Mo-Graph Mentor

My First Mentor

When I was just starting out in media communications, I took an unpaid internship with a production team in Cooper City, FL. I knew I needed work experience and to build a portfolio if I had any chance to make a living doing production or design work. I’m incredibly grateful to the individuals who made that internship possible, because the truth about internships is, you create more work for them, than you give them in value.

With the amount of time it took them to teach me how to use software or how to approach project workflow, they could have simply done those things themselves. They weren’t cashing in on unpaid labor, they were investing in each of us, so that one day we could bring value to productions and hopefully make a living doing what we enjoyed. And they did this, knowing full well, that most of us would probably end up somewhere else, with some other production team cashing in on our skills and knowledge. The time and effort they put into growing our skill set could only be categorized as a gift.

One guy on the team, Phil Lashley , really took it upon himself to invest in me. I went into the internship with a specific focus on video production, but quickly began to find an interest in design and animation.

Phil didn’t speak to me about software or how to go out and get clients. He spoke to me about concepts. How to think about creative work. How to dream about ideas and evaluate the execution of those concepts. He would let me sit on an exercise ball just behind him, while he created show openers and bumpers, in After Effects and Cinema 4d.

Phil encouraged me, and was more concerned about who I was as a young man, than my specific knowledge. And thats the beauty of a mentor. It’s not about learning a specific technique or strategy, it’s far more holistic.

It assumes that success in life is about becoming someone instead of something. He wasn’t concerned if I would call myself a motion designer and take up after him, he was concerned that I was honoring my commitments and relationships in life.

Then there’s the encouragement. I was pretty intimidated the first time I saw someone use After Effects. It’s almost funny to think about now, but I was terrified by the complexity of the interface. I would see their motion designers placing graphics in 3d space and use null objects to create camera rigs. It all seemed so foreign, and although I wanted desperately to understand how it worked, I had some pretty serious doubts. Phil continued to encourage me, day by day, tearing down the 100 mile wall I had built up in my mind. With each little successful render my confidence and understanding grew.  Phil would take time and talk to me about how to make small improvements, but mostly he acted as a cheerleader. Here was this guy, who I had tremendous respect for, telling me I could do it. It made all the difference and it spurred me on to continue to learn and grow.

Success in anything requires time and hard work.  But having people in your life who are willing to openly share their experiences and encourage you along the way, can make a huge difference. Phil was my first mentor, but he wasn’t my last. I’m so grateful for the people who encouraged me and mentored me every step.

Just to name a few (it’s therapeutic to be openly grateful to the people who’ve built you up, i suggest you do the same):

  • Brandon Stall & Chris Fletcher
  • Ken Wilson & Nick Charalambous
  • Cooper & Alicia Johnson
  • Dylan Leeds

I obviously believe very strongly in the power of a mentor. I started this program for that very reason. I encourage each of you to join this program, or find a mentor somewhere in your life. It’s a fantastic position to put yourself in, to admit that you need to learn from and be encouraged by others.

For more information about our motion graphics courses, contact us today!

Tags: Motion Graphics, Motion Design, Online School for Motion Graphics, Motion Graphics Courses, Learn Motion Graphics