Name of Professional: Howard Kelley
Profession: Storyboard Artist
Date of Interview: 09/29/16
My first interview was conducted with Howard Kelley, a Freelance Commercial Storyboard Artist. I was hoping to learn exactly what storyboard artists did and how a freelance job worked from the interview. Being unsure about the exact field of art I was want to pursue, I hoped to learn what differentiated storyboarding from other forms of art. I believe learning about a diverse set of jobs careers enables me to make an informed decision about what I would like to pursue.
During the interview, I learned the basics of freelance work. I was introduced to the importance of networking in freelance. Social skills are necessary in building relationships with those who will possibly hire the artist. Mr. Kelley explained that a director is more likely to hire whomever he or she has worked with in the past, whom he or she knows is reliable, and most importantly someone who works well with the director’s team. Not only did I learn about the value of social skills to find and secure employment, but also to build connections with other artists. There is a large sense of community between artists. Most help each other find work and new opportunities. This quite encouraging, being someone who enjoys holding conversations with others I imagine being involved in the community of artists around me could be highly beneficial to help me find employment and create lasting relationships that would enable new opportunities.
I was not only taught the basics of Freelance, but also its intricacies. Artists have to build a business. They have to advertise themselves and their work to the world. Making sure the artist is one of the first results in a google search of “storyboard artists” will allow for more opportunities to the artist. To advertise one’s self well will ensure opportunities. I find this would be incredibly fun, for a lack of a better word, to do. To put myself out in the world and be contacted by someone who wants my work would mean the world to me. So I would surely make sure I stand out among other artists when advertising myself. I have always enjoyed demonstrating myself and my work to others.
I also managed to learn about the tough challenges of Freelance work. The artists are reliant on job centers. Artist like can Mr. Kelley face months of “downtime” and other months of superfluous opportunities. Most producers will only create commercials, movies, and TV shows on whichever place is cheapest, so those who live there will find more opportunities than those who do not. This means freelance artists have to be prepared to find secondary sources for money. “Odd jobs” that will keep them sustained until new opportunities arise. This is the most discouraging aspect of the work to me, this constant pressure to make sure to have a job. That at any moment the artists could find themselves in need of money. I would never want to be in a situation where I feel like I have to work two or three jobs that have nothing to do with my passion. Which means that if I were to choose freelance work I will have to focus on building a successful business and good connections to ensure myself employment.
The most invigorating part of my interview with Mr. Kelley was discussing his story. Mr. Kelley has worked in Storyboarding for years and has sacrificed opportunities to raise his daughter in a safe environment with valuable opportunities. Most inspiring, was knowing he survived cancer, and after months of being sick went straight back to work. He did not let the disease define him. From what I gathered, he was most importantly a father, then an artist. His story is motivating and it showed me that it is normal to be insecure about the future. He showed me that all one needs to do is to take one step at a time to make sure they do their best to achieve their goals.