|The people of the future make contact... La Jetée|
This is a message to our soon-to-be year three students - and it's a message brought to you from the future! If you've been checking in with the course at all since you disappeared off into the sunset back in early May, you will have learned of our good news: two awards at New Designers for Deanna Crisbacher and Becky Stapley respectively, plus notifications too of festival success for Dee and Tom Smith. Meanwhile, emails are beginning to trickle through in which our graduate exhibitors at New Designers are being contacted by the potential employers and clients who saw their work on the stand. In short, stuff is happening for the Class of 2018 and it's well-deserved. This will be your future too and the future has this advice for you. Actually, scrap that; it's not advice, it's an instruction, so pin your ears back and give this crystal ball your complete attention...
If you don't now use the time available to you to advance your final year films in advance of the start of the new term, you are robbing your future self of happier, less stressful times. If you're not already working on your Thesis drafts in readiness for the new academic year, you are wasting your advantage and saving up grief and unnecessary anxiety. I know this as I know the sky is blue. I've been there, seen it, and mopped it up. You are disadvantaging your future self - and your future self will not thank you. To be honest, I'm not going to thank you either, as your anxiety, self-inflicted stress and sleep-deprived disorganisation has a funny habit of impacting upon me - even though I've already worked really hard to prepare you for what is coming months and months in advance. Just read that last bit again - yes, your disorganisation and your stress and your procrastination impacts on other people too.
The other thing about New Designers is that it gives graduates plenty of time to reflect on their three years on Computer Animation Arts, and one abiding 'regret' I hear from them over and over is the wish they'd started their work sooner, that they'd worked harder, that they'd just aimed for the moon from the very outset instead of faffing around on Facebook or pouting into their camera phones or whatever...
It's no secret anyway; the students who do well, the ones who win awards and get noticed and go on to do interesting things are those individuals who listen very carefully to their future selves. They are the individuals who take care of their future selves by investing in the here and now. Successful students do not procrastinate. This is a truth. Successful students are creative and determined and fascinated by their projects even when no one is nagging them, when there are no interim crits or watchful tutors.
So your future self is watching you very closely right now. If you're not writing your draft thesis yet (despite the existence of those simple, easy-to-follow paragraph-by-paragraph plans), then you should be, and if you're not working on your final year films (designing stuff, fixing your stories, modelling your characters, identifying your methodology etc), then ask yourself 'why not?'. If your answer is 'Because it's the Summer', I'm afraid that's a bit silly, because 'the Summer' is just a word we use to describe sixteen weeks of the calendar year. It's just time (and lots of it!) - and it's time you could be using to ensure your future self is happy, sorted and completely in control of what is coming next.
Here's the thing - your year group is in a unique position: for the most part, you all know what you're doing and how you're going to do it and what you want to accomplish. You have the upper hand. You have the advantage. You're already in the lead. Don't drop the ball. You have tremendous power over what comes next - please use it.
I want you to start feeling it.
I want you start feeling the buzz that comes from knowing you're a final year student and that you're working on your own personal work! This is a rare and wonderful opportunity. It is exciting, and we're excited to see what your year group can accomplish. Start accomplishing things today.
This then is my advice - a voice from the present. Please do not treat September as the beginning of anything. You're way past that stage. September is simply the moment we all get in the same room together and celebrate how far you've come since last we spoke. Make no mistake, Alan and I have very high expectations of you all and we're looking to you to fulfil them. Your future selves couldn't agree with us more!
Spread the word then: get the message out. If you're not knuckling down, you should be. You are the year group that regrets nothing - is that understood? No regrets. No sad faces. No bullshitting about what's stopping you from doing x or y or z. Instead, just go and achieve something amazing - your future selves demand it (and actually, so do I!).