Here are some notes from an Industry Knowledge presentation I gave while studying animation at FTI.
We were each assigned an organisation to research and then presented our findings to the class, explaining how this organisation would be useful to people working in animation.
ORGANISATION: Digital Labourers Federation (DLF)
WHO ARE THEY: A social group for anyone working with or interested in digital art. DLF members communicate via a mailing list.
HOW TO JOIN: Membership is open to anyone involved in creating images made with computer technology. Many DLF members work in film and television.
Go to http://dlf.org.au and click “If you want to join then click here and fill out your registration form.” You will be taken to a registration page which asks for your full name, company, contact details, website and occupation.
After you submit this form, and your registration has been approved, you will be sent three e-mails welcoming you to the different mailing lists: dlf-mailout, dlf-news and dlf-jobs.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU JOIN: You will receive lots and lots of e-mails and basically have a forum running in your inbox.
WHO LOOKS AFTER THE DLF: Kit Devine (an animation lecturer and 3D animator) and Grant Fraser (a professional photographer) manage membership for the mailing list, moderate the list (this includes booting out any trouble-makers), and keep e-mail headers consistent.
Kit and Grant are also active participants in the DLF mailing list; they post information about jobs, highlight interesting articles or news items, or just add their knowledge to the pool when questions are asked.
As in any Internet forum, there are also regular posters who work in the industry and are always happy to dispense advice.
MAILING LIST CONTENT AND MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:
- Content varies widely but ranges from people asking what everyone thought of Wolverine’s CG blades in the latest X-Men movie, to very specific discussions about how to get a certain texture in 3D Studio Max, product reviews, beginners asking for help, and advice regarding breaking into the industry.
- Kit and Grant also post information about jobs available locally, interstate and internationally, competitions, social events, new courses, and the latest animation news.
- A lot of people post links to their show reels and portfolios and ask other DLF members for constructive feedback, which usually given in large quantities and with excellent response time.
SOCIALISING THROUGH THE DLF:
- 26 May 2009 – Through the DLF mailing list, I found out about “Show Us Your Bits” (http://letsmakegames.org/2009/05/14/letsmakegamesorg-may-mixer-and-showcase/), a mixer night organised by “Let’s Make Games”, a support group for the Perth games industry. I met games development students and lecturers from Edith Cowan University, enjoyed the hospitality of the Brass Monkey, and got to see Tim Beeson’s “Bacon Wings” game make a public debut.
- 28 May 2009 – Perth doesn’t have regular DLF meetings like the Eastern states, but cartoonist Mathew Hampton was enthusiastic enough to organise a Perth DLF drinks night at the 43 Below Bar. What a great night – Chris Toovey (an FTI alumnus) came, along with most of his co-workers from Last Pixel (http://lastpixel.com.au/). I had an entertaining and informative chat with them about how they entered the industry and what kind of work they were doing now. I also met Simon Boxer, who used to be a concept artist at Interzone and is now working freelance, and we had a very interesting discussion about the Perth games industry. It was a fantastic meeting of like-minded people who are all passionate about what they do, and I hope to be fortunate enough to work with them in the near future.
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE DLF:
- Set up e-mail filters so that DLF messages are forwarded to a special folder where you can read them at your leisure. Within this folder, sort by subject so that you can read each thread in an uninterrupted manner.
- The sheer mass of mail you receive can become unwieldy very quickly, so archive and delete DLF mail ruthlessly, making sure you keep any gems that will be useful to you in the future.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. DLF posters are supportive, kind, and generous in sharing their knowledge. Kit and Grant run a tight ship!
- Take advantage of networking opportunities!
- I strongly advise all animators to join the DLF mailing list, by doing so you will really have a finger on the pulse of Australian animation. In addition, joining will give you access to the knowledge and support of hundreds of Australian animators of all levels.
- The DLF is an invaluable support group for early career film makers and animators.