How do I Approach a Professional?
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    How do I Approach a Professional?

    A few months ago I came across one of my favorite artist's phone numbers, but haven't been able to come up with a way to approach the phone call.

    I was just wondering how I could call without it being an awkward conversation that might ruin future employment opportunities if there were any.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    If you were told the number by someone who knows him you should probably mention the connection.

    I was in a pretty similar situation. I got someone's email address by someone who knew him. So I did absolutely nothing. Now I feel really bad but it's probably too late.

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    As I'm trying to get better at drawing women I spent lot of time recently looking at Aaron Lopresti's "Wonder Woman". I tripped over his blog and e-mailed him. He responded, which I thought was really cool.

    If you have an e-mail I would go that way before a phonecall, but that's just my personal attitude as opposed to knowing a particular industry standard.

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    You should probably have a reason for calling first and foremost. If you have some questions, politely ask if he/she has a moment to discuss them or when would be a good time to call back if he/she is busy. Have your thoughts organized.

    If you're just calling up to say "you're awesome", it's probably going to be awkward.

    From the way you word your question, it sounds like you got the number indirectly, so you may want to first send an email introducing yourself and explaining why you'd want to talk to them and asking when would be a good time if they're willing. It's kind of ballsy to just cold call, and the response you get can vary depending on a million things.

    The most important thing is to keep in mind that you're interrupting this person's day. That isn't necessarily bad, but it is unusual. Just ask yourself how would you want some one to approach you and what would your reaction be if you were called up by a stranger who wanted to have a conversation?

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    Call him and say you'd like to find out more about him and conduct an "information interview". Just be prepared with a list of questions. Then after you've found out about him and how he works you can gush a little.

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    I like the idea of an "Information Interview" I figured that saying "oh my god i'm your biggest fan" wouldn't sell too great. Possibly ruining any chances of further conversation.

    I have tried the email route, the artist even told me the address, and of course what happened? No response. I just wanted to know more about the art industry from the point of view of someone so influencial in it. Actually most of you already know this artist, or at least you'd hope you would seeing as how many times you've all brushed across his/her art.

    My other question is, after having my questions prepared, what hours in the day and what day of the week should I attempt to call said person?

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    I am far from being a high profile artist with a fan base or anything but I receive all kinds of e-mail inquiries, people who ask questions, advice, who want jobs from me (what?!?) who want me to review their games... someone wanted to fly to Montreal to interview me... I try to reply to all but sometimes I just don't know what to say and sometimes I just forget.

    Now imagine what someone who is a recognised artist and role model to some must receive. And to say the truth, if someone I don't know were to call me out of the blue, I know I would be quirked and possibly upset depending on what they want.

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    email them on linkedin or facebook

    calling out of the blue will get you irritation points unless, as dave mentioned, you have a very good reason.

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    I email some pros
    When am emailing them I guess is just try to keep in mind that their human just like us so be cool and just be normal like you would be with anyone else.
    So I just chill and have a normal converstation like with anyone else, I don't fire alot of questions but when I do have a question am just like "would you mind if I asked something" and then blah blah
    Also I do tell them their art is amazing but I try to do it nicely..... not to fangirl like LOL!

    Email them first asking them if they have the time then call in the time they give you, then it won't be very akward. Also just chill and talk to them like everyday friends, I think it would be pretty annoying to get a phone call and the first thing you hear is "OMFG I WORSHIP YOU!!!!"

    But.... then again thats just the way I do things and I wouldn't know very much about pros or anything really.....

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    First, check the email address. I'm the queen of typos, and it's all too easy to put a . in the wrong place, or a, instead of a ..
    Next, e-mail him again, outlining what you want to know; that way, he'll have time to think about it, or a chance to reply via email. Ask if there's a good time to call him. He may have work or family commitments.
    If all you want to do is say how good he is; stick to an email.

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    I'm not the best to get social advice from, but I still say wait for an e-mail response first.

    Calling is intrusive and this is not a person whose bridge you want burned.

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    It helps to have something specific you'd like to ask about, something specific about their work. I wouldn't bother asking for general industry advice, because A) it's probably a really common question and people get tired of getting asked the same stuff over and over again, and B) that info is already out there a million times over. However asking something specific about their work on process is bound to be both more interesting to the artist, but also more informative to you.

    I've emailed and talked to quite a few leading artists, and I'm always astounded by how approachable they are. One extremely well known artist offered me his phone number claiming he'd rather talk on the phone than email, because he could paint while on the phone but couldn't with email. I admit though, I never called because none of my questions seemed immediate enough to possibly interrupt him. Even though the artist himself offered the number, it still felt like it could be odd (although I admit to mostly hating the telephone).

    If you didn't get the number directly though I'd not use it.

