These past couple weeks I’ve reflected on our senior project a lot, a great deal of “where did we go wrong”‘s and “what could we have done differently/better?” and “what change could I have affected that I didn’t?”
Disclaimer: I feel like this can’t be entirely honest since we 1. Have not yet finished senior project and can therefore not be completely objective/ we don’t even know the full extent of our work yet and 2. I have not yet been given a grade my you (Rob/Abishek) or our adviser so I’m not going to be as honest as I could be.
3 THINGS THAT WERE DONE RIGHT
- Boy howdy did we do a project, did we make and produce a thing. That alone is an accomplishment, right? We worked, a lot. Lots of hours and effort and tears went into this project. Regardless of the end result (which is still unclear beacause haven’t yet finished) we put a lot into it.
- Soft Pastels and sweet plants. These were big deals to me so I’m happy we ended up with the aesthetic we did. It was soft and gentle and ethereal and it makes me happy to look at and that is important.
- Fall term. Fall term was super solid for us. We were flowing with creative ideas and momentum. We did good work and constantly. We were on point. While we weren’t able to maintain that momentum throughout the year, I am proud of the work we did in the beginning.
3 THINGS THAT WERE DONE BADLY
- Pretty poor communication. Our team struggled a lot with poor communication that i think got in the way of our own productivity and well-being. Things weren’t always clear, and I know I often felt out of the loop, not sure what was going on when, which hindered my ability to have input on things. That was frustrating. Things got done without everyone knowing about it which made things very tense at times. Messages weren’t always relayed or recieved and it caused a lot of tension which affected the overall feeling surrounding our project. And when you feel crappy going into a project, and you lose any semblance of passion for a project, it affects the quality & quantity of work put in. We also didn’t know how to talk to each other always. We got in fights and shut each other out, it wasn’t always clear how to approach each other when feelings were hurt. I know I struggled with this a lot. I might be oversensitive to things but I often felt like people were pitted against each other, and felt like my feelings were getting hurt a lot.
- We were led astray early and often. This problem was the biggest thing I reflect back on in terms of “where did we go wrong? What could’ve been done better?” Like I said earlier, we had a very solid start in fall term. We came into the year with a fully realized story. It was concise, wimple, and short. And most importantly, completely finished and storyboarded and turned into an animatic by our very first faculty presentation. And then, came the feedback. Endless critiques that more often than not were not constructive but only served to challenge our story simply to challenge it. We tore our story apart countless times. We were changing it into winter term. It hindered a lot of production because so much depended on our story. And the thing is, I don’t think our story now is any better than our very first original story. We convoluted our own idea and I really only think this hindered us. We spent way too much time hung up on story that we feel behind, and spent the rest our project rushing and catching up.
- This is a topic that really gets me mad. The animation program here has no formal story telling class, no focus on it in our major at all. They tore us apart time and time again taking away our focus from the actual production of our class. If this program cares so much about story, then make a class. Teach us.
- I think besides story this happened a lot inside our team as well. We had no organized sense of pipeline and lacked a central leadership guiding us in the right direction. But again, there is a lot I will not talk about while this project and class is still ongoing.
- We were working against our natural strengths/weaknesses. We are a small team and it is hard to get so much done with so few people. But for all of winter and spring term I don’t think we did it correctly. This ties into the other two topics but I think we went about the project all wrong. I voiced this a lot throughout the process but I felt pretty alone in my point of view. We basically split up all the work evenly instead of dissecting who is good (and bad) at what and planning accordingly. I think it lead to inconsistencies in our project and majorly hindered our productivity. A lot of times, it didn’t feel like a team project, rather, 5 consecutive projects stacked next to each other. We split the story up into fives parts and everyone was completely responsible for their chunk. I think in general our pipeline was nonexistent and we lacked the organization to reach our full potential . I think we also had really different standards and priorities which again, could have been a good thing for us — all of us focusing on different aspects and areas of the project and bringing it all together — but we lacked the organization and communication skills to make this work for us.
3 THINGS I DID DONE LEARNED
- How to be more adaptable. I have bad work ethic and am too emotionally invested in things. My productivity is directly related to my passion and emotions. While this can be a good thing, (When I am passionate about something I can create hella good stuff) more often than not, it wasn’t. I have been working on being more adaptable. When things do not go my way, how to find my niche. When things change suddenly and drastically how to mentally adjust without stress crying a bunch first. Just trying to be a better team player.
- Learning new software — Marvelous deisgner & mental ray! Just kidding, it was Renderman. Just kidding, it was Maya hardware 2.0
- How to detach myself from my earthly vessel
- Sometimes you just gotta let go, you know?
Anyways. Senior project was a thing. Now it’s almost over. Both excited to be done and terrified for the due date.