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Interview with Sylvain Despretz
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smooth is Offline
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Default Interview with Sylvain Despretz - 03-08-2005, 02:49 PM

He tells it like it is. Refreshing to hear someone speaking sincerely about being an artist today and where the world and audience's mentality is heading.
I agree with alot of what he has to say.
It's sad but true.

You have to read it.

http://www.cgchannel.com/news/viewfeatu ... ewsid=3881

+smooth+
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Default 03-08-2005, 03:13 PM

look at this one;
http://www.hollywoodcomics.com/faq.html
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smooth is Offline
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Default 03-08-2005, 04:07 PM

Homer I just read it...
now I feel like throwing up.
Even if you have the talent its impossible?

+smooth+
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Default 03-08-2005, 05:04 PM

Well , I’ve read success stories as well. And if an artist focuses on his goal and enjoy what he is doing he will get there.
But this is a fact that there are more opportunities in LA than anywhere else.
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Default 03-08-2005, 09:36 PM

smooth
awesome article, thanks for posting the link. Im afraid I would have to simultaneously agree with him and be guilty of what he is pointing out.


Brenton Cottman

Digital Matte Artist
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Default 03-09-2005, 10:35 AM

Breathe easy, smooth, it is not all like this. He is speaking more from the storyboard/concept artist standpoint. It is a very different from matte painting. story/concept guys are afilliated with a production and are working before filming even happens. As a matte artist you will mainly be working for vfx facilities, of which hardly any are union. Some of the biggies like ILM have their own union, but it is not exclusive, you just join when you are hired. Illusion Arts is also union, or at least last I heard, but they will coach you into it if they want you. I have never been turned down from a job because I wasn't union. I have even done the production artist thing and union never came up. More and more films are going non union for the reasons that he said.

I do agree with him about traditional skills. I am as guilty as most about letting traditional skills fall to the wayside as I advance with digital. I also think he has 20 years of bitterness stored up. Don't lose your enthusiasm for what you do. I still wake up everyday and go, "wow, I am so lucky to get paid to paint all day!"

He does bring up good points about the business side of things. You have to be careful.

The bottom line is that it is possible. I was the enthusiastic wannabe just a few years ago and busted my ass and broke in. If you have the talent, you can make it happen. What will separate you from the other talents, is if you have a good head on your shoulders and people like working with you. I have been hired over others several times just on personality. Not that I am the greatest guy ever, but I can play well with others.

As for location, I would have to agree that LA is the place to be, especially if you are starting out.
Don't be discouraged!!!!
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smooth is Offline
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Default 03-09-2005, 01:43 PM

Phew.
I agreed with some things he mentions in his interview (business as an artist, and traditional skills mantained) but my drive got smashed when I read about the industry from his other site. And I was like...it can't be...
I've never been so sure of anything else in my life than matte painting and vfx for film. And when I read it all of a sudden it felt like a wall was placed in front of me.
Thanks for pointing out that what he said isn't so Dylan.
I've had great success already delivering above standard work with great character and work ethics to match, and I plan on keeping on track with my endevours despite negative built up experiences others have encountered. I'm learning how it is as I go. I hope to learn from the right people too.
To be working in L.A. is no problem with me.

+smooth+
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To be clear...
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Default To be clear... - 08-16-2009, 06:15 AM

Hey guys –

I stumbled upon this page of comments about one or two of my articles, and it occurred to me that it may be good clarify a couple of things, lest my words may be poorly interpreted by people speaking on my behalf.

To SMOOTH and DYLAN, I would say this: Yes, I have 20 years of bitterness – guilty as charged! If that’s how you wish to frame it -- but ask yourself this, DYLAN: What does the bitterness come from? And what makes you think that everyone else will breeze through the obstacles unscathed? I am either stupid or careless, and have fallen into the proverbial trappings of cynicism, or instead, in fact , I possess a sense of discernment, and the pain I feel is something I want to warn others about – like a dead Space Jokey on a lonely planet, broadcasting a warning to passing ships. Simply wishing things were pretty does not make them so, and if “bitterness” is a description of an acute reality, then, it may not be bitterness at all – It may just be a clear view of things...

I am not disputing that it is fairly easy to get into the business of concept art, in fact, falling into any trap is the easiest part of the journey, on some level, but the warnings I send-out are about surviving 20 years, or more, in it. ( I said as an ARTIST - not as a hack; anyone can do that.)

I have met a lot of my elders in this business, most of which are no longer alive... Many have stood where we stand - I heard them, and I saw a pattern emerging - and accelerating... The acceleration is the bitch!
It is easy to have stamina when you start-out…You have no financial needs to speak of, you are young, and ready to conquer the world; you’ll do anything for a job; you'll even sell yourself short. Three Thousand Bucks sounds like a fortune, everything seems acceptable, we agree to any conditions, and so on...

What I point-out is what I wish I had been told, because I despise the fact that most people are hopelessly positive and hopeful, as they fall off a cliff – they all demonize warnings as “negative” instead of paying attention where they set foot.

