Learning from masters

I enjoy learning to satisfy my curiosity and also out of interest to becoming better all the time. On my last day at SXSW I went to a session on storytelling in games and animation, which had me reflect on the joy of learning from true masters. The three guys in the panel were happy to share their craft without the pretences you often see in wannabe masters. They shared tools and tricks and were happy to answer questions.

The panel was clearly experienced and wanted people to understand how to step up and enhance their skills. They also exuded a love for their work, which when you are learning is happily contagious. Often a passionate person would have done their work for free or intuitively as a pastime before it became their source of income. It was definitely true for the three writers and animators. Having written for well-known games such as League of Legends and Blizzard games, they were well positioned to talk about their craft.

A master knows it took work to get to where they are and if at that point they are still passionate and enjoying the work then they are an ideal person to learn from. I have seen a few masters who are close to their topic, but then couldn’t speak with passion about it. I have also seen masters who have gotten so stuck in their ego, that only they can be a true master and helping others comes across as an annoying aside. In my view we always have new things to learn from all the people around us.

I truly enjoyed looking into the behind the scenes of a team of writers for games and how the narrative evolved into a script, storyboard and ultimately a game story. The fact that they gamified the question and answer session by handing out hand crafted in the moment cartoons was a bonus. It definitely made me want to ask a question.

What kind of masters do you like to learn from?

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