A friend of mine (David F.) was telling me once how he got inspired from visiting my house. During the conversation, I realized that the same thing happens to me when I visit places that get the creative juices flowing. But the problem is, once I am away from that stimulus – my motivation wains and soon I am right back to where I was before.
So, this time, I wrote down the things that were going through my mind while I was working in New Jersey. My hope is that I can reflect back on this post for motivation as I need it. This post may not be of any interest to anyone… so forgive me while I ramble to myself….
Things I’ve learned in Wildwood:
1) Don’t quit my day job. My day job Affords me the ability to have a decent consistent living that supports what I love. Once I turn it into a job… there’s no more freedom to it. Then I gotta do what everyone else wants me to. I might “feel” I have been put on this planet to build stuff to entertain people – but that’s my “art”…. business has little to do with art. Business is making sell-able products. I’d rather keep my love for my art than wear myself out on it.
2) Organize. It’s ok to pack rat if the stuff is able to be found easily. If it isn’t…. you might as well throw it away. Eric’s place was PACKED with stuff – but he knew where EVERY item was andit was arranged so that after only being there a few hours, I could “tell” where something should be because the layout of his tools and supplies was very intuitive. I hope I can do the same.
Seek out others. Others like to help… just like I do… but your gonna have to find them… they don’t work with you. ON that same note:
3) Get a workshop. I need one. (I have already bought a trailer to put all the equipment from my garage into storage. I need a work room. Building robots in the kitchen just doesn’t work.)
4) Get more tool boxes. Sounds simple, but when 1/2 of my tools are in cardboard boxes – I now realize looking for the right tool becomes a inefficient scavenger hunt. Also, Eric has many “normal” sized tool boxes rather than one ”I can live inside this thing” tool box many mechanics I know have. I imagine many smaller ones are easier to move too.
5) Start stocking.You need supplies. Nuts, bolts, connectors, resins, bearings, steel, paint, wood… Get it all! It was nice not having to run to Lowes every hour to pick something up. Again, this effects efficiency.
6) Seek out people with simular interests. Don’t waste time with people not into the same thing. You’ll go four times as far with the right entourage. You would be surprised how many people would love to share ideas and work on projects like this… but I’m not going to find them hanging out with people that like “basket weaving”!
7) Hire some people! Find some stuff that needs done and hire some guy (or guys) to do it. It’ll be quicker and you gotta start finding people you can count on anyway. I recall the YEAR I spent bending track for my haunted house ride. For real… a year. I could have paid some people to do it for me, and I’d be a year ahead on my project right now… but because I am a control freak… I “had” to do it all myself. It’s time to let go.
8 ) Share the vision.Helpers need to know what to do. Weather they are volunteers or paid workers, they need to know your expectations and what you see as the final product. Eric spent time sharing what he wanted with everyone on a daily basis. He walked his haunted house with people over and over to make sure it was what he wanted and to make sure they understood. Once he was sure the people were on the right track - he had no problem leaving them alone.
9) Don’t be afraid to take it slow. Relax. Wait for inspiration. Don’t force it. I watched two guys start slow and pick up speed – and get a lot done as opposed to hitting the ground running and spinning your wheels for a few hours. Movement doesn’t necessarily mean progress! My stress level wont help get things done any faster… if anything, it will have the opposite effect.
10) There’s more time in the day than you think.As 9:00pm hit – I thought “Oh crap – these guys are still working past my bed time!” But when I stopped paying attention to the clock, I found I was not as tired. Before I knew it, it was 3:00am… and I was not tired. What’s even better… I got up at 7:00 the next day without a problem and did the same thing again! When you love what you are doing, you don’t feel as drained.
11) Settle for attainable goals.I need to forget the “whole thing running perfectly the first day I open” plan (al-la haunted mansion). Get something going and build on it. Speaking of the Haunted Mansion…
12) Have triggered props. If I have my entire ride using the volume compressed air that two Disney attractions would use all the time, I will have a LOT of wasted energy and a LOT of unnecessary wear and tear on my animatronics. Triggered props also have the benefit of operating individually of everything else. Eric had props in his place that he simply plugged in and connected air… and they ran! In my situation, I’d have to roll out a control system to use just one robot. Not that the big system doesn’t have a place in my ride – I just can’t ONLY have that. Plus, with the “one computer” system… if the computer crashes, the entire ride is down. On a one by one system, if one controller dies…. only one prop is down.
Well, that’s it. There was one thing I learned on the way BACK from New Jersey: Driving ”tired” is far far far worse than driving drunk. The previous night we were up till 4:00am, and I thought (feeling a little homesick) that I could just power through the sleep and drive home. Big mistake. I didn’t get in an accident or anything… but I sure hope I will never do that again!
Now that it’s all over with – I don’t know why I have such a fear of leaving York. I had a fantastic time and got to know some people that made my life a bit richer. I learned some things that will same me money and aggravation, and more importantly of all – I did something that made me feel like part of a winning team. I’d do it all again if I had the chance.
Thanks for listening to the rantings of a madman…