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After 7 years of managing the business and recruiting talent for the Masonry Studios team, I recently made an interesting observation. It turns out that young creatives and fresh design graduates from Singapore possess a healthy self-awareness regarding their industry knowledge gaps. A recent addition to our team exemplified this, as they sought out our studio for the mentorship they couldn’t find in their previous role. Just last week, another prospective hire echoed a similar sentiment, lamenting the lack of guidance and structure in their former workplace. This highlights a common issue: freshly graduated Singaporean creatives often struggle to find adequate creative mentorship opportunities.

Making up for Lack of Industry Experience with Creative Mentorship

A mentor can help you quickly fill in the industry knowledge gaps. A successful creative, be it an animator or a motion designer, not only need to be excellent at their craft. They also need to be aware of the value they bring to the business and be able to communicate that very effectively. And how would they know if they are a fresh graduate if they are aware of the demands of the industry? Well, they wouldn’t. And that’s when mentorship comes into play.

Industry Veterans Gatekeeping. Boo.

This toxic mindset leads to withholding information and dismissing people with lesser experience but is arguably more perceptive of the next generation of consumers.

I get secondhand embarrassment when our industry veterans dismiss younger creatives due to their perceived lack of experience. Some even choose to hoard information to maintain their position in the industry. But why do they resort to such behaviour? It seems many veterans learned the ropes the hard way; it took years of trial and error, along with immense effort and sacrifice. They may believe young creatives should go through the same rite of passage, working through the night inefficiently as they once did, to truly earn their place. This toxic mindset leads to withholding information and dismissing people with lesser experience but is arguably more perceptive of the next generation of consumers. When finding creative mentorship, it’s crucial to align with industry veterans with genuine intentions, rather than those who are insecure.

Healthy Creative Career Development with Creative Mentorship

Inexperienced creatives often harbour a misconception that their compensation should directly correlate with the effort they put into their work. However, this belief is unfounded and, to be blunt, self-centred and indulgent. The essence of animation and design lies in addressing real-world challenges: advertisements must convey clear messages to promote products or brands, while furniture design aims to enhance comfort and utility within a space. It’s not a platform for self-expression, although this distinction can sometimes elude recent graduates. Consequently, this mindset can lead to feelings of victimization and resentment towards the industry.

Imagine you’ve spent a lot of time making something but it failed to fulfil the client’s objectives. Is it fair for the client to compensate you for your time?

There’s a pressing need for a recalibration of expectations. Despite being articulated here and emphasized repeatedly by figures like Chris Do advocating for value-based pricing, grasping this concept requires time and guidance for young creatives. The fundamental idea is that the worth of your work lies in its ability to address someone else’s needs. A mentor can play a crucial role in facilitating this shift in perspective.

Conclusion

In short, recognizing that young creatives in Singapore are aware of their knowledge gaps highlights the importance of mentorship. Yet, some industry veterans’ gatekeeping attitudes hinder this process. I encourage industry veterans to extend a warm welcome to young creatives, and likewise, I urge young creatives to actively seek mentorship from experienced professionals. By finding creative mentorship and reassessing how value is perceived, we can create a more supportive creative community.

Finally, on a personal note, if you’re a creative seriously looking at how to further your creative business in the Singapore CGI / VFX industry, you can easily reach me through my Instagram @ronald_fong. See you around ๐Ÿ™‚

Ronald Fong

Author Ronald Fong

A CGI animation director and educator who blends storytelling prowess with visual finesse, shaping his expertise in the creative realm. From technically-driven 3D animator to founder of Masonry Studios, he navigates challenges, shares insights, and empowers the next generation of creatives through tutorials, talks, and business wisdom.

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