This is not probably going to go where you think. If you are expecting a list of vacancies or agencies that can get you work, how to conduct yourself in an interview, what to put in your portfolio, etc., then think again. Think instead: a blatantly subjective viewpoint from out of left-field that may or may not have some relevance to your life!
I was inspired by a post I turned up for VJUNK news about careers advice for graduates embarking on careers in mainstream CG, but what of life out here on the periphery in VJ land?
Well, the good news is that it (VJing) is still out-there enough for it not to have been completely quantified and defined by academia. So there is still room to do it your way. Yes, you can get on a course – if you want to – and these courses may be in whole or part about Vjing. They may last for hours, days, months and be full or part-time but it’s questionable as to whether any will land you gigs. Now that’s for freelancers of course. Whilst I’m yet to meet any club owner who demanded to see my “VJ degree” before letting me plug-in, I can see the mainstream side of the live graphics / entertainment industry recruiting degree-qualified graduates for the “proper job” side of the art/business. In fact an acquaintance of mine entered the industry by this very route.
Now these qualifications may be in technical artistry, stage craft, lighting, programming, CG modelling, digital editing, for instance or conceivably in the purely business element of the industry or on the admin side.
Well, maybe. A quick scan around a few stage/venue-technician vacancies revealed a preference for extensive industry experience (not much use to graduates) without the word “degree” being mentioned once. So, there are no absolute rules – like I said.
OK, I have to declare a bias, having researched or taught myself about 99% of what I know (for better and worse!) I’m not a massive fan of academia when it comes down to such exotica. In fact, I have an instinctive distrust of someone’s capabilities and commitment if they couldn’t figure most of it out for themselves. If you actually think about what the job consists of (I presume you know enough to want to do “it”) then you could quickly come up with a list of relevant skill requirements. There’ll be some video editing, use of AV gear, computer literacy – just for starters. That’s before you get into anything too exotic.
Now there is a distinct advantage to taking a thorough course in something, and that is: there are unlikely to be gaps in your knowledge at the end of it. I have come unstuck once or twice by pursuing just the methods that work for me and then trying to slot in to someone else’s system/expectations. Sure, now I could take what I had to learn at the gig with me, but it’s not a particularly pleasurable experience at the time. Sadly, even if you are completely upfront about not knowing an element of someone else’s setup (you could argue: why would you?) it does count against you. Be warned.
However, the flipside to these negative experiences is that you get to learn a lesson about the nature of your peers in the face of your honesty, and who, frankly you’ll want to work with again. And in case you are wondering: yeah, I usually work by myself.
More of this next time.
[Photo by mindconsole]