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Starting A New Career Path

By September 22, 2020January 11th, 2021No Comments

If unemployment taught me anything it’s to always be learning

For freelancers working in the film and television industry, one thing is certain: wintertime is slow. Everyone expects a little downtime in January and February as projects slowly get picked up. What you don’t plan for is a global pandemic and months of downtime.

I started this year freshly wrapped off of 4 seasons of Beachfront Bargain Hunt and 2 Seasons of Lakefront Bargain Hunt. As January and February rolled along I followed up with my contacts and peers reaching out about any upcoming work. At the end of February, I found myself interviewing several times at Be Electric Studios in Bushwick, NY. We discussed building a role around my skillset where I would manage client outreach, relationship building, in-house production support, and the growth of services and offerings all while amplifying the impressive work the company is doing within the industry. It was an incredible opportunity, to say the least, that I could have excelled at but Covid-19 wasn’t messing around.  The film and television industry ground to a halt.

For the first few weeks everything was lax. My friends companies were still figuring out the transition to work from home. Discord servers started popping up left and right. A few of my friends and I booted up a Minecraft server and everyone had enough freedom to log in and out through the day. My job search continued but I had server plugins, permissions, and lava griefing to distract me from the fact that I didn’t know when I’d have work again.  I started messing around with Minecraft texture packs, shaders, and optimization mods. When that wasn’t enough I started splicing together several texture packs to only including the individual assets I wanted. Little did I know that I was seeding the next big adventure of my life.

My job search continued but I had server plugins, permissions, and lava griefing to distract me from the fact that I didn’t know when I’d have work again.

April rolled around and I decided I wanted to learn Javascript. I had created my personal website and few others over the last decade but I had only seen those as a hobby. It wasn’t until I started thinking more about coding that I realized it was something I really enjoyed. My friend Tim had done a Hack Reactor Immersive several years ago and we’d casually talked about it over the years. I started researching immersive programs because why not? I had no work for the foreseeable future. I could take all the time I wanted to learn to code.

Fast forward to July and I had been accepted into Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, and Hack Reactor. I was pretty proficient in beginning Javascript and Ruby; I had more knowledge of HTML and CSS than ever before; and I was eager to learn more. August was halfway through and I got a call to do a short two-week commercial. I delayed my start date to Sept 14th and I’ve now started at Flatiron School’s Software Engineering Immersive. In a week’s time, I’ve learned the basics of Object Oriented Programming, how to build complex Class objects, and object inheritance. Looking back just a week ago it’s amazing how many of those concepts were hard to grasp versus how easy they seem now. I’m excited to work with my fellow students to explore and build projects from the ground up over the next 15 weeks.

This blog is that journey, those technical explorations, and my foundation for future learning.

mkirby

Matthew Robbins Kirby

I'm a perpetual learner, constant explorer and a Full stack web developer with 7 years experience leading fast paced entertainment industry productions. I enjoy building things and the process of discovering how to create them.