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    yea, don't call. With email around nowadays, calling has turned into something a little bit personal. Definitely email, have a plan, be cool, and don't write a wall of text and u should be alright.

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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    I know it's Christmas and all, but at risk of coming off like some kind of scrooge I've got to take this opportunity to bring you a reoccurring problem I have and maybe some of the other ‘pros’ can chime in.
    I often receive emails (in fact a lot of them) from students requesting interview for
    school assignments. But, in this day and age they (the students) simply forward the questions they’ve been given
    from their instructor. Essentially asking me to type out their essay. I used to do it, but it became ridiculous, keeping in mind I was trying to give in-depth and thoughtful answers. So I would spend a portion of my day typing this out only to realize the student would simple print out my answers and hand it in.

    This just didn’t seem right. So I no longer do it. (Yeah I know I sound like a dick). But I really wish the schools would reconsider this assignment.


    dan

    edit:

    I'm worried this came off like I'm some kind of jerk. Not the case. I try to answer questions and be as helpful as I can, God knows countless artists have helped me. It's just that f*cking interview assignment that drives me nuts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Milligan View Post
    I know it's Christmas and all, but at risk of coming off like some kind of scrooge I've got to take this opportunity to bring you a reoccurring problem I have and maybe some of the other ‘pros’ can chime in.
    I often receive emails (in fact a lot of them) from students requesting interview for
    school assignments. But, in this day and age they (the students) simply forward the questions they’ve been given
    from their instructor. Essentially asking me to type out their essay. I used to do it, but it became ridiculous, keeping in mind I was trying to give in-depth and thoughtful answers. So I would spend a portion of my day typing this out only to realize the student would simple print out my answers and hand it in.

    This just didn’t seem right. So I no longer do it. (Yeah I know I sound like a dick). But I really wish the schools would reconsider this assignment.


    dan
    You do realize that this would require active, rational thinking from an educational facility, right?

    They're not designed for that.

    They would be unable to handle this concept of free thought, their world would collapse. People would die. Teachers would die.

    Won't someone think of the teachers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Milligan View Post
    It's just that f*cking interview assignment that drives me nuts.
    Years ago I read a great piece on an author's website about how much she hated the interview assignment, with a very funny form letter she always sent back. I've been googling like mad for the last few minutes trying to find it, but no luck yet.


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    In the Ad world, the pros are approached usually with raw meat on a long pointed stick, especially around deadlines...

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Milligan View Post
    I know it's Christmas and all, but at risk of coming off like some kind of scrooge I've got to take this opportunity to bring you a reoccurring problem I have and maybe some of the other ‘pros’ can chime in.
    I often receive emails (in fact a lot of them) from students requesting interview for
    school assignments. But, in this day and age they (the students) simply forward the questions they’ve been given
    from their instructor. Essentially asking me to type out their essay. I used to do it, but it became ridiculous, keeping in mind I was trying to give in-depth and thoughtful answers. So I would spend a portion of my day typing this out only to realize the student would simple print out my answers and hand it in.

    This just didn’t seem right. So I no longer do it. (Yeah I know I sound like a dick). But I really wish the schools would reconsider this assignment.


    dan

    edit:

    I'm worried this came off like I'm some kind of jerk. Not the case. I try to answer questions and be as helpful as I can, God knows countless artists have helped me. It's just that f*cking interview assignment that drives me nuts.
    Those show up on these forums pretty regularly, and I've had a few sent to me either through PM or email. I've filled them out a bunch of times, but I've often requested they pass along to their instructors just how much of a cope out they are. The student doesn't do much of anything but pass along a long list of questions, and the teacher is basically asking the students to find out for themselves, so the only people doing any real work there is the one person who has the least to gain!

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    i kind of tried something like this with android, i tried asking about the coveted sound oscilator on his wacom......... im still waiting for a reply .__.
    i don think its gona come any time soon hes a little over protective of that
    thing then again if i was him i would be too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Milligan View Post
    I know it's Christmas and all, but at risk of coming off like some kind of scrooge I've got to take this opportunity to bring you a reoccurring problem I have and maybe some of the other ‘pros’ can chime in.
    I often receive emails (in fact a lot of them) from students requesting interview for
    school assignments. But, in this day and age they (the students) simply forward the questions they’ve been given
    from their instructor. Essentially asking me to type out their essay. I used to do it, but it became ridiculous, keeping in mind I was trying to give in-depth and thoughtful answers. So I would spend a portion of my day typing this out only to realize the student would simple print out my answers and hand it in.

    This just didn’t seem right. So I no longer do it. (Yeah I know I sound like a dick). But I really wish the schools would reconsider this assignment.


    dan

    edit:

    I'm worried this came off like I'm some kind of jerk. Not the case. I try to answer questions and be as helpful as I can, God knows countless artists have helped me. It's just that f*cking interview assignment that drives me nuts.

