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  1. #1
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    to Jason Manley, Android, Jon Foster, and Sparth!

    Sorry if this is inappropriate. I was thinking the other day, about what a concept artist, illustrator, or an artist of your guys' caliber makes. It's not that I'm in it for the money. Heck I want to be a cocept artist, because I love it with a passion, but I have to make a living somehow. Anyways, if the question is totally inapropriate, then don't bother answering and just delete the topic, but I was just wondering. Maybe some ballpark figures??? I know it matters what it is exactly one does and its not the same for everyone, and it really matters who u work for, but... I was just wondering.

    Hopefully I didn't offend anyone

    Thanks for your time!

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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  3. #2
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    game artist salaries tend to range anywhere from 40k-80-120k base...depending on the talent...experience...value to the team...and duties performed. this range pushes from the junior artist position all the way up to the most senior level. obviously an art director would be toward the top and a junior prop modeller would be toward the bottom in pay. keep in mind that it will take you five years or more to get an AD position. (the knowledge and experience needed to do it right takes at least that long to learn and you would need great people skills)

    the key is to stick out projects from start to finish and to ship quality titles early in your career. you do this by working long hours and giving it your all. you will be respected in your future interviews if you have done this. the ability to do a variety of things also helps...but an absolute specialization is a must too. (btw..if you are an artist making under fourty in games then you are UNDERPAID...go ask for a raise!)

    the more you know about the art pipeline and about making games...the more money an artist would tend to make. if you plan on only working your 40 hours and dont really want to be involved in the project then dont expect to be paid well.

    there are guys out there making more than the above figures...and some that make less. cost of living in a given city is to be considered. California companies will usually pay a bit more than companies in texas or wisconsin (with the exception for lucasarts who pays about 20 percent lower than the rest of the industry from what i have heard and seen).


    these numbers can also include possible yearly bonuses or royalties based on units sold. Both ways of waving the carrot in front of the horse are based on performance as well. The core team members usually get a higher royalty rate.

    not all companies do that though...if they are a big company and do not reward the dev team who busts their butts 80 hours a week at times...then I would probably hesitate working with that company. if they dont require overtime then that might be different but the long hours need to be compensated with a reward. pizza every thursday night just wont cut it....but then again...im a romantic...not a realist. hehehe...it just depends on the company...shoot..if the project was good enough and the team and work just right then the money wouldnt matter and Id do it for the peanuts.

    in the end it would be best to be in a company where the work is not about the money...the prob there is that in california the cost of living is tremendous and thus money is important to just getting by. balancing the money with quality work is a great direction to hope for. That way you can be happy inside work and you can have what you need outside as well.


    I started in the industry as an intern...and interns can be unpaid (I did one unpaid internship and one paid). Paid interns can range in an hourly rate from 10-14 bucks an hour. I was willing to do anything to get in...but once you get in you will learn quickly how things work. Good luck in that endeavor!

    thats my two cents.


    j

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  4. #3
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    WoW! thank you Jason. I really appreciate that. Now i know what to look forward too. well kinda.. I guess it all depends on my artistic and people skills. I'm planning on going to art center next year, so i know that'll i'll have to work my butt off, but it'll be worth it. I do want to work, but I don't want to be a slave to my job:o

    I do want a family somewhere along the road. So i have to think about that as well.

    My teacher once told me, that there are 5 balls, lets say... in life. There are four made out of glass and one is mad out of rubber. family, spirituallity( thats a huge one for me),friends ball is work. I don't ever want that rubber ball to bump out one of those 4 glass guys. Because then I'd be in real trouble. And I don't want that. That's the thing that actaully scares me the most about being an artist. Hopefully it doesn't happen to me.

    I guess I'll just have to roll with the punches.....

    P.S one down three to go, can the rest of you guys answer?:confused:

    Last edited by I.was.ink; January 4th, 2003 at 04:18 AM.
    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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  5. #4
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    andrew and puddnhead and the others will tell you....the rubber ball will have to hit those others if you are to be truly great. you will have to sacrefice your personal life for your art. you can not get far without doing that. the trick is incorporating your personal life into your art.

    you need to work your ass off...and when you get done with art center (which has about half the workload as a professional environment) then you will need to work even harder.




    j

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  6. #5
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    As a person at the bottom of ladder I hope you don't mind me adding to the thread.

