Yesterday afternoon I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of students from VFS that went on a studio tour at Blast Radius. Blast Radius is one of the largest interactive design studios in Vancouver, with additional offices in Toronto, Amsterdam, London, New York, and San Francisco. Over 400 people work at Blast worldwide, with about 150 residing in the Vancouver office.
Meagan Scornaiencki, a recruiter at Blast Radius, gave a quick tour and sat us down for a run-down on the inner workings of the company. Two other employees joined us for an easygoing discussion with lots of advice for graduating design students. Although it was definitley a big shop, with people working on different floors, the personalities of our three speakers definitley gave the company a good vibe of the type of people that work there. Their joking, friendly behaviour coupled with their passion for their work definitley made Blast Radius on top of my list of companies to work for. Taking Megan’s advice, it will be on my top 3 list of companies to hound for a job once my final project (it’s an interactive augmented reality application that I’m working with Taura Hanson to create) gets underway in the new year. Now if only I could figure out what side of the industry I want to work in. Project management, user experience, flash development, interactive design, print design, photography. I want to do it all. Blast Radius is a company that is big enough that I could potentially work in all of those areas.
I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep through the fireworks going off outside my window. It’s not too much of a bother, my mind is still travelling a mile a minute; it’s been working much better since finished term 3 at VFS. I’m sifting through all of the creative thoughts I’ve had in the last three or for days, the list of names of people I want to learn more about, and networking events I want to attend. It occurred to me that while I have scribbled a few notes here and there concerning final project prospectives, most of it had come and gone undocumented.
I can’t even really tell you what I’ve been thinking about specifically the last few days, only that I feel like I could solve any problem that comes my way. Which leads me to wonder: Is creative thinking only about solving problems or can it be used just to keep the mind limber, ready to find a solution when the time comes?
A little while ago I wrote about becoming too immersed in design that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Well in search of the forest, and more time with friends and in a design-free (head)space, I seem to have tilted the scales a little too far the other way. While most of my peers in term 3 are stressing out over the amount of work that we’ve barrelled through this term, I somehow feel the opposite. Almost as if I’ve barely done a thing at all that is worth any greatness.
Of course this can’t be true. Up until this point I’ve handed everything in, although some were a tad late. A recent Facebook status update sums it up: I think my expectations of productivity need to be lowered so I actually feel as if I’ve done something. I’m always working, all of my assignments get handed in, yet I feel I do nothing outside of class. This is obviously not the case.
Why do I not feel as stressed out as my friends. Well, I don’t think I have the answer to that. Due to the fact that a recent migraine that I’m still dealing with, has taken me out of a productive state for four days, contradicts my previous statement. The only answer I have is I’m human. It’s taken me a long time to admit to it, but I’m not a super hero, I can’t save the world with spandex and a cape. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try some other way. Trial and error and enjoy the ride.
Hopefully term 4 will be a better balance of all things, design and otherwise.
…and we’re back. I was offline for a few weeks trying to get my site over to my own url instead of the one supplied by VFS. I had a few issues and with a lack of time to sit down and troubleshoot, it got pushed to the back burner. Notice the url is my own now. Now if I only I can find the time for a re-design. 😉
I love talking to people, finding out what they do, discovering the similarities that you have, and meeting new people that you really connect with. Tonight was one of those nights. I went to my first meetup meeting.
There’s many a student at VFS right now who say they don’t have time for networking. They don’t see the need right now, they’re not looking for a job, they just want to get through school and worry about that later. They don’t understand that networking isn’t about getting a job, it’s about meeting new people, being inspired by their stories and their projects, and keeping up to date on what’s happening in the industry.
Maybe they think it’s scary to walk into a room of people you don’t know and introduce yourself. What they don’t know is that everyone else there did the same thing at some point, if not that particular meeting. Or maybe they’re afraid they won’t know what to talk about. That’s what snack food is for. But if you’re anything like me, once you get warmed up, the snack food will last you for two hours because you’re so enthralled in the conversation, you don’t have time to chew.
Whatever the reasons they have for not doing it now, I have the same for doing it. I’m making new friends, experiencing new places to eat, and actually getting to talk about design, instead of design school. Cheers to that!
Term 2 in the digital design program at VFS is done and I’m still sitting here in front of the computer, lonely as ever. Working non-stop without much emotion for anything outside of design for the last four months has left me somewhat in the dust when it comes to what the rest of the world has been up to.
While I was lucky enough to have all of my non-slumber time devoted to school projects, in doing so I seem to have left my relationships with people and my hobbies by the wayside. And now, here I am on day four of my vacation between terms, feeling like there’s a big chunk of me missing. I feel like I’m in an on-again, off-again relationship with design, when I want it to be on all the time. “I thought we’d be in love forever, you’re all I’d ever need. And now you’re telling me you need space, that I need space for us to grow together and personally as an individual”.
The truth is I do feel like I’m getting into a rut in this relationship with design. Looking back I did immerse myself a little too much and I do need to take a step back every once in a while. Attaching myself to the metaphorical hip of design will only stifle my creative energy in the long run. I need to take a wee bit of time to spend on myself and my hobbies and some of the relationships in my life that inspire me to be a better person. It is only through balanced relationships with life that I can live a balanced life. Which includes becoming a better designer.
While, quiet background music definitely has it’s place, lately i’ve been taking more opportunities to crank the volume, and feel the notes with my whole body instead of listening with my ears. Previously afraid of a future where I looked back upon my youth and wished I had only turned the volume down on my stereo, I’ve realized, so so many other things in life, not to wait until you’re old and ready to experience the world. You need to live in the now.
VFS gives me so many perfect opportunities to live in the now by creating such a heavy workload and educational system that you can’t help but live in it every moment of every day. Not in the unbalanced work/life way that career paths can take people but more in the way that the program is designed to make you experience design in the real world. As a graphic designer prior to landing in Vancouver, I was already trained to take in the visual static world. Now I’m also quickly becoming adept at analyzing and cataloging for later use the audio, and motion design that enriches our lives on a daily basis. I’m so excited to be alive during this time on earth when so many new technologies are being born.
I know it sounds cliche, but I feel like I’m living happily ever after. Not the happily ever after where you’re rescued by a dashingly handsome prince on a white horse, from a burning tower where you’ve been captive by an ugly troll for the last five years of your life; but close to it. The part that’s been missing for so long, I’ve found it. It’s being taught to me every day at VFS. It’s being cultured to be the very best that I can be, and I’m enjoying ever second of it.
Well, perhaps not every second. When I get my filming releases in late, and I’m either not getting an answer or being told I’ll have to wait one month for an answer when the term is over, those seconds aren’t so nice. But the rest of the 59, 400 seconds (that’s 16.5 hours) in a day are filled with so many great things about design, project management, self improvement and bits and pieces of this wonderful city that I live it, they more than make up for the few trying ones. Hard work, and little sweat on the brow never hurt anyone. I’m happy to report that I’m just at the beginning of a long marathon and I’m pretty confident I’m going to finish with more eagerness than I started with. I’m flexing my design muscles, and while they might be sore right now, they’re gradually getting bigger. Just wait and see, I’m going to be ripped by the end of the year!