Bubble Gum Interactive is a studio driven by a desire to create compelling story-driven experiences for kids and families worldwide. We’re inspired by the creativity and imagination of kids but we’re also always amazed by the talents of our peers.
Since we started, we’ve worked hard to build relationships with educational institutions and have built a very strong relationship with QANTM college, Australia’s leading digital media educator specialising in animation, games design, games programming, graphic design and interactive media.
Bubble Gum Interactive has spoken at many QANTM events and participated in reviews of student projects. Recently, I was invited to speak at the QANTM graduation ceremony. It was a great honor to play a part in the ceremony and congratulate the students for completing their studies and wishing them well on the next steps of their journeys.
As artists, writers, coders, designers and creators, these students have learned how to take an idea or vision and transform that into a finished outcome, be it a film, song, game or other interactive experience. Now beginning their new careers, these students can craft the life they wish to lead.
The transcript of my speech is shared below.
Well, today is your day. I’d like to congratulate you on your graduation day.
Today you’re surrounded by friends and family who have come to celebrate the completion of your studies. It’s a great time to reflect on what you have learned, on where you have come from and where you are going. It’s one of those pivotal moments in life that means a lot to you right now, but will continue to mean a lot to you in years to come. You’ll likely reflect on this day again in future. Right now you’re no doubt full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Cherish this feeling and bottle a little bit of it away. In years to come you might find that you need to take a swig from this bottle to recharge your batteries or reenergise.
I was asked to think about my own experiences. I finished my undergrad studies in 1999 and went to work full of energy and optimism. Unfortunately this little thing called the dot com bomb put a dampener on things. I then spent a rather long time working out what to do. I worked in different fields and roles. I travelled. I spent months backpacking around Europe and exploring different cultures and places, meeting new people and enjoying different experiences. I worked for many years in the UK and I think that working overseas is one of the best experiences you can give yourself. I’d definitely recommend you consider the idea of working in a different country at some point in your career. When my time in rainy London had drawn to a close I returned home to er…. Sunny Sydney – not that we’ve had much sun this summer! I started a family, and I went back to university. I did a postgrad degree and then went back to working. But I’d had enough of big companies and corprorate bureaucracy so I moved into consulting for a time. After ten or so years in the workforce I took the plunge and started a business with friends – that business is Bubble Gum Interactive and we’ve created an amazing new game for kids and families worldwide called Little Space Heroes. Things are going really well. I work with some amazing people and I’m constantly using skills, knowledge and understandings that I gained in my studies on a day-to-day basis.
I believe very firmly that it is important to always be pushing yourself forwards. Use what you have learnt and what you have achieved in the past to help you achieve your future goals.
As students of QANTM you have learned new skills, honed your talents. Now that the assignments and exams are over you can take more of a birds eye view – clearly you’ve learnt lots of very specific skills, learned new technologies and no doubt become an expert at some tasks. At a higher level though, you have learned more holistically – how to take dreams and ideas from a vision to more tangible goals; how to prioritise and manage time and deliverables; what your strengths are; what your weaknesses are. Don’t ever feel bad about not being great at something – no one is perfect at everything. Even expert economists who talk about Opportunity Cost will tell you that it’s more important to develop and build upon your strengths rather than fret too much about things you’re not great at.
You will certainly have made great friendships in your time here, and have plenty of great memories of time spent together. Even those terrible all-nighters, corrupted files and scrunched up notes were all valuable experiences. Of course you’ll have had to work with people that you may wish to never see again – it’s natural in any environment that personalities will clash. Hopefully you’ve recognised that dealing with people who work or act differently to you is a fact of life. You will continue to have to work with difficult people in your career. Learning to do this is an important part of your future development. Whenever you have a negative experience you should reflect on how you can learn from this.
It’s been an incredible time for you, but this chapter is now complete. It’s time for the next step.
So what lies ahead? Well, it’s entirely up to you. Your hopes and dreams are waiting to happen – As artists you can see the painting on the blank canvas; As writers you can read the story yet to be written; As designers and coders you can envision the game you’re yet to develop.
And so, as new graduates you can create the life you wish to lead.
And most of all, have fun!