    You have to sacrifice to be great..I know I am far from great.. and I still have a LONG ASS WAY TO GO!

    That rubber ball has to colide, and if not break glass, crack it a little...Last semester I put my friends family etc, on hold... then moved 7 hours away..and took a unpaid internship.. It was really hard to leave the people I loved...And I had a lot of far ass trips on the weekends, and crazy phone bills.. but it was problably the best experience and best decision I have made in a long time..

    I worked at 10 in the morning and most of the time left after 8, more like 10... it was A LOT of work...but there was a lot of fun that went along with it... like gambling late at nite and drinking... The best thing that came with the job was working with awesome people.. Like J.

    There were also 2 other interns there... and there enthusiasm/dedication/etc weren't there..They also had a lot more talent then I...but it just goes to show that this life isn't for everyone. And for those out there that wants to be a "Concept Artist" "Art Director" "Lead Artist".. "designer".. whatever!.. you MUST put in your dues.

    iwasink: One thing that I reccomend, is be a sponge... learn.. and learn.. and learn.. get your anatomy DOWN!... learn Value... work your ass off at art center... If you feel like something is missing.. or you arent learning something... search out someone to help.. Also, don't just follow there little schedule of classes you need to take of a period of time.. Be a ACTIVE LEARNER... Talk to upper classmen, and find out what teachers are good, and those who suck...

    Good luck man..


    Peace.

    -Deth Jester
    "Live each day like you will die tommorow, and dream like you will live forever..."
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    Excellent Guys...
    Hope yall do not mind me adding my 2 cents to....

    I know my skills are not strong enough yet to do concept art.
    So I will probly graduate school as a 3D modeler. I love to darw.
    So much that I am quiting my job now that pays 12.30
    and has benifits to a job that pays 6.00 and no benifits. So
    I can draw more and not get a brain tumor with working and
    going to school...

    I Found your wise words very insitefull Jason and
    Deth Jester...
    Also this forum itself has helped me a great deal.

    Well that is all I have to say about that...

    I am everywhere,
    &,
    I am Nowhere.
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  8. #7
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    what would a concept designer earn working on a film?

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    good question face. :confused:

    I know that the rubberball has to touch one of those glass balls, and I can't just think about art only when I'm at school, but always. Sometimes I do sacrifice fam and friends. I know its going to be hard, and tough. But once I get through all that crap, it'll all be worth it.

    I know that being a great artist in the long run will all be worth the struggles i'll go through.

    Thanks to everyone that has responded, Especially you Jason! thanks for the responses, I know that a lot of other peope will also benefit from this post, so that's why i made it.

    P.S I never would have thought that this site was going to get any better than it already is, and now with the upgraded version that Jason wants to make excites me even more, Thanks JASON!!!

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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  10. #9
    Sadclown Guest
    Sorry to butt in on your thread here, Iwasink, but Jason was on a roll so I figured I better throw this question out here now.

    Anyway...to Jason and Sparth and all the other greats...How DO you juggle life and art. I mean I keep hearing everyone say you have to sacrifice for your art. Well that make sense and all but here's the thing.

    I have to work full time, have a household to manage and a wife to support. That doesn't always leave me with much time for art. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm willing to work my ass off to achieve my goals, but those are things that I can't give up, ya know? I can't throw my wife out and quit my job just because I want to be a great artist someday. I do plan to go to art school when my wife gets her law degree (in about a year), and I won't be working then so that'll free up alot of time.

