Take Pleasure In Your Pain

An old friend once told me a story about freelancing. He was trying to get some work out of Disney so he sent in his portfolio. Now a number of people have told me this, that during the 90’s when animation had jobs and Eisner was in charge, portfolio reviewers took perverse pleasure in criticizing your artwork. There wasn’t an opening at Disney at the time he submitted, so someone called him up and told him he didn’t make the cut. He was about to hang up but the caller demanded to know why he didn’t want a critique. The artist said he didn’t care if he got one, but could see the caller wanted to give him one badly, so he said go ahead. The caller eagerly began reciting a list of problems such as “No sense of character design,” “Poor anatomy,” the standard sort of thing. The artist hung up on him. A year later the artist took the same portfolio to a booth of reviewers when Disney was hiring. He hadn’t changed it one iota. The reviewer, the same person who called him, went on at length about his amazing sense of character design and his excellent eye for anatomy. The moral of the story is I’ve gotten a lot of rejection in my time, but never when the company actually needed somebody; people will like to your face for the sheer pleasure of watching you be disappointed. If you don’t know how good you are, man, there’s nobody that’s going to tell you otherwise.

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