Can Working Hurt My Career?

So a week or so ago I wrote a post telling you, my reader, that I’ve got a new job to tide me over financially while I create a new body of work. But actually, a strong feeling of “Is this a bad move” has been setting in. That is: can working hurt my career?

Let me explain. I’ve worked in customer service jobs since I was 16 and, judging by the compliments I get from customers, I’m rather good at it. But this is not something I want to go into eventually because its not a passion of mine: its a skill that doesn’t seem to take a lot of effort and certainly something I don’t need to work on. In fact there’s not even a science behind it: just be human and listen more then you talk.
I wish to continue working with the public and within a team but within a creative manner.  In my soul-seeking this seems to be the best thing for me to do as a career and I should focus on that.

My feeling is whether or not my irrelevant CV and work history is a hinderance or a sign of something I should carry on with? If you were to skim-read (or stick my CV through a fancy computer algorithm to pull the information from…) would you almost disregard my covering letter and personal statement because its irrelevant?

What do you think ? Is taking a bit of a sabbatical from what you really want to do a bad thing?

Please comment , like and share. Your feedback is highly appreciated! Don’t forget to check out my brand new all bells and many-a-whistle website!

Also: just for a bit of fun: I was listening to this whilst writing:



Bah-Bar Black Dan: Have You Any News?

Hello! Welcome back to my blog. Its been a little while since I’ve updated the old girl and I have made some quite major decisions about my life in general so lets get crackin’ and i’ll begin.

So first of all: biggest news first: I’ve got a job! I know, I know…its probably about time I did but I’ve done it now. Its not a job in my field though, its just a bar job at a privately owned premises here in Aylesbury. I dropped in 9th May with my CV and spoke to the owner and then a week later got a call for a trial shift that night. It wasn’t really a trial so to speak but more a chance to see if I enjoyed the job and wanted to stay. Quite frankly, even if I was digging graves or something I would’ve still carried on. I need the money. I enjoy working with people and I’m one of those damn busy bodies that HAVE to be busy to feel sane. The uniform is essentially all black though, which means that on the rare occasion that its hot here in England: I roast! I’ve found it really easy to pick up everything and despite initial apprehension feel very confident that I am doing a good job. In fact: even on my 3rd day I had a couple request to see the manager to say my service was first class and they wished to thank me. So I must be doing something right I guess.

I realised some time ago that I need money to make money. I was just not happy with my existence. I wasn’t ever leaving the house, spent most of my time on my own and was relying (yes: relying) on social media to communicate with people. I found myself getting disillusioned and out of touch with people in general. I’d even add that I was resenting my friends for having a better life than I did. That was the catalyst because I value my friends more then anything and I knew that the moment I even felt a twinge of resentment that I had to change. I guess it wasn’t healthy but I feel so much better now for doing so now.

But as stated, unfortunately I am putting my aspirations aside for the time being and working full-time. I need the money to move out, to learn to drive and to just enjoy my life again. I had been on Job Seekers Allowance since November 2013 and it was not a happy time. Quite frankly I was sick of feeling like I was living off the state and feeling worthless.
But don’t take this as me giving up. I am now working on a portfolio of work with the luxury of time to really make the work shit-hot and the best I can do. I’ve been a silly boy and I was living in a dreamworld: hoping day by day that the phone would ring and the perfect entry level job would just fall into my lap. It never happened. I used the phrase “luxury of time” there because with working between 40-50 hours a week means I don’t have a lot of time nowadays to actually work on projects but I am slowly.

Lastly, I’ve now established a brand new website for my work. You can find it at . I went with for the portfolio design and its hosted on I’m a huge fan of the very simple but effective controls to upload images and videos with Carbonmade and the customer service from Hover was absolutely first-rate and made the whole process so easy. So if you are looking for a great portfolio service: they are my recommendations.

I’m a happy and fulfilled person again. Its been a very, very long time since I’ve said that.

Dan x



London Landmarks. 26th April 2014

I had a really enjoyable day (heavily needed) with Hannah shooting London backwards and taking a lot of photos. I’ve edited them down and retouched them and they can be viewed below!


WordPress Daily Post: My Musical Risk.

My biggest risk, up to this point, would be in 2008 when I was 16. I was a few short weeks from finishing school and I was pretty much dead set on continuing education and going onto study music at A-Level. I”d been playing music for years as part off the school orchestra (I was first violin) and I enjoyed it tremendously.

However, throughout 2008 especially, my aspirations changed. I realised that I didn’t want to pursue music at the school I was at because I felt the system was very elitist. It seemed to me that the only real way you could have your say was if your parents where part of the PTA, a school governor, or they had influential connections. I’d like to be wrong about this but I still think that was the case.

One very hot morning, I had recorded several takes of a grade 6 violin piece for my coursework. It was a solo piece and I was playing at a level that I’d never really hit before. I really cannot remember the piece but I do remember it was extremely fast and very complicated to play. Doubled with the fact that it was being assessed so I had to hit every intonation, be technically great and then think about the performance of it.

