Niall Carlin


Our first speaker of the semester was Niall Carlin from Double Jump Studios who came in to talk to us today after Greg introduced the module. He gave us a great insight in to what it was like to be self employed in the industry in Northern Ireland.

Notes from the talk

Niall’s talk started out from a somewhat pessimistic point of view – telling us that although we were lucky that the internet exists and we have all the answers at our fingerprints; this means that we’re no longer special because our knowledge isn’t as valuable as it was in the past.

So how do we stand out and beat the competition?

  • Brand yourself.
  • Learn the hard shit – design theory, colour theory, typography, composition, etc.
  • Expand from these base skills and learn that creative briefs don’t have one set answer – “learn skills that don’t have answers.”
  • Be willing to learn things to get jobs – even if it means getting a job as a runner and learning from those around you.

Have a hero

  • Find someone you look up to and push yourself to be more like them.
  • Accept that there will always be someone better than you and allow this to inspire you rather than making you give up – you have to make the bad stuff to improve and understand what makes things good.

Put yourself out there; join a community and share your work with them

  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – this is a creative field and you will have to share your work with a lot of people.
  • It’s all a learning process – criticism is good.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other artists for feedback or for help – fresh eyes are good and it is a good way of making contacts.

Deadlines rule your creative life and they should; you need to have a stopping point

  • If you don’t set deadlines you will keep trying to perfect parts and never finish anything.
  • Time is money in every industry – learning time management is critical.
  • As well as being able to manage time, learn how to manage people.
  • Get a big whiteboard and live in it.
  • Have stand up meetings; you’ll get shit done quicker.
  • Offer help when you  see someone struggling

Ask why, not how

  • Anyone can learn the technical side and the tools used, google can teach you the same things as if you ask how to do something.
  • Asking why lets you know the reasoning behind their creative choices, this is much more beneficial.

Don’t be the best

  • If there’s no one better than you it’s time to move on or your learning curve will slow way down.
  • Always have someone you can learn from and always be working to improve yourself
  • Push forward and learn new skills.
  • Put yourself in challenging situations  or you won’t progress.

Don’t play it safe; be tenacious and take risks. It will show you’re passionate and a valuable asset to the team.




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