This blog post is kind of interesting: Tough Love, Tomino Style.

A student dreams of becoming an artist, I guess drawing for anime, and asks a professional (Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tominom, to be specific) for advice. The advice ends up being something like: “Turn back! Dreaming is not enough in this industry! It is too labor intensive! Abandon all hope and choose a more normal life with less ambition! And also remember to practice.” That’s my vague summation. It might be a bit wrong, but that’s the vibe I was getting.

I’ve actually had a similar experience (it was quite a bit different, but similar). When I was in college, I asked on a forum for advice about becoming a video game designer in terms of how to spend my time in college. The answer was something like: “You seem like you’re too lazy. Change your attitude, get good grades, work really hard, and maybe something will happen, but probably not.” (I don’t think very many successful people hung out on the forums. Usually successful professionals are too busy for forum visiting, eh?)

These responses are technically accurate. Achieving your dreams might take an enormous amount of work, and there might be no guarantee at all of success, especially if you want to become something very few people can statistically be, like a film director or a movie star or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (we can only have, at most, 500 of those).

But I think these responses miss the point of the question. I don’t think the asker is asking for philosophical advice on balancing lofty dreams and ambitions with a healthy physical and mental lifestyle, or is assuming that the key to success is a simple matter of some unknown secret that a successful pro could write in a letter. (Though I guess there are a number of people out there who buy certain books for this reason.)

Instead, I think the asker is asking for practical advice; what school should I go to? What exactly should I study and practice? What sort of job might I start with?

The advice giver might have useful advice. For example, an animator might say “Check out Animation Mentor, they have a great animation learning program!” Perhaps the advice giver could recount how he got into the industry and found his position, even if it seems unlikely that the same path would work for anyone else. It might be a position that there is no direct path to because the field is highly competitive, such as film scoring. The advice giver could say that. “This field is highly competitive and there’s a lot of luck involved, so I can’t really give you much advice.”

Is that so hard?

Why do advice givers jump to assume that the asker needs the cold splash of reality that says “your lofty dreams probably won’t come true, so consider giving up.” What idiot sits there with broken dreams lamenting “why didn’t anyone tell me it would be so hard? I would’ve listened if only someone had only told me to give up!”


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