My biggest motivation in moving to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly before the turn of the century was to find a job using my recently acquired skills (such as they were) in 3D modeling and animation. This was a time when people could make piles of money just by being one of The Few who knew how to use the latest software (like Flash) before a million kids learned how to use it in school. This was the Dot-Com Inflammation, before it became a Bubble and burst.
If only I knew what I was doing.
Though I was new to the area, my digital skills were incomplete and untested, and I was Old (my late 30’s!), I actually managed to arrange more than a few interviews. Strange interviews. Or with strange companies, or just strange people.
There was the interview with UBUBU. (You-be-you-be-you? You-boo-boo? I still don’t know.) I signed a non-disclosure agreement, but I don’t know why, because they didn’t tell me a single thing the company was planning to do. Aside from asking me questions, all they told me was that they’d contracted Patrick Stewart to provide his voice for something. I never heard from them again, but I’m not sure anyone else did, either.
Then there was Eight Cylinders, where they were developing a new super-cool non-traditional immersive browser thingy, and they told me all about it. Nice offices, very few people. Had two really good interviews there, then nothing.
There were a few game companies, but I didn’t play games. Apparently you have to play games to contribute to the making of games. And there was the company that scanned Big Things, like Triceratops fossils, to make digital models. And another company that scanned core samples.
But of all the companies I interviewed with, the weirdest, the most memorable was Digiscents. They were working on a device that would add smells to the sights and sounds of internet media. No, really! And (no, really) they called it “iSmell” technology. Really. There was a little box with vials of chemicals that would mix together in different proportions according to internet signals to puff out any concocted smell you could think of. What could go wrong?
Digiscents even gave me a mousepad to remember them by, so you know I’m not lying!
After two or three years of interviewing, I never did find a job in the Bay Area. But I found temporary gigs, and discovered the world of freelancing, as much as I didn’t intend to be a part of it, and the rest is history.