This is my second speech, "When You Call Leadership." Hopefully, it's more interesting to read than it was to listen to it. It has some great information that I put together, but my delivery was off for this speech. I was standing in the front of the room, in the middle of giving my speech and thing thinking, "Wow, this is a boring speech." It would be beneficial to learn how to deliver material that isn't about Korea or animation, so I will work on improving in the future.
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.
I went up to Monroe, LA to teach a 3D modeling and animation workshop at Louisiana Delta Community College. This was my first time in north Louisiana. It was an all-day workshop (9am-3pm) and we had a great time. My students were excited when their cylinders turned into tires on their cars. We mostly did modeling, but I was able to show them some animation by animated a ball and tail rig for them at the end of the session.
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 am currently trying to learn Blender 3D. This will be the 4th 3D program added to my arsenal behind Autodesk Maya, Softimage XSI and Cinema 4D. This program is very important for me to learn because it is an open-source program. Open-source means many things, but one of the most important things that it means, for my use, is that it's free. In that I'm trying to teach people animation around New Orleans and Louisiana, it will allow my outreach to stretch farther when I can teach a program that people can download on their computers at no cost to them. A lot of 3D programs can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars which is a barrier to entry.
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'm helping the guys in Troop 1911 get their animation merit badge. Here are pictures from the first session.
Yesterday, I taught a 2 hour workshop on Xavier University's campus for the New Orleans 100 Black Men chapter's mentee program. It was an awesome experience. Both kids and adults were captivated and asking plenty of questions. I taught them about the basics of animation, the different types, jobs in animation and we ended with a project. The students made flipbooks using post-it note pads. I helped them work through their ideas and there were some quality animations made. For a couple of them, my response (in my head) was, "Wow! I taught THEM how to do THAT?!" We had 3 young men that won Walmart gift cards provided by the chapter. All in all, it was a great experience and I look forward to working with them again.
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.
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