Monday, October 4, 2010

Repent, unbelievers!

I just had an interesting conversation with my thesis adviser. I've been dreading this conversation, because I knew exactly how it was going to go down. First let me give some background: even though she was aware of my project's goals, she was not aware of the length and depth of it. Also, the class is currently at the stage where characters are being drawn up and thesis statements are being hammered out. The thesis class is not yet up to the point where anyone officially has a script. I was at this point last February.

So anyway, the conversation went more or less like this:
  • Adviser acknowledges thesis statement and character design, asks to see other concepts for project
  • Greg shows scene layouts and art
  • Adviser raises concerns that an animation-heavy piece with two scenes will be too much to handle
  • Greg states that many assets have already been constructed, and shows examples
  • Adviser suggests that the script be paired down to two scenes, to make it manageable
  • Greg states that he has two talented animators on board to help with the animation process
  • Adviser ignores this and states, nicely, that it can't be done

Let's pause here, for a second. Greg is not somebody that you tell him, to his face, that he is incapable of something. You can tell him that it's not in the budget, it's not what the director wants, it's morally reprehensible, or whatever. But never, ever tell him that it's something that can't be done because he won't be able to hack it. Because, you see, Greg is a very stubborn man. Telling him that just makes him want to do it even more, just to prove you wrong. Once upon a time, Greg was told after a sudden sickness that he would have to drop his job and his schooling for the treatment. Just to spite that diagnosis, he kept at it and came out victorious. This is the kind of Greg that he is. So naturally, you can guess what his reaction was upon hearing his adviser's assessment of the thesis project.

So, back to the conversation, it followed:
  • Greg points out all the preparation he has done for this project, the size and talent of his team.
  • Adviser attempts to compromise by asking the project to be slimmed down.
  • Greg asserts that he will cut out anything that is unnecessary, keeping in mind that he has already done several passes of exactly that over the summer
  • Adviser asks Greg to pinky swear on his honor that he will set a realistic goal for this project.


I can't hold it against my adviser. She has my best interests in mind. And it's also in her best interests to make sure each student has a project that is feasible, so they can get an accomplishment and use it for job hunting. It's really not her fault that she does not believe the project can be done. Especially when our program has a history of students who over stretch themselves and crash/burn before graduation.

If her assessment had merit, I would be standing back and re-considering my position. But the simple truth of it is, her assessment is not meritful. I have gone through the schedule with a fine-toothed comb, and have compared notes with working professionals in the field. I know my own abilities, and have the utmost faith (based on quantitative observations) in those that have agreed to help me.

At this point, there is no reason why the project can NOT be done. I have a lot of respect for my adviser, she's an experienced professional in her own right. But I will still enjoy showing up to her office door with a finished copy of the thesis project. Several months early.

Because that's the kind of Greg that I am.


  1. I may have to steal the pink-highlighted OHSNAP. I lolled.

    And please, you beat that sickness and several videogames simultaneously, while maintaining classwork and other obligations. You can handle an animation.

  2. Good for you, Greg. being stubborn will make for late nights, but you'll be doing what you want to do and that's more important. I've done the same thing myself for final project work.

    Good luck!

  3. Do it with a marching band to back you up.

  4. Haha, I'll have them play "hail the conquering hero"

    Seriously though, thanks. And an extra thanks to Richard Grove over there. Without realizing you were a machinima person, I was reading up on your review for CS5 a few weeks ago. Very helpful stuff!

  5. I sometimes think it's part of the job of thesis advisors to tell you that your project can't be done, or doesn't make sense, or somehow otherwise get in your way (maybe they're trying to make sure that only the strong survive?). You're one of the most motivated people I know, and I have faith that you'll come out on top with this project!