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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » working hours. . .a question for the pros

   
Author Topic: working hours. . .a question for the pros
Derek
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For some damn reason I wake up at 9:00am every day and can NOT get my butt to work until around 2:00pm. It's like I live my day in reverse. When people are up and at' em working in the morning, I am relaxing. When people come home from work and want to relax, I am super motivated and focused. Right now I work freelance. But even when I had a full time job as a graphic designer, no matter how many cups of coffee I drank, I would just go through the motions in a zombie-like haze until late afternoon. Almost like, no matter how much time I have to wake up in the morning, I am never REALLY awake until 2:00pm.

Some times it messes with me. Because I'll be up, showered, with 2 cups of coffee in me by 10:00, and I would rather stare at the wall for 3 hours than pick up a pencil in the morning. I will literally pace around my apartment all morning to avoid doing work. Then, like clockwork, at some point in the late afternoon, I will get motivated enough to put a movie on and sit down to work. Then it is like BAM! I will be off and running until midnight.

Are there any other night owls here? How do you deal with it, especially if you are a full time studio employee? Do any of you guys have to deal with weird productivity cycles. . .how does it affect your family/dating life?

Derek

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OFFBEAT
IE # 39
Member # 873

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A lot of artists are night owls. Myself included.

But I have to work during the day. I get into work at 10.. but don't really start drawing well/fast until 3pm
and by the time 7 rolls around, I don't want to leave, because I get so much done.

If I worked 3- midnight or 6pm to 3pm.. i'd probably double my production.

But like i've always said.. if they managed screenwriters like artists .. they'd say.. "Your resume says you can type 60 words per minute.. so I expect to see a 11,000 word script on my desk in three hours. NO GRAMMATICAL ERRORS OR TYPE-O'S!!"


.. I think it's because of the lack of outside distractions. I think this way, because.. when I lived in Michigan, my artistic productivity skyrocketed in the winter time. When I didn't want to leave the house. Most art is products of depression. When I moved to sunny California... fun in the sun.. it's hard to be depressed or make indoor time here.. there's so much to do!

Also, when it's late, it's cooler. It's hard to work in a hot apartment. It's also quieter. No cars driving by.. no weed wackers or leaf blowers.. no co-workers.. no secretaries.

If I had my choice.. i'd love to work at night, and sleep during the day. I know i'd be a lot more productive.

The downside.. the normals like to do their yardwork.. in the middle of your night.

Art and animation requires so much concentration. Working in a noisy office is hell. I wear headphones.. cause listening to one source of noise is better than multiple. And this year.. I bought leaf blower head phones.. mostly to block out noise. My ears get sweaty.. but small price to pay for concentration.

Having it Quiet, cool temperatures, and no distractions I think are the elements behind my nocturnal clock.

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"Get Rich, or Die Drawing!"

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-FP-
IE # 13
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Freelancing at home means you can work when it's best for you. As long as you meet deadlines, it's great for everybody.

If you're a night person and you work in a studio with "regular business hours", you're kind of hosed. If you don't show up and do as you're told, you get bounced, just like at any non-civil service job.

Freelancing at weird hours does not affect my "socializing" because I'm a danged hermit. Get off my proppity. Slide anything important through that busted place in the door.

[ February 27, 2008, 03:31 PM: Message edited by: Mod Too ]

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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I'm a night person as well. go to bed around 4am,
get up around 11am. I can easily get a whole days work done between 11pm and 4am. the day time is for phone calls, emails and meetings as well as the not so fun technical and business aspects of what I do. night time is for art and creating...unless the deadline is thick then its hardly any sleep and working all the time. if I have to take an early meeting I just lose sleep. its about the balance.

I want to kill the dudes with the leaf blowers though.

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contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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Much like Snakebite, I'm usually up until 3am, and could easily sleep until 11am if my dog didn't get sick of waiting for her breakfast by 10. [Wink]

This schedule is fine now that I'm on my own. When I worked in the majors, I went to bed at 2 after taking care of my indie stuff, got myself into the office by 10 and worked until 7pm or so. I got by on 5-6 hours of sleep most nights.