    I dunno, I guess my real question is....sacrificing for what you want to achieve is neccesary and good, but how do you achieve what your goals without sacrificing things that can't be sacrificed?

    if that made any sense at all I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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  11. #10
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    well...when your wife is watchin tv...you paint...when your wife is in the shower getting ready (god knows my girl takes at least an hour...sometimes two)..then use that time to draw.


    you have to look at every open second as a time to draw...whether you are in the mood to or not.

    that is one of the lessons that took me the longest to learn...how do i do art when I dont want to do art? how can I work on something that I am not at all inspired to work on? How can I work on something that is not my vision but someone elses? this kind of thing took a lot of hard work and i had to do it when i didnt want to in order to figure it out.

    i worked all the way thru school...the first three years was shite jobs too...so i know what you mean...but when i wasnt at work or preoccupied by things my every waking moment was spent doing art or studying art history.

    make a list of all the things you need to know.

    art history...perspective...anatomy....color theory...you name it

    start knocking them off the list...while your wife is driving you can look at an art book...

    the trick i think is to use every moment in a strategic way that is directed toward your goals.

    time management is key.

    knowing what you have to learn is key too...when i was in school i studied all my art history to a very deep degree. I learned how painters of the past learned..what methods they used...what excersizes...etc...then I would do those things on top of my classwork (private art school nowadays is not the most traditional art education available and thus i had to suppliment it with my own studies)

    surely you can study an anatomy book before bed...

    NO MORE FRIGGEN TELEVISION!

    though..i did use a tv for learning...id rent old orson wells movies (othello etc...) which have great tonal control for narrative story telling. Id pause the vid and draw from it. then push play...find a cool scene...make a drawing.

    doing the above helps you explore staging of images and also camera shots..and lighting...you name it.


    anyhow...hope that helps


    j

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    well, that all sounds well and good, but no one answered my question, how much does a concept designer earn workin on an actual film?

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  13. #12
    Sadclown Guest
    Thanks alot for taking the time to reply Jason, I know you're a really busy person and I really appreciate your input.

    That was a really helpful post. Time management IS the key, and I think I probably haven't been utilizing it very well. I have about a year before I start applying to art schools, so that doesn't give me alot of time to prepare (considering I also have to study for the SAT and everything), so from here on out I'm going to start tackling things I know I need to work on.

    So anyway...my new, New Years Resolution? I'm going to work on a different part of the body each week, musculature, bone structure etc. as well as work on painting, color, light and shade etc.

    Thanks again for the reply.


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  14. #13
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    film pays considerably more than games...but the work is hit and miss...sometimes there is work...sometimes you would have no work.

    I dont know what the max is for a concept artist in film....one of the main page members did some work for a couple films and made 26k in five weeks. but two months before that he didnt have gas to meet me at venice beach for some drumming. the five weeks I mentioned...he did not sleep more than two or three hours a nite and he did nothing but paint. can you do that? he had to...he knew he might not work for another month or more. most film guys suppliment the income with other contract/freelance work during the year. mullins for example...he does covers for game boxes...or ads...

    gotta be versatile...

    Id think that contract work would tend to bring in 50-100 dollars an hour when the work is available. the bigger you are...the faster...the more proficient...the more you would make.

    Another friend of mine at ILM was making 60 (he has a decent amount of experience) to do that similar stuff with matte paintings...some film places pay a lot less. just depends.

    j

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    Hey Jason,
    Thanks for all your awesome insight...it's great to hear it from someone who has been there. I had a quick question...I am going to have to supplement a lot of my art education by studying the masters on my own. How should I go about doing this...what books do you recommend or what approach should I take to studying the masters paintings?...I don't really know where to begin (besides finding a book on them in barnes and noble or something). I know this is key to becoming a well rounded artist so I want this to become an utmost priority for me. Thanks.

    iwasink - I just wanted to encourage you...I am married and have been for about a year and half now. What Jason is saying is exactly right...I used to play video games a lot and watch tv...now I don't do either. Every second I have free time I spend drawing...for instance yesterday I went to church and then she wanted to go to the mall and she wanted me to go with her to pick out clothes...I brought my sketchbook...she looked for clothes and I looked for a bench...she would come out periodically and say does this look good?...of course I would say yes hehe. Also she drives on all big trips we take so I can draw or read about art in the car. The point being...that if you are serious you have to draw/paint when you feel like crap and when you feel good...think of it as a strategy...when can you sneak in all the drawing moments...maybe on your lunch break use a ball point pen and scribble on note pads...think of everything. Be obsessed with it just don't let anyone know you are obsessed with it. It can be done...you've got the skills I've seen it...just keep working and you will be great. Don't let your body tell you what it wants to do...you will draw every second you get...despite what your body wants you to do...don't listen to it. So what if it's late...keep drawing.

