This speech went over very well. In Toastmasters, you're given this sheet with tear-off strips that you can use to give people feedback. I got so many of those after this speech and it was all positive. It felt like when you're in elementary school and get the most Valentine's Day cards (when you could be selective, before the participation trophy era).
This speech is about how staying up all night is not something she does very often because it has consequences.
I had a good amount of interesting experiences when I lived in South Korea and I wanted to tell you guys about one of my infamous stories. As many of you know, I lived in South Korea for two years. Since the country is so small, a 3 to 4-hour bus ride can take you anywhere. So one weekend, I went to the city of Daejeon to hang out with my fraternity brothers. One lived in Daejeon and the other, my friend, Louis, lived in Busan, which was about an hour away. I lived in Gwangju, which was about a 4-hour bus ride.
We had a good time, went out to a few bars, danced and played pool. It’s getting close to 4am so Louis says that instead of heading out and finding somewhere to stay, he thinks we should just keep hanging out and around 6am or so, we can just head home. I agreed. I can always fall asleep on the bus and then take a nap when I get home.
After 6 plus years of putting it off, I decided to join Toastmasters last September. A lot of people are familiar with Toastmasters, but for those of your who are not, it is a public speaking organization that has clubs all around the world. Something that I didn't realize before I joined was the opportunities to improve your leadership skills as well, which is nice.
I got the idea to start sharing my Toastmaster's speeches since they are usually centered around South Korea or animation. And since a lot of them have hilarious stories, I also wanted to have a place I was documenting said stories. So I'll be posting my Toastmasters' speeches as I do them. I have already done 5 speeches out of my Competent Communicator manual, so I'll publish those now.
Your first speech is called your Icebreaker, so here is mine. I titled it "A Life of Animation".
Something that artists need to remember is that you have to push yourself in order to get better. It definitely helps when there’s a project where other people are counting on you to finish by a deadline. No better way to push through a challenge when procrastination is not an option.
When I worked at Digital eMation, I had the opportunity to work on a myriad of great projects. The TV shows we worked on were Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Scooby Doo. One day, I finished up one of my many projects. I went to my supervisor to see what I would be working on next. She asked me if I wanted to model a snake for Scooby Doo or a batmobile for Family Guy. Because I wanted a challenge, I chose the batmobile.
Otherwise known as "the time I thought I was going back to America". I went over how I got my job at Digital eMation, a Korean animation company, here. I also did a follow-up post. So, now that I have the job, I needed to get the appropriate visa. When you go to Korea as a native English teacher, you have an E-2 visa. When you come as a specialist in certain industries, you need to get an E-7 visa. There are several things you need when applying for an E-7 visa and you can read about them here. I can tell you right now, that neither me nor my vice president knew about all of this so that’s what made the trip a little interesting.
I made it!! I'm finally working at an animation company. These are my thoughts back in 2010. I was on a team of about 10 people; two modelers, five animators; and three compositors who were also supervisors. I was a modeler.
When I started, they were using a program called Softimage XSI. I had never even heard of this program before. But I am always up for a challenge. My director, Eddie, sat down with me and showed me around Softimage. He showed me the navigation and some tools. He then told me to give it a try. At that point, I decided to find a tutorial that would help me get acclimated with the program.
I searched online and found a jellyfish tutorial. It took me a couple hours to get through the tutorial and I called Eddie back over. He approved. Now I wanted to know what I was to do next? Bam! My first real assignment. On my first day! He gave me a scene that had the Family Guy neighborhood in it. We were working on the "Road to the North Pole" episode, so my assignment was to put snow on the houses. It took me TWO WEEKS to put snow on those houses. Don't worry. I got much faster over time and was able to add another weapon into my animation arsenal.
I wrote about how I got my job working at Digital eMation and that was followed by a lot of good questions and things that I realized I should share with people for clarity purposes. One thing I wanted to mention; I was the first foreigner that worked for Digital eMation directly. There were Canadian supervisors, but they worked directly for Fox. So I was the first international minion, as I used to say!
Was it a culture shock?
I was very appreciative to have gotten my start teaching because that's where I learned a lot about Korean culture. That first year was when I came up with my theory that helped me survive Korea.
"If it doesn't make sense, it makes sense in Korea." - Deborah Anderson's consciousness
I'm also very observant so that helped me in explaining how things work, what to let go and what to bring up. I remember once, I emailed the vice president because when we were eating lunch or when we were congregated together, there would be times where I heard my name over and over again, but they weren't talking to me. One thing a person in a foreign country knows is that, even if you don't know the language and what people are saying, you know what your name sounds like. So I messaged her just to tell her that I felt uncomfortable constantly hearing my name when they weren't talking to me. What they were saying could have been innocent, but since I didn't know what it was, it was awkward. It stopped after that.
I survived a lot of differences by justifying the heck out of what they were doing. Sometimes it was less stressful to find out the reason or make up a reason than dwelling on any particular issue.
Check out my follow-up post after reading this one: More About Working at an Animation Company in South Korea
From 2010 to 2011, I was a 3D Artist at Digital eMation, an animation company in Seoul, South Korea. From the time, I started, people have wondered how I got the job; what job board or website did you use? Well, I definitely took the road less traveled.
When I came to South Korea, I came as a native English teacher and worked in Gwangju (Jeollanamdo) which is the sixth largest city in Korea. It was coming up on the time where you decide if you're going to renew your teaching contract. Being a teacher in Korea is kind of like being in a dream world. You have four classes a day and weekends off. With the cost of living, you can save half of your income and still eating out every day. It's easy to forget your actual dreams when your life is relatively easy and money is aplenty. Considering all of this, I was seriously thinking about doing a second year of teaching.
I went to visit a friend and while talking to him about it, he reminded me, "Don't you have a degree in animation?" And I responded, "Oh yeah!" It was kind of a wake up call. I was almost sucked into the black hole of the Korea dreamland. I had to remember and realize that no matter what industry you're in, the longer you stay away, the harder it will be to get your big break. And you ultimately get further behind your peers that are "doing it". At that moment, I decided that I wasn't going to renew my contract and I was moving back to America.
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