Kevin Geiger

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spacelobster
IE # 278
Member # 3391

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Getting to bed before 3AM is quite a rarity for me. There seems to be no way I can get to sleep early, I can only stay up later.

Sometimes I temporarily re-set my schedule by pushing bed-time later and later until I'm waking up in the early hours, 2AM or so. I get fantastic work done on that schedule, but I haven't kept it up for more than a week yet.

At school I did a kind of rotating 30-hr schedule and fit sleep around everything else and took power naps. It was the best schedule ever. I really cranked work like that. Unfortunately, paying rent and meeting other people's deadlines gets in the way outside of school.

Having class obligations and a community of people waiting was really motivating. Now, working freelance at home, it's tough to be motivated. It's a pretty new thing and I'm not adjusted to it, but it does help a lot to make an effort to get out of the house. I'm studying a self-employ taxes book in a cafe pretty regularly right now.

For a long term solution to this motivation problem, I'm working together w/7 other creative people to rent a warehouse and set up a co-work space with studios. It seems to be a growing thing here in San Fran, there was a news article about it last week.

We have an LLC and are meeting weekly about progress. We're writing bylaws, electing officers (I'm treasurer), hunting spaces for rent and checking out the market, talking about funding and investors, and have a party this weekend for the public to come talk about what we're doing and meet prospective members. I have a regular ad on craigslist looking for another animator to share a space and possibly go in together on contracts, got a promising response from a super talented animator yesterday. Exciting.

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Mr. Fun
IE # 63
Member # 352

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I worked a regular nine to six while working at Disney and Pixar. Most mainstream studios expect employees to show up for work.

Things were different when I ran my own shop. My hours were my own, and that was cool. I especially liked to edit during evening hours. My editor and I would sometimes cut film all night, sneaking out for a cup of coffee at some all night diner. I really loved those days, and that schedule.

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wittytoon
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I too am a night worker mostly...usually up till 3 am or so. My problem is I have a day job as an animator on games where lately I've been working overtime and then go home to work on my own stuff or freelance. Unfortunately I can only do this routine in spurts. After a couple weeks of getting
4 hours of sleep I have to take a few days to reset, and start the whole thing all over again.

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Brent
http://wittytoon.blogspot.com/

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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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When I was supervising at Disney, I understood that people had different internal clocks, and tried to accommodate whenever possible. As long as folks in my departments arrived between 8am and 10am, worked an 8-hour day, and departed between 5pm and 7pm, we were cool. And I tried to keep meetings between the hours of 10am and 5pm as much as possible.

I actually believe that all meetings should be scheduled within the hours of 10-11 and 2-5. It's inhumane to set meetings first thing in the morning, just before lunch, just after lunch, or at the very end of the day. Plus, 4 hours a day is PLENTY to work with. If you're meeting more than that (you know who you are), you don't have enough real work to do. [Wink]

Kevin Geiger

P.S. - If you're attending lunch meetings, and you work at a union shop... that's O.T. dudes! It doesn't matter if they feed you lobster, they owe you time-and-a-half if you're working your 8 in addition to that.

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Mr. Fun
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Member # 352

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If I were to ever run a studio again the first thing I would do is abolish all meetings. Well, maybe not all. I would allow meetings to last no longer than ten minutes - - and everybody would have to stand.

Do you realize how much time is wasted in meetings?! I attended a meeting at my old beloved Disney, and I was amazed how much nonsense goes on in meetings. Everything that was accomplish in that hour long meeting could have been done in five minutes.

I really don't care when or how an artist does his or her work as long as they meet their deadline. Everything else is nonsense.

By the way, I liked what Kevin said about "Lunch Meetings."

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OFFBEAT
IE # 39
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feh.. meetings.
The worst way to waste time.
Meetings were invented by chicks to continue the childhood tradition of forcing guys to have a tea party... but instead of tea.. you get mind numb.

I always hit up the job boards after a meeting.. looking for a job that doesn't have that in the job description.

That, and making reports of your hours. I should post some of the ones i've turned in over the years.. comedy gold!