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    iwasink: concerning money: as jason said, it really depends of what you can give to a company really. it depends what you're worth. also, you'll be able to get even more paid if you exactly know what you're worth.
    i'll add that salaries can be very different from one country to another. in the states, designers can be very well paid, even more when working in the film industry. but face, giving an amount is impossible.
    in europe it is not bad either, but it tends to be lower compared to our us mates. all i can say is that i've worked for a little period in the cinema industry, and it definitely paid well.
    in fact , you'll realise that these parameters are infinite, and that this question will never have any definite answer.

    jason has probably said it all concerning that "artistic way of life" and dedication. i'm convinced that a guy who doesn't want to enter into these drastic rules will not go as fast in learning and technique, as it is an everyday concentration and focusing. i have been drawing and creating since i was 5, it is the only thing i have done in my humble life until now, and will do, until the end of it. huge possibilities and horizons however... in fact i also dedicate time for all my passions, because i live in a mad passionate way. if i'm interested into something, i'm forced to do it to the extreme. history, sports, games, society, art!
    but for a lot of artists, there is no interrogations, because it comes so naturally, so smoothly. working, working... because it is a passion, work becomes logical. the word itself becomes senseless.
    gonna have a second kid around september (yeepee), and it will be even more complex trying to manage my own office and hours at home. but my wife is very understanding, from the start, she knew there was no other way for me, though it has not always been easy. i always make efforts in order to pass time with kid and wife, and it gives such an enjoying balance.
    most of the time, i work until 2 in the morn every night, which remains very reasonable. but that allows around 3 to 4 extra hours of work every day, to work on my own projects, or continue stuff for my company. god knows how many films i've skipped, because i had to finish stuff. most important device: the headphone!

    i also have to be careful to avoid not falling into my own traps. not even being able to look at a movie normally, or talking with friends who are not particularly interested in art. it may happen. it may be the biggest danger for me, becoming too closed, too concerned about any sort of images. you forget about enjoying anything not art related. a sort of negative elitism for sure, that can happen to any artist.
    if i listened to myself, i 'd throw tv out the window. still i have that home theater, but it's only to watch dvds and play games...silly me!

    sparth

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    Thank you....

    Thanks to all who replied to this topic.
    I've been working at a vfx house for over 3.5 years
    and one of my biggest concerns is when I decide to
    do conceptual illustration as my full-time career
    whether or not I will be able to live the same lifestyle. I
    recently purchased a condo last October. I did this
    because I needed a place where I could draw and not
    be distracted by friends or family. So far this is
    working great. But, the downside is I have to make
    this mortgage payment every month which also means
    I need a job that pays at least as much as the one
    I currently have.

    I live alone so I don't have the added benefit of
    having a sigoth, however, right now I need to be
    single.

    This will be a very interesting year for me......

    Phil

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    ok, you all may want to slap me right now for going on about the film industry, but what i would also like to know is:

    *to work as a concept designer for film, would you have to live in LA, or is it something you could do anywhere? i always imagined that it would be benificial to live in LA, but not 100% needed.

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    Craig Mullins works a lot in the film industry and he lives in Hawaii...so he probably doesn't make many trips to California...BUT...he has built up clients over the years so I don't know if that applies.

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  20. #19
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    good point MCM! and thank you sparth for that answer!

    most important device: the headphone!

    i also have to be careful to avoid not falling into my own traps. not even being able to look at a movie normally, or talking with friends who are not particularly interested in art. it may happen. it may be the biggest danger for me, becoming too closed, too concerned about any sort of images. you forget about enjoying anything not art related. a sort of negative elitism for sure, that can happen to any artist.
    if i listened to myself, i 'd throw tv out the window. still i have that home theater, but it's only to watch dvds and play games...silly me!

    sparth


    I just wanted to add in here, how much I'm afraid that what u mention above might actually happen to me. I know I won't let myself take that route, but then again, one never knows whats going to happen in the future.