I may seem bitter to some of you, but this would make no sense - I have had one of the luckiest careers around in Film Art. I have had great jobs, for even greater directors...I, of all people, should be a valued witness to the very best this business can offer - If I am cautionary, still, then maybe it is wise to give me some credit. I write what I know I could have used as advice – I write what I wish someone had been intelligent enough to see, and warn me about -- I give the best insights I can, because I would wish for someone to do the same for me - people are of course free to do whatever they want with this, but they may come to recognition more quickly for having had the mental permission to realize certain things, after reading that someone else felt them too…

Currently, the film design business is at its ugliest – we are no longer referred to as illustrators by producers, but “Speed-Painters,” and "Maya-Guys" - We hear about production designers on major films basically blacklisting great artists because they haven't yet "turned 3-D" and rolled-back their prices -

Some creepy and Machiavellian guys to the 800 Union are building silent armies of young, inexperienced A to Z-listed sycophant-buddies, and funneling them-in, through the back door, based on little more than Software Snobbery, and motivated by nothing more than the fear caused by an overwhelming amount of artists looking for work in our ranks - and it is important to realize what the underlying meaning is about – we are being turned into cheaper than ever commodities - Producers now stand over our shoulders and ask us to use the "Liquify filter," or they do it themselves...Studios are working very hard to remove the individual style of artists, leaning on digital tech and speed, and are making young guys interchangeable – This is not about bitterness, guys... This is about seeing the warning signs!

And I am in the fortunate position of being reputable - I get a lot of calls - still - I am not speaking form the perspective of jealousy...I am not one of the discarded. Not yet.

Practically speaking, salaries will keep going down, and all will have a harder time making a living – not a problem at 25, but we’ll talk about it again when you are raising a family, and are weak from burning the midnight-oil for 2 decades, just to keep-up. My take is clear: Be all the artist you want to be, just realize that the film business, and the video-game business, are Vampire Motels, who suck the blood from young fresh creators, and take all the benefits – they are like junkies, who always need more, and eventually drain all the life from you; they do so by dangling empty promises and emptier compliments.

The best thing an artist can do is to find a wing of professional illustration where he can hang on to as many royalties as possible, and use the publishing of his work as the primary goal and only finality. By doing this, you are setting-up the ground-work for a better artistic and professional life. I am warning you to proceed with care, as you enter Transylvania – and if you can, I am suggesting to you to stay away altogether…The entertainment business is not an environment that helps artists ( Mœbius called it an Artist-Crushing Machine, and God knows he is no cynic...) – it only sucks them dry, and sadly, the artists themselves often craft their collective doom by being so irresponsible, fearful, meek, and willing to cave-in…Artists have been underlings for centuries, while merchants kept them in chains – I am suggesting that little has changed, and if you cannot see it, yet, it may only be because you are young. You may be wanting to live-out a young person’s fantasy job, but wait and see if you will want this prison around yourself when you are a full-fledged adult…There is a big discussion to be had about the state of our profession – it is grim. And all the guys I know who are on the big films know that the writing is on the wall – all just want to get-out, myself included: I have actually retired, now, from storyboard & concept-art: I am done! I want to live a little.
To the few who ask me, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the professional choices I made to my worst enemy.

I hope this helps explain to you where I come from - You can get "Pink-Colored pep talks" from anyone; I only speak-up to say what seems to be missing from the litany of useless advice out there - if you talk to amateurs, you will receive amateur advice. If you talk to pros, you will get large amounts of pro-talk...Perhaps it seems overwhelming, but like Kubrick said: "information is power."

I wish you all the best, I really do, but I think it is fair to speak-up.

Take care! Sylvain --
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de gerardo is Offline
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Default 08-17-2009, 04:27 AM

...well nice talk... But I would like add that you need to be really LUCKY and know people to break and STAY in the film industry.. I know what I am saying, because my career was really tough..!
And at this time is very corrupted.. Just a little story of me:
My way to film was really hard. I remember, i saw Dylan's work on LOTR, Chris Stoski and Dusso work in Star Wars... and I've been just a 3d modeler. And I had a job, proper job as a manager for import/export back home and I remember I was working on myself to get better and better, practice every night till 3am.. It was like that: Job, Girlfriend till 11pm and than work, paint, practice etc. till 2/3am which was ...woow.. not easy! Uploading picture like crazy on cgtalk and here and getting some crit. Many times not, but alwasy I remember I've been fighting for a crits.. I contact also Chris, Dylan to hear their opinion, because I want to be better and better... and I've been working on myself very VERY hard..never get enough and that's what i am doing now and I`ll do always! To work on myself... !!! But the point is ...
I can see alot of people without any experience and their first job is in some good, big company, or people who have just one title finished and working on the place I can dream on... In the best companies in the world.. I mean what the hell is that?! Some people working like crazy and they have better skills, work, and THEY WANT TO WORK LIKE CRAZY in that companies, but no chance because they take some people, they are friends, family or just someone..
Like my friends... I have two GREAT friends, Animator and Modeler...

For example: Waldek: http://www.vimeo.com/3593613 -his demoreel-I thing GREAT!

amazing people and they can work like crazy, because they love their work, but they're not lucky to break to film industry. And I have a friend who had just a school and small experience, 50% of quality of Waldek's work and he is at Weta. Nothing bad about him, very good friend, just to say that you need to be LUCKY!!! Lucky like crazy! Not the greatest ever..that was maybe before-not now... that's the business and all is about business now. Salaries, conditions what company can offer...everything...

Ok, my point is, work work, apply apply and you`ll get a chance to break into the film.. is just a question of time, work, timing and luckiness...

Anyway I am very happy for every work and what I did. And I am also lucky that I break into the film industry and and working on good shows as a matte painter-because I love it and I've been fighting for that very hard(still fighting, working, practicing-every day even after work)..!

Gerardo.


Digital Artist, Matte-Painter, Concept Art...
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Default 08-18-2009, 03:08 AM

I remember a lot interviews with top guys at top studios who said that its more "Who you know, than what you know". That's somekind of public secret.

De Gerado, congrats on your job, which comes only with hard work. Congrats, once again, and keep it up.
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