 -
There's scientific proof behind this poster...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17279961/
Exerpt:
Meetings make us dumber, study shows
Brainstorming sessions backfire when group thinking clouds decisions

People have a harder time coming up with alternative solutions to a problem when they are part of a group, new research suggests.

Scientists exposed study participants to one brand of soft drink then asked them to think of alternative brands. Alone, they came up with significantly more products than when they were grouped with two others.

The finding could be good news for advertisers who buy spots during big events like the Super Bowl, since consumers often view those commercials with others.

--------------------
"Get Rich, or Die Drawing!"

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Jasen
IE # 129
Member # 2721

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lol, I like that idea about everyone should stand in a meeting.
Glad to see people talking about this.

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http://jasenstrong.artstooge.com/
http://jasenstrong.blogspot.com/

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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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Ha! Right on, Mr. Fun! [cheers]

Funny you should mention the five-minute meeting. When I worked on the "Fantasia" sequel, our digital supervisor prided himself on never holding a meeting longer than 5 minutes (true story)! [Smile]

I've been in meetings where the manager or AP sat there and ran out the clock with useless BS, simply because they had reserved the room for an hour. [Roll Eyes] Only they didn't consider it a waste of time.

Eventually, I realized why. It has to do with a fundamental difference between artists and management. When you are an artist, meetings interfere with your work. When you are a manager, meetings ARE your work. And you get nervous when you're not running one. [Wink]

There's no meeting topic that should take longer than 20 minutes to address. If it does take longer, it usually means that things are going in on the room that are better addressed prior or elsewhere.

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Animation Co-op
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Member # 3421

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quote:
That, and making reports of your hours.
Another one of my "favorites". [Roll Eyes]

Managers who require you to make reports of your hours are generally the ones who you never see out-and-about on the production floor: so "busy" sequestered in their offices and/or consumed with meetings that they remain almost willfully out of touch with the work of their crews.

You know who you are. [Razz]

Kevin Geiger

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KevinO
IE # 36
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But what about the donuts and bagels Mr. Fun?? [Big Grin]
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Mr. Fun
IE # 63
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Very good, KevinO.

Donuts and bagels are okay because you can still eat them at your desk. No wasted time.

By the way, I still bring tea cakes (from Martino's bakery) to Disney once a week. Usually on Tuesday or Thursday. It's a Disney tradition I still honor even though I don't even work there full time.

Some old habits die hard.

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strawberry
IE # 28
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any of you night owls still up?
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Animation Co-op
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I am.
KG

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Jasen
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quote:
any of you night owls still up?
Here!! 4:56 am (chicago time)!! & loving every minute of it, drawing in my P.J.'s!!

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http://jasenstrong.artstooge.com/
http://jasenstrong.blogspot.com/

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Derek
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Funny you should bring up the clouded thinking in meetings. I honestly believe that works in most "discussion" situations involving more than three people. And the more intelligent the individuals, the dumber the group. I have no idea why, but I will tell you how I know. I had the "privilege" of getting into a set design program at Yale. I would sit through hours of critiques and discussions where "intelligent" people would weave an elaborate tapestry of circular logic that would ultimately lead the group back to square one after hours of convoluted nonsense. Many a time, when my brain was through being prison raped, I would sit alone for an hour, eating a burrito and wondering what the hell I was doing there. I think one of my old professors convinced me that it would look great on my resume and help get me where I want to be.

ha ha Notice that my post says "a question for the pros". . .that is because I am still not one. ha ha I guess I'll cry myself to sleep at 5:00am tonight.

Derek

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jupeykrusho
IE # 273
Member # 3227

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wow!

I'm just the opposite of most here.

I like getting up at 4 or 5 am and working in silence and isolation before daily stresses and annoyances weigh me down.

Only downside is when I hit the town for dancin'...until 3 or 4 am...up for 24 hours ain't pretty.

http://www.jupeykrusho.com
http://www.jupeykrusho.blogspot.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jupeykrusho

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http://www.jupeykrusho.com

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Mr. Fun
IE # 63
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Anyone who's ever done "crunch time" on an animated feature film knows what it's like to work nights. I don't know how it is today, but everybody use to work long hours at most mainstream studios.