    MCM> I see how hard you work at your art, and i just wanted to tell you how much I like the fact that you contribute to the site everyday. I too am dedicated as you are, I draw everyday, and study or practice something art related. I know that one day we will make it up there.

    Thanks to everyone that has contributed and i hope to see more contributions!

    P.S face, thanks for that great question of yours!!

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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    I'm going to change the subject but this quote got me thinking..

    How can I work on something that is not my vision but someone elses?
    I hate to say it, but I think I have an ego about my vision... not that what I make is that great. Still, it is mine. I am not sure how to overcome this. I think my initial experience really discouraged me. After school I landed a few jobs which allowed me to illustrate all day. I think the problem was that my interests and my employers needs had a disconnect.. or at least it did for me. I just kind of gave up and decided that I wouldn't expect to be completely satisfied creatively at work. I quit and got a design job doing Flash, print and web stuff (which I was very interested in.. and still am). I have been doing design work exclusively (professionally at least) for maybe too long I am starting to think. I am starting to believe again that I can be satisfied creatively and earn a living doing what I want.

    I still draw and paint as much as I can (which is not nearly enough. I have taken on a lot of freelance design work) but am really starting to think more and more about getting a job that allows me to draw more again. Although I am nervous.

    I suppose that the ability for keeping true to your vision while keeping an employer happy is a personal thing. The stuff I see on display here shows a lot of love and sincerity even if it may have been made for someone else.

    I keep thinking of Rembrant, Goya and Valasquez... all who worked for somebody else but were able to develop their own beautiful work. I think of you guys, Jason Manley, Android, Jon Foster, and Sparth (and so many others here) and the beautiful things you make and I can see that it is possible to mesh the two.

    I don't know why I write all this anymore. I suppose I wanted to ask how you all mesh the two.. but maybe the answer is going to be different for everybody. Maybe each situation is too unique and personal to answer. Still, this is written so I suppose I'll hit "Submit Reply"

    Last edited by oglzogl; January 6th, 2003 at 11:02 PM.
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  22. #21
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    Originally posted by Jason Manley
    well...when your wife is watchin tv...you paint...when your wife is in the shower getting ready (god knows my girl takes at least an hour...sometimes two)..then use that time to draw.
    LOL
    Oh i'm on the lucky side here - my girlfriend takes a lot of time in the bath and the rest of the time she's reading.
    Yet.. she's usualy reading in the bad, NAKED right next to me and.. well.. she's 1.79m 90/60/90 - i kid you not - last measurements were done for the new year eve dress - and suddently i'm thinking:
    What the fuck am I doing here?
    But i get over it BTW - Hesse rocks
    If i can give you one piece of advice is: Listen to Jason Manley.
    He's right in every way - i am lucky to know!

    Oblio

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  23. #22
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    90-60-90?? those are metric measurements right?





    j

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    LOL!

    MCM, your smily looks like your avatar!:p

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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  26. #25
    Join Date
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    :eek: umm.. yeah.. metric.
    There are no extra large measures invented here. I'm not saying that every girl is supermodel but... what can i say.. the view is one of the reasons i don't leave my coutry :p

    I love my girl - and wish you the same - it's a feeling of peace that helps me going on, painting and do the stuff i do.
    Sorry if i was off the topic. My humble appologies.

    Oblio

    p.s. - i'm just sorry my girl doesn't like to pose - no photo eaither. You'll understand me.. i'm sure. :fruit:

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  27. #26
    Join Date
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    C'mon Oblio! show us a picture of her!

    *chanting* PICTURE...PICTURE..PICTURE!!!

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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  28. #27
    Join Date
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    this single thread has changed my life.


    .
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    .
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    especially the last few
    posts.... women like that EXIST???????

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  29. #28
    Join Date
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  30. #29
    Landmate Guest
    thanks for taking the time for this info, its stuff we all need to know(those who are serious)..

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  31. #30
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    You are a wise man Jason...thanks for the insight from your POV :chug:

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