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When starting and running your own studio, tough studio decisions are well, tough. lol. But they can be easier! Having a vision for the studio is like having someone you trust tell you what to do when times are rough.

Except that it’s yourself, in a better state of mind, thinking only about the things that matter most to you.

An ego-free, guided decision making process

You could call this guiding voice the unified consensus on the values that leads you in times of difficulty. The great thing about having this unified consensus, is the collaborative ego-free, guided approach to problem solving it inevitably fosters in the studio.

Heated discussions always have an avenue to escape and re-align amicably via the shared studio vision. Effectively allowing the studio to function and progress as a single whole unit, while respecting the sum of its’ parts. Basically, if there’s no ego in a decision, there’s nobody to blame. This allows tough studio decisions an ‘easy’ path through a goal-oriented process..

Remove the ego and lighten the process

Refraining from asking questions to the self like “am I making the right choice”, and instead asking the question of “which works better for our vision” helps the ego gracefully exit from a decision making process. And in its place, invite a collaborative focus on progress. When properly exercised over time, there should be less ‘score-keeping’ and more ‘we-winning’.

Triangulate your own guide

It helps to break your vision down into its main pillars so we can triangulate our position more accurately.

Your vision may have one or two main points. Perhaps even three to four? It doesn’t really matter how many, just know that these points are the ‘guiding stars’, so you probably want to keep it down to maybe two or three.

Our vision for Masonry has three main points, and it just so happens that there seems to be some magical power to three. 😛

Triangulation time!

“To build a creative environment that provides artists a sustainable route to a meaningful career, producing future-ready, high-quality CGI global work.”

We have three main points in our vision that triangulate and help navigate our way towards our goals. Tough studio decisions are usually made clear when referenced truthfully and accurately to these points:

Is what we are doing/not doing helping to:

  1. Build a Creative Environment?
  2. Pave a Sustainable Route to a Meaningful Creative Career?
  3. Produce Future-ready, high-quality CGI global work?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all, we obviously continue/proceed. But if there is a ‘no’ to even one of the questions, the decision is always to align the situation such that it’s a ‘yes’ to all of the above. The tricky part is answering each question truthfully and accurately.

It’s worth noting that it’s actually easier to bend the truth to suit the self than most like to admit. Usually, some solid self-reflection helps clarify things. Occasionally however, it’s difficult to tell ‘crazy’ from ‘visionary’ because sometimes, nobody understands your vision, yet.

So it’s—probably—okay to be crazy for a while, but perhaps if nobody gets you after 5 years, It might be time to dial it back a notch lol.

In general, there’s a certain muscle somewhere in our brains (and hearts) we can train to identify whether we are being truthful or not. And if you ask me, it’s some special blend between personal and social reflection. ‘Cause you know, no man is an island.

Within each pillar of the vision, there’s always a heap of crap to unpack. And if we don’t unpack these goodies, we might not actually know what we are working towards. So the more we understand about our own pillars, the more accurate our answer to these questions can become!

Like for example, in our case, if not having a particular set of hardware is stopping us from producing future-ready, high-quality CGI global work, then we are going to purchase it. See? Easy. 😝

Our brand new render farm. 3 x physical servers providing virtualized total of 10 x 3080Ti GPU render nodes and 10 CPU render nodes.

‘Easy’ is relative

Having a great vision doesn’t automagically make tough decisions become ‘easy’ per-se, but in relative comparison to mulling over whether you should or should not do something, having a good understanding of your vision definitely makes the path to reaching your goals clearer and easier.

So for our next share, I’d like to dive in and explore each of our three pillars and why it’s important that they are deeply meaningful. See: Starting your own studio — Share #3: Three pillars make a studio!

Nicholas Chia

Author Nicholas Chia

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Masonry Studios Pte. Ltd. | 81 Ubi Avenue 4 UB. One #03-21 Singapore 408830 | Company Registration No. 201618786D