    Yep. I ignore them now too. I get them every couple weeks and it is a waste of my time to answer questions that have already been better answered on the boards here. That is the issue I have with that assignment. EVERY single answer can be found using the search function on conceptart.org.

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    I imagine if a professional doesn't have the time to respond to your e-mail, they probably don't have the time for a phone interview either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Milligan View Post
    edit:

    I'm worried this came off like I'm some kind of jerk. Not the case. I try to answer questions and be as helpful as I can, God knows countless artists have helped me. It's just that f*cking interview assignment that drives me nuts.

    Ahm, I can at least guarantee that you're not a jerk?

    In all seriousness, though, I've found the best way is to meet people, treat them like human beings, and engage in conversation. Emailing or phoning out of the blue probably won't get you the results you want. Going out to sketchmeets, or workshops, is really awesome that way because you can meet some fabulously talented people who are even willing to become your friends. And most of the time, it's people you didn't even know about until you got there!

    I'm probably rambling, but my point is that it's so much easier to hold a conversation with someone where there is mutual respect, and cold-calling probably won't supply that.

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    I imagine if a professional doesn't have the time to respond to your e-mail, they probably don't have the time for a phone interview either.
    haha, probably the most simple and direct answer given so far, and for that maybe the best.

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    Well, I would definitely recommend to you to try emailing this professional first, if they do not respond within a month or so, then I would say they are not able to allocate enough of their time for things beyond their personal life and career and that it is their life so do not be intrusive.

    Heres another part of life: It changes constantly, life is an ocean with no bounds; infinitely deep and vast. Sometimes you just have to say screw traditions and give the artist a call and see what happens, you never know how people will react.

    Calling is like gambling, sometimes you win the jackpot other times you end up empty-handed. The choice is yours, (do not waste an opportunity that has revealed itself).

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    And I also have wondered about Andrew Jones's Wacom Tablet setup, although I have tried emailing him as well asking about it.

    He never responded to the email, but, it is not a setback, more-so it is an opportunity for me to do a bit of exploration in art myself.

    The best advice I have ever gotten during my art endevours was to experiment in new ways, so to build new neuron pathways and possibly create something marvelous.

    Last edited by Androxity; December 25th, 2008 at 04:08 AM. Reason: left the "n" out of "an" - what a braintease
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    So basicaly are you lot saying don't ring them up and yell down the phone Oh my god it's <name> I want your babies and threaten if they hang up or do anything to displease you they will be kidnapped and placed in a room shackeld up to aw wall and left with a saw kind of like in er... "saw"?

    I was contemplating emailing one of my favorite artists is there some kind of etiquet that should be obieded by or should I just go for it
    obliviously I am not going to do the weeping fanboy approach like above (the saw thing may stay). Also if this the right way to make contacts in the industry or get advice about the art industry? Rest assured I will plan out what I will type before I send it but I am not expecting anything from the artist.

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    I'll tell you a story thats sort of along the lines of your situation and you tell me what you think.

    About 15 years ago I had the opportunity to see Dick Dale, one of my favorite musicians, play at a local bar when I lived in Orlando. It was a fairly small place, not too many people showed up and I had the opportunity to speak with him for a short while. He gave me his number and told me to give him a call. I was already a bit star struck just having the opportunity to speak with him and it took a several months before I could gather enough courage to call him. And when I did, he did two things that remain with me to this day, 1) he remembered who I was, and 2) he spoke to me like a human being. We talked for a couple of hours and I was left some incredible words of wisdom. That was probably one of the kindest, most ego-less gestures Ive ever experienced.

    I don't consider myself a professional by any means, but whenever someone takes the time to write me a about a question pertaining to art or music, I remember that conversation, and I feel very flattered and in some ways obligated to share what I can.

    I love art as much as anyone else on this board and having the opportunity to communicate on a personal level with others who share that same passion is something I love most about what I do. I know plenty of artists who may not feel the same way, and that's ok too. Everyone's different and you should try to respect that.

    Personally, I say give him/her a call. Just be up front and have some purpose behind what you'd like to ask. The worse that can happen is they may not want to speak with you. But if they do, then you might just leave with some great information and possibly make a friend in the process. - Joel

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    I'd be happy to listen to Jason or Dan share perspective all day, but also definitely get the idea of their passing on those requests. Apparently Jo Chen get's the same thing as her old site ends with a Tag to please check her FAQ page before writing, which I think is cool. I also enjoy sites with tutorials.

    Last edited by Bill; January 4th, 2009 at 04:22 PM.
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    I happily answer e-mails from students, but if someone were to unexpectedly catch me on the phone, I would be very uncomfortable.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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