Later that week, I was called to the music teacher’s office ands I was met with a barrage of shouting because apparently, I had swore on the finaled take after I had finished it. Now, I still deny this because I don’t remember doing so but the music teacher was adamant that I had. After a good 10 minutes of him being all up in my grill so to speak and his face pressed right up against mine, he pushed me hard into the wall of his office. And something snapped. The realisation that I was right about not continuing with music at that school and having that particular teacher was all ringing true. I left, and never , ever returned.

So I guess my biggest risk was what I did next. I went to my next lesson and a classmate had a prospectus for another college and , obviously still raw about what had happened moments ago, I borrowed it and had a look. The course I chose was very far away from music as it was doing Media and Computer Games. This was a curveball that I had never seen myself doing. But I stole the prospectus and applied there and then. I wasn’t listening to whatever my Spanish-English teacher was saying (probably something about Macbeth) and I sent my application off that day. As time passed, I had finished my exams, had my college interview and was accepted and was due to start the course the following September.

It was a massive risk for me to change, what I had thought would someday be my career , for something almost completely different. Did it pay off though? Not really. As the years went passed I started to really miss music , performing music and being part of a group. I still do quite frankly. My current career goals as a motion graphics artist is something that I maybe still have been going about because I don’t want to return to being a musician. But in the same vein, everything I do is influenced by music. Every video I make I write and perform the music. Its just a part of who I am and my creative identity.

I hope to one day combine my love of music with love of filmmaking.


WordPress Daily Post: 18/4/2014


Creative Expression?

I can’t cook. I’ve never really tried either. But I know for some it’s a passion and a way to express themselves. Maybe this is you?
Other people paint , creating beautiful artworks that they can be proud of and properly captures their true selves or message.
Alternately , other people write music and find that to be stimulating and personal.

But for me I’m completely empty. I’m finding it so hard to realise what exactly is my passion in life and more importantly : a way to express myself. The old phrase “Fingers in many pies” applies too much to me. I’m a musician and an animator. But I cannot find a way , in both mediums, how to properly express what I feel. In fact it’s probably more accurate that I’m repressing it instead.
See the thing that bothers me is that I’m impulsive and say for example I was to do a little animation to express an idea , it’s not something I feel I can work on for a long period of time without the initial gut feeling going.
Even so , the feeling that I’m not very good is more stronger then any real lack of inspiration anyway.

So I ask YOU, how do you express yourself ? What is your outlet? How did you find it ? Or did you always just know?

Leave your comments below and I’ll get back to you.

March 2014: Notes, Work and No Prisoners

Hey guys, how’s it going? A quick update on where things are at the mo as I’ve not really updated my blog with anything meaningful in a month or so.

So March was a very interesting and stressful month for me. A month filled with work and realisations. Some good, some bad but all important.
So to kick off, I’ve been working on a remote freelance basis for a small company based in London on a few simple motion graphic pieces in the healthcare industry. It’s been very helpful in understanding just how professional work is done and how the feedback process works in the wider world. I was working from home though which as I’ve said before, I don’t like. I mean yes, it means no commute and I can basically work in my dressing gown (I don’t but just sayin’ ) but it also means I don’t really speak to anyone or leave the house and it makes it very difficult to compartmentalise my time. I never switch off.

In fact, the reason why I was doing this work in the first place was because it was a trial for a permanent job. I have no clue where things stand at the moment with that though. But for now, I’m happy at least with the experience I’ve gained. I’m proud of myself that I do have the balls to take on full projects without anyone else really telling me how to do things. I’ve never been one to ask for help anyway unless I actually need it.

I’ve also been doing a couple of freelance projects for an events company based in Surrey. You can check that out here in my illustration gallery. I’ve never really taken in full. Graphic projects as I’m an animator but it was fun to do and a stretch too.

Aside from that, it’s been a fairly quiet month. I ventured to London at the start of the month which was fun. See, I probably have a few rose-tinted view of the capital but I find the whole place fascinating. I love the history , the culture and the people. Here are a few snaps I took on my phone while I was there:




At this point I do feel the need to thank and apologise to my 2 best friends Hannah and George. I realise and fully know how much of a pest I’ve been over the last few weeks. But I genuinely needed you guys this month so thanks for listening!

Aside from all that, April is looking to be a quiet month. I’m looking for new work and I’m trying my hardest to gain an internship in motion graphics. I find it so damn frustrating it’s taken this long to get somewhere but I’ve got to remain positive. I’m really not going to hold back with my efforts now. I’m very aware that a new round of graduates are about to unleashed into the wild and therefore: even more people looking for the same work as me.

Onwards and upwards

Dan x>

An Open Letter To The Department of Work and Pensions: You Have Failed.