I remember people working nights and weekends at Disney. When we were doing "Toy Story2" at Pixar, it was super crunch time, and I remember sitting in front of Starbucks in Point Richmond waiting for my head to clear. I was in such a stupor I missed a meeting with John Lasseter. I doubt if John even noticed.

I still work at night even though I don't have to. I think I miss those days.

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devourax
IE # 275
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man...i must be in left field somewhere.

My brain turns off after the 10:00 news. I find my "best creative" hours are in the early morning hrs.

I am a family man. I like to be home at dinner with the family by 6pm every day.
Considering that I have been in the 3d film/ game/ entertainment industry for over 12 years, I have kept basically consistant hours like 7am - 4pm. I get to see my kids before work, and have time to play and have fun with them after work.

I feel pretty lucky about that.

Of course there are always some deadline exceptions ...but overall, I like that I have seen my kids grow up.

-dev

p.s. I completely avoid caffeine....I dont need something screwing up my internal time clock....

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Devourax
http://devourax.blogspot.com/

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Kahuna
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If left to a strictly free-lance schedule I think I would maintain my inborn night owl-hood, but commuting under Big Studio schedules, I found I got more done in the early hours before the meetings started. Getting in before 7-7:30, I could beat the traffic AND I would get at least two solid hours of quiet productive work before the phone started ringing. Then I could get home at a decent hour and see my kids before they went to bed... [guitar]
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Animation Co-op
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quote:
When we were doing "Toy Story2" at Pixar, it was super crunch time
I know a lot of animators who ruined their wrists on that show.

Hey Derek, here's a tip: whenever an "old professor" gives you resume advice, do the OPPOSITE. [Wink]

KG

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SNAKEBITE
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I missed out on the late night call. was up untill 4:30 this morning. got a lot done, even some time on personal stuff. yeah, personal stuff!!!

--------------------
contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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tstevens
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If I'm working at home I almost always get up at 8:00 AM and start working by 8:30. Lunch comes around 12:30PM and then I work till about 6:00. If I'm trying to meet a deadline I'll get back to work after my wife goes to sleep (about 10:00PM) and I'll work till 1:00AM or so. If I do it right, I can get about 12 hours work in a day without feeling like I neglected my wife or sleep.

The worst part about working at home is being disciplined about taking a shower! I can't count the number of times I rolled out of bed and walked straight over to the drawing board. Working around my dog can be a pain to: sometimes he thinks that if I'm at home it means that he should be scratched every ten minutes.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Animation Co-op
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...and without a shower you're probably busy scratching yourself every ten minutes! [Big Grin]

Kevin

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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HAHAHA, I can't do anything without a shower. I'm metro that way.

but yeah, making time for your loved ones is key.
I use to work all the time. no such thing as weekends. just work work work. it took a strain on
my relationship, now I make sure to turn off the computer when the lady comes home and turn it back on when she goes to bed. weekends are free now unless Im on a huge deadline, but she doesn't trip
since I make the time when Im not.

--------------------
contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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roger
IE # 141
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Funn to see that most of us seem to like working in peace and quiet. And like getting work done.

I am definatly a night owl, no good in the morning. I do the boring stuff like hour registration and e-mail stuff.

Since my daughter has been born i am home a lot more and try and work more regular hours. Also there are signs that i have neglected and have played up very recently (Ischias: Sciatic Nerve or Sciatica) and floorded me for a while.

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http://www.canvas.nl

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dermot
IE # 193
Member # 1575

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hmmmmm

personally I like mornings much better .

for the last couple of years I tried a downtown leased studio space on my own and I loved going in anywhere from 4:30 to 6:00 am . There's plenty of light to see everything but the world is almost completely asleep.....you kind of feel a bit like Charleton Heston in Omega Man but it's nice to get a couple or three hourse of casual work and organizing over with before the day begins . Turn off the phone and just make progress on your personal stuff before the 8 hours that belong to clients .

I'm never that caught up in my home office with my kids looking for attention .


I'm not big on meetings

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http://zoomfrog.blogspot.com/

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