things around, making them really engaging. Why aren't you using those skills for yourself?
Joey Korenman: Dude. That was a great answer. That was not the answer I was expecting, but it makes sense, because rather than thinking about the specific thing you're going to do with your motion design toolbox, realize that the barrier to distribution has been removed, and-
Chris Do: It's gone.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, start a Facebook page. Do some Facebook Live screen sharing of whatever, like you know.
Chris Do: Grow an audience.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and very quickly have an audience. You're doing it at a very high level. You've got like live camera shoots and they're lit and all that kind of stuff, but you don't have to do that.
Chris Do: You don't need all that.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, you don't need all that, but if you have it, and by the way, Chris, I want to make sure we get this in. Where can people go watch the content you're producing, because I have to say it is pretty incredible. Some of the stuff ... You had one where you were critiquing some of your designers' work, and I sent it to everyone at School of Motion, because I thought it was so amazing. Where does all that content live?
Chris Do: Okay, we're on a lot of different channels, so we produce different things for our channels. I'm hustling, right? I'm working 16 hour days, sometimes longer. So the obvious place to find us is on Youtube. So you can go to Youtube.com/thefuturishere, and there's no "e" in "the futur" okay? So if you go onto Facebook, you're going to find The Futur Facebook page, and that's also "the futur is here". You can find us on Instagram, but we're doing lots of live content on Facebook and on Youtube, streaming it live. We do live design crits, and this is something that we kind of bumped into by accident. I didn't realize people would connect with seeing me critique. But the way it was shot, it almost is like your point of view, looking into the world, and we just talk and people seem to be enjoying that.
As a matter of fact, tonight we're doing a live design logo crit. So we do these crits built around a theme, so that the audience can self-select. So that you're not tuning in for something you're not interested in. We're doing a lot more of these things. We're doing courses, so I'm trying to put the material out as many different places as people want. We're also doing podcasts, and hopefully you'll be coming on our show soon, once I figure out the technology part. We're having conversations about design, and we're pushing boundaries, and what I love, personally, what motivates me, what inspires me, is to meet people that have different points of view, who can articulate it, and be respectful. We can agree to disagree, but I find that to be stimulating. My brain is on fire.
I'm going to have a guy on our show, that I've argued more with than anybody else, but we hug, and we care for each other, and it's just great. It's like two guys kind of trying to figure out where we fit into the world, and by having a very robust debate and dialogue about what we think, it makes me rethink some of the things, that I'm doing.
Joey Korenman: I think it's awesome what you're doing, man. I'm a big fan. Just so everyone knows too, Chris will be at NAB this year, 2017, and you're talking at Post Production World I think.
Chris Do: Yes, I got like six or seven lectures.
Joey Korenman: Oh nice, nice. I'll be there as well, so look out for the two folically-challenged gentlemen, both very handsome-
Chris Do: You know what I was thinking? Everybody that's doing animation or design education in our space, we're all bald.
Joey Korenman: That's right, Michael Jones is bald too.
Chris Do: You, Michael and I think Ash is [crosstalk 01:25:22] us too.
Joey Korenman: Oh Ash is too. Oh my God. We're going to have to get-
Chris Do: That's the common theme there. You got no hair, you're going to create a company.
Joey Korenman: Oh my gosh, like the four of us, we could be like the Beatles of tutorials or something. I love it. All right. Awesome, well Chris, man, thank you so much. You dropped a ton of wisdom in this interview. I really appreciate it, and definitely check out Chris's stuff at The Futur ... Future with no ... It's like Futura but with no "a".
Chris Do: It is. Yes.
Joey Korenman: And Chris we're going to have to have you back on man, for sure.
Chris Do: All right, and you're going to come on my show, once I figure out the tech stuff, right?
Joey Korenman: Absolutely.
Chris Do: Okay.
Joey Korenman: Awesome. All right. Thank you.
Chris Do: It was a blast man, thanks for having me.
Joey Korenman: No problem. After this interview ended, I was jacked-up. Chris is one of my heroes, and it was truly an honor to get to pick his brain. So I hope you got a lot out of this episode, and I would really love to hear advice that you took away, that you're excited to go out and use in your own career. So please, hit us up on Twitter, @schoolofmotion, tell us what you got out of this conversation with Chris and don't forget to head to SchoolofMotion.com to find all the show notes for this episode, plus an absurd amount of MoGraph knowledge, including a ton of free lessons. That's it for me. I love you all, and I'll catch you on the next one.