To Whom It May Concern,

Since November, I have been on Job-Seekers allowance. That has now come to a short, sharp and very abrupt ending and I am furious. Why? Because I was doing the right thing. Despite doing the right thing and continually looking for work, I feel like I have been punished by an inflexible system that needs to be re-designed: and quick! 


Wednesday was my sign-on date and my job advisor already knew of my situation and knew I was doing work during the week. Ive always been very honest with them and never tried to fiddle the system like the cast of “Benefits Street”. I was looking for work, still possibly could be and there is no doubt in my mind that I DO want to work and never shied away from it. I’ve been working since I was 16, all through college and university and only since graduating have had problems. My job search was cohesive and effective and every time I went back to them, I had made progress and everything was fine.

My current situation is that I am working remotely for a company on a few projects full-time. The work itself is live client work and there will be a decision if I am to be taken on full-time permanently next week. It is paid and I have been paid £150 (untaxed) for 80 hours over a 2 week period. If you want to do the maths: thats £1.88 per hour. The national minimum wage for a 22 year old is £6.31 per hour. The job centre’s own rules say that you can work up to 16 hours whilst still on Job Seekers. So if, for example, I’d had a job whilst on JSA and worked for minimum wage, I’d of received £201.92 and this would of been fine. So why is my case different? It was explained by another member of staff that their system won’t look at how much I’ve been paid but how many hours it is. That makes no sense at all.

At the job centre, after saying what I had been doing, thinking it was ok as they already knew about it and have never said its a problem: I was treated like I’d gone and killed a man. I had to fill out a multitude of forms declaring that I had been working and that my job seekers allowance (JSA) would be stopped there and then. Its a massive mess and very illogical too. I declared on their forms that I had worked 80 hours and they simply said “Well you’ve worked over 16 so thats that”.

My job seeker’s allowance was spent on paying for my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription so I could continue to make new work and land a job in the field that I have been training in since I was 16. Aiming to work in the creative industry is all encompassing. To create content it takes a lot of time and mental effort that, in my experience, just can’t be achieved doing it “here and there”.
I’m now in a horrible and distressing place. My phone has been cut-off, my Adobe subscription has now entered “trial mode with “26 days remaining” and things just feel so horrible and unfair. My point being that I relied on that money TO be able to work and never saw it as a “free money”. Furthermore: if I do get this job, I’ve lost out on the Job Centre’s assistance with the first month’s travel which is at least £400. Even if I am paid soon and land the job, then actually affording to get to work everyday is going to be a real challenge.

sincerely hope that you revise your rules and understand that people cannot be annexed into the current system that you all try so hard to defend and ‘change’. It does not work. It is unfair. It has failed another person. Please give my regards to the benefits scrounge that you so willingly accommodate who can remain on benefits because they have a tickly cough or the migrant who has signed on because the UK is the softest of soft touches. Enjoy your 2nd home, your frivolous expenses and make sure you keep your banker friends happy in pastry and under-the-desk transactions.  I wouldn’t want them to suffer after all.

Isn’t life grand?


Daniel J Smith.


Soft Armour, Woven Confidence.

Yesterday, I received two gorgeous shirts from Tobias Clothing, an ethical fashion brand and I absolutely adore them. The quality is superb , I love the hidden fabric patterns in the cuffs and I felt so good wearing them.

This got me thinking about fashion and clothing being used as a personal guard and confidence booster. I have my hangups (as does everyone) about what I look like and what others think of me when I’m out and about. I know that people make snap judgements about others from the way they look. With how you look being even more important nowadays as services like Instagram, that instant ability to expose yourself to others puts the pressure on.

For me, although I am bothered about the way I look , I take more confidence from what I’ve done, doing and shall do. I’m proud of my achievements and ashamed by my failures. This is internalised and without being a douchebag, I can’t tell everyone I meet what these things are. So my woven armour comes into play. I put my guard up and use that as a pretty effective barrier.
I’m not shallow and saying that the way you look defines who you are because beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. What I’m trying to get at is that , for me, looking good makes me feel good.

What do you guys think? What makes you feel confident?


Rigging Herb 1

So, I’ve been experimenting in After Effects, working out how to properly rig an animatable 2D character with the aim of performing a realistic walk cycle. The learning curve has been so, so steep but I now understand it and its just a case of finishing the rig now. It’s all done with constraining Puppet Tool meshes to the anchor points of NULL objects using expressions.

For those who want to know the expression I’ve used its:

n=thisComp.layer(“Nullobject_Name”); nullpos=n.toComp(n.anchorPoint); fromComp(nullpos);

Finished Frame with Lighting

Finished Frame with Lighting

Herb with his controls

Herb with his controls

My Timeline. The body parts are shyed away.

My Timeline. The body parts are shyed away.

Quite frankly, its a long pain in the ass to do but I really want to know how as its useful.

Untill next time.