Advice from AX Workshop Panels

In my previous post, I wrote about 3 general lessons I learned while attending Anime Expo this year. Now, here are a few things that attending the workshop panels taught me.

First, what are workshop panels?

A panel is scheduled event in which professionals from different parts of the industry share their experiences and answer questions for those who attend. Workshop panels are about honing your craft (whatever it may be) and learning from those who are experts in the craft you want to learn about. I attended three workshops at AX: AMV 101, Making Anime and Game Music By Yoshihiro Ike, and Anime Journalism. Here are 5 common pieces of advice all panelists had to say about their craft.

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Be Persistent

In Video Editing

The AMV creators all had gone through ups, downs, and burnout. Yet, they all persisted on doing what they love simply because they loved what they were doing. There will be hours and hours of learning, research, mistakes, and hard work that go into video editing but if it’s what you love, don’t stop.

In Music

Yoshihiro Ike’s advice was for an aspiring composer to start creating music in any which way he or she can. “The greatest thing for you to do is to write as much music as possible and experience as much as you can.”

In Writing

“The anime journalism panelists had a similar take. They advised that aspiring writers always need to be writing. Always keep pushing yourself to write in some capacity, not just for yourself but to hone yours skill because it is something that will literally only ever get better if you keep doing it and keep doing it and keep banging your head against that wall, no matter how frustrated you get, you just have to keep writing. It’s really important that if you want to get hired as a professional writer that you really should maintain a blog so you can send an editor a link to your work. Hopefully it’s work that you are proud of and it’s a one-stop shop where they can see not only your examples of the things you are willing to put out there but that you are willing to put your work out there at all.” 

Be Consistent

In Video Editing

Each AMV creator expressed the importance of posting videos consistently if you’re looking to reach a wider audience. Of course, the goal should not be to have a large following but it should be to push yourself as an editor. Committing to a schedule can help you grow in your video editing skills and ideas.

In Music

When asked about how long it takes to compose a piece of music, Yoshihiro Ike answered, “It really depends on the kind of piece I am supposed to write. In my life right now, I have to write at least 2 pieces a day.” This kind of consistency is something he does as a professional and if you want to become someone who is an expert in your field then this kind of consistency can help you reach that goal.

In Writing

This is something you can demonstrate to an editor through your blog. And editor cares if you can produce work on a schedule. If your deadline is produced by yourself, that means you have a lot of self control and they can trust you to get your stuff done. There’s basically no better recommendation than if you send your blog/youtube video as a sample with a really consistent output schedule.

No Audience, No Problem

In Video Editing

As previously mentioned, the goal should not be to have a large following on social media, that’s just icing on the cake. If you become too concerned about whether or not you are making your viewers happy, you won’t have enough time or energy to pour into your craft and the task itself will become daunting.

In Music

All throughout his panel, Yoshihiro Ike expressed the importance of committing to any form of art if it’s what you want to do regardless of the opinions of others. Of course, throughout the music production process, there is much collaboration going on, but when it comes to asking yourself whether or not you should continue to create music, the answer should come from your own will and not others.

In Writing

“It does not matter if your blog builds an audience. Editors don’t care at all if you already have an existing following. It can function as a bonus but it doesn’t matter so don’t be self conscious about that. What matters is that your putting out your best work. A blog functions a lot more like a portfolio.”

Experience Other Genres

In Video Editing

The AMV creators dove into the different trends in video editing however, their knowledge did not simply come from practice, it came from the research. They each had to research video editing techniques and styles that helped them become better at their work. Simply practicing may not get you as far as gaining advice from others.

In Music

Yoshihiro Ike had much to say about what helped him create his masterpieces and a big influence was his research of different genres of music that inspired him in his own work. Even genres from other parts of the world have given him different ideas as he’s composing music.

In Writing

“You need to maintain an active interest in anime. You cannot just rely on your favorites. It is very important that you keep up with the new season and keep up with the news. Watch stuff, even if you’re only watching one episode of everything, that’s really important because you’re going to need to be able to pitch shows [based on what’s airing at the time]. You’re going to need to understand the trends within the industry. It can be a little tough with burnout but you must keep up with it all.” Some of the panelists advise aspiring writers to follow as many anime news related social media accounts as possible. Protip: “If you can write eloquently about the popular shows, you’re hired. That stuff can really help you.”

YOU  Are What Makes Your Art Unique

In Video Editing

The AMV creators urged others to go with their own style of video editing. If there’s anything the AMV panel taught me personally is that there is a niche for any kind of art. AMV’s are so specific and might not garner as much attention as other forms of expression but they have a strong and dedicated following. Don’t second-guess yourself if it’s something you’re interested in, even if others have done something similar, chances are, they will never do it like you.

In Music

When asked to describe the emotional effort that is put into each piece of work, Yoshihiro Ike answered, “No matter what kind of piece I am making, it could be action, it could be sad music, there’s always a reason behind it. I kind of try to control my emotions and try to have the music express the same kind of emotion that’s within myself.”

In Writing

Anime journalists and editors advised their audience to write about their personal journeys with anime. For example, writing about “My Personal Reaction to Evangelion as a Depressed Person” or “My Take on Revolutionary Girl Utena as a Queer Person” are much more interesting dynamic articles to read than listing out the strongest characters in a show. These are things that people love to read about and if you have a really unique viewpoint that you spend a lot of time thinking about, it’s gold.