003: The next best step with Rick Ellis

For more than 10 years, Rick worked as a Motion Graphics Designer for the Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ion television, EW Scripps and Fox. They ran his work on all the top 10 markets and on cable. He also does 3D modeling and VFX work on the side. Currently, Rick is working on assets for some of the largest permanent installations of digital art in the world.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[0:46] Rick began his career as a 3D Artist on cruise ships

[4:50] “Interesting thing about working in the cruise ship world is that you work 7 day weeks. You work 10 to 16 hours a day, depending on the schedule. We used to say that you get about 3 months worth of experience for every month that you actually spend on the ship..”

[6:00] Rick shares a painful experience with a boss that he didn’t get along with and how he resolved that problem. “Being able to say no in a way that is not disrespectful or it doesn’t look like you’re trying to get out of work is a very important thing to do. Because sometimes, people don’t know how much time something actually takes or they don’t care.”

[8:48] Rick shares his most proudest project to date: Rick got to open a ship called The Disney Dream. It was the most technologically advanced ship in 2010. They had displays, screens and program management systems that were brand new. Disney bought the newest and latest stuff but not everybody knew how to use them. Rick was in Germany for about 3 or 4 months building content for LED walls that wrapped around venues, for ceilings, virtual windows and floors that lit up with content. It was very rewarding for Rick to build something for these non-standard screens. Rick got to turn the ship into his own video screen and play with it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It showed Rick that there was a lot more our there that he could make than just the career path that he had imagined. Because of that experience, Rick now works on non-standard screens all around the country, like the 50 foot screen in Comcast Center in Philadelphia or a 100 foot screen that wraps around in a semi-circle inside the US Bank Tower lobby.

[12:48] “Be confident because other people don’t necessarily know better than you do. I used to go to a lot of meetings where I would be nervous that everybody knew more than me. It turned out to be obvious relatively quickly that the reason I was in these meetings giving these talks was because they didn’t know any better. So, if there was a best practice type question, whatever I said went. Not because I was brilliant, but because I was the person in the room that knew most about it at that time.”

[13:52] ‘You would be better at something before you actually felt you were better at it. When you start out learning something, you feel uncomfortable because you don’t know what you don’t know. Then you feel a little better because you do know what you don’t know. It is this progression. By the time you’re actually good at it, your feeling about how good you’re at it hasn’t quite caught up yet.”

[15:00] “When I am unfocused or when I am having trouble coming up with an idea or a solution, one of the best things I can do is just not work on it anymore. Do something else that takes focus away from whatever it is you were working on.”

[16:28] Rick shares his habits to his success.

[17:56] “No project is ever finished, It is only abandoned.”

[19:14] Rick gives advice to those that are just starting out in a creative field. “Take the next best step.”

[23:22] “You don’t need the newest, shiniest stuff, you need to know the good technique to get there.”

[25:00] Rick shares online resources that simplify his work flow.

Resources Mentioned:

Free Private Ukramedia Facebook Group – Over 1.8k members & counting!
Pixel Lab
The DV Rebel’s Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap by Stu Maschwitz


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