How important do you think it is to have friends within the same range of art/skillset/ambition?
The company you keep
Now from personal experience I’ve found that I was the most productive when I had energetic/creative or interesting people around me. Even if they aren’t in the same creative field as myself, their perspectives really help me think outside of my comfort zone. And as we all know (or are learning) design is about pushing the boundaries of both your imagination and (sometimes) the software you use.
So with whom do you hang out with?
I hang out with such a mashup of people its scary. On a regular basis I hang out with motion designers, DP’s, editors, student directors, UN web developers, Apple retail employees, Japanese teachers, hip hop directors, digital media strategists, actors, audio engineers, shooters, etc… so naturally my crowd is super diverse but one things is a constant among us … ambition.
Yes ambition. They all want to be the best, make cool shit, work on features, etc … they all want to progress and evolve. They are all their own worst critics and lastly they help me evolve every time I work with them.
How do they stack up?
The caliber of people I work/hang with is all over the board. Some of them are just starting and for lack of a better work … they suck … for now. Some are on par with my skills and we evolve and grow together. And lastly there are a few monsters of the industry that I talk to that just blow me away in talent and knowledge but they help me a lot and they give me a goal of what I want to be.
Choose your friends carefully … well kinda
You can’t pick who your friends are, and you shouldn’t really have to but I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that your friends should elevate you to the next level, never hold you back. I’m very blessed that everyone in my life supports me a lot and they have helped me successful so far.
But to answer the real question
I think it’s extremely important to find people that inspire or motivate you regardless of what skillset or art talent they have (or don’t). I would recommend that you find people that are better than you so you get a goal. Find people whom are on your level so you can evolve together. Finally find people who are “below” you and help them reach their goals … don’t be a dick. Sharing your knowledge shows how much you really know and also one day that guy/girl might be helping you rock a project.