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The burning question

Here's the short version:
    - So. What the heck are you doing in Dickson, Tennessee?
    - Thriving.
A little more detail:
    I'm at the Renaissance Center, going through their four-week course in 3D Studio Max.

    That doesn't sound very impressive on the surface - how much can they possibly teach in four weeks?

    Well, quite a lot.

    See, this isn't one of those community college classes we've all taken, with four hours of instruction and two hours in the lab every week. No, we're pretty much dealing with eight hours of instruction and as much assignment time outside of class daily. Weekends mean bigger assignments.

    This past Tuesday, I was in there for 21.5 hours, Then I went back an hour early because I wasn't satisfied with my work yet.

    That was awesome.

    In all fairness, a lot of that was optional. I've been tutoring one of the other students, and usually see their assignments finished before I even start on my own. It's only practical, for two reasons:

    1. There's no better way to wrap your mind around a concept than to help wrap someone else's mind around it. You have to examine things from several viewpoints, and it's just a great way to reinforce what we're learning.

    2. He gets very frustrated, and vents by swearing at the machine and hitting the keyboard. It fills the room with hostiliy, and I don't want any of that cluttering my environment.

    On top of that, I set very high standards for myself. I refuse to fall back on any of the skills I came in here with if there's another solution I haven't tried yet.

    So, it takes a while to finish sometimes.

    There are only three students this time around, with two other instructors sitting in. This translates to a lot of individual attention.

    The class is lead by a man named Zack Parrish. I can't say enough about him - he's extremely dynamic, and passionate about 3D. And it's inspiring to know that for all of his expertise, he's only been doing this for two years. I don't know how much longer they can keep him, so I'm glad I got here when I did.

    Anyway, I haven't had this kind of creative challenge and stimulus since... probably eighth grade, in Mr. Carney's english class. I feel very much alive, and seventeen years is a long time to not experience that.

    In case you're wondering, the cost is $2,500. This includes housing, and a one-year non-commercial license of Max 6 if you make it through. They're a non-profit organization, and you won't find comparable prices anywhere for this kind of training.

    This isn't for everyone, and I don't think you should be an absolute beginner coming in. But for someone like, oh, say, seonsaint, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Side note:
The decision to come here was basically where "Big Long Update" was meant to conclude. I may or may not ever get around to writing Part 3, as I'll be busy pushing some of those projects forward.

Side note #2:
I will definitely seek industry work when I get out of this place - the energy here simply can't be found in a traditional business environment. I'll do what it takes to pay off my debts, but the "take any old job" plan is, at most, a temporary setback.


self portrait (escher)
some guy

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