As Rolo has grown, this is a conversation we’ve been having to have a bit more often. Admittedly, this is kind of awkward. It’s kind of like when you are dating someone and they say “It’s not you, it’s me”. While this is partially true, there are a lot of factors at play here that influence these decisions.
We’re creating this article to provide as much transparency as we can behind the inner workings at Rolo and how we are attempting to guide the site’s growth.
First, the “us” part
Rolo is very new so I’d be remiss if I didn’t start by saying that we are still figuring a lot of this out as we go. Rolo began fairly spontaneously one day as a “wouldn’t it be nice if this existed” kind of conversation over coffee down in the tropical paradise of Florida. To our surprise (and with a lot of hard work) this idea very quickly blossomed into the first working MVP and now it has become a site with a few hundred amazing artists on it. That is crazy!
While Rolo is still very new, both of us have a tremendous amount of experience running and managing community-based projects in the motion design space. Joey with the educational behemoth that is School of Motion and Joe with his previous work running Motionographer and later starting Holdframe. Together, we’ve learned a lot through these experiences and they’ve guided a lot of our decision-making for Rolo. Mainly, we don’t want to make many of the same mistakes twice.
Aimless growth isn't always a good thing
Anyone who has managed a large collection of anything can attest to the fact that the bigger it gets, the harder it can be to wrangle and in turn, the harder it can be to find what you are looking for, whether that be Pokemon cards or reference images for a project.
We’ve all been there. We start with the best intentions. Hand-picking just the right images for what we have in mind, only collecting the best references, naming everything with painstaking detail, and every file going into the perfect folder. We radiate with pride in the ironclad folder structure that we’ve created! Then, you’re running late for a meeting, you’re distracted or fatigued from not getting enough sleep and you commit the first cardinal sin and save something to your Desktop or leave a file in the Downloads folder… From there, cracks begin to form in your perfect system. Before you know it there are Untitled folders everywhere and you are saving files as finalFinalFINAL_v05.jpg. And just as it happened with the fall of Rome your organization system is gone and anarchy ensues…
That is what we want to avoid with Rolo. Even though we are setting ambitious goals, and we do want the site to grow rapidly, we’re still reviewing each artist to ensure that they are the right fit for Rolo, right now.
If I don't get in now, then when?
This is a hard question to answer. As with most things, timing is a huge factor. We do not have quotas on Rolo but at the same time, we are mindful of what is represented on the database and what the balance is. Our goal for Rolo is for it to be an ever-growing and amazing site that represents the wide range of mediums in our field as well as the diversity of artists and various backgrounds that make up this community.
A good way to illustrate this: 3D Design is huge right now. With tech companies flocking to work in the 3D space (take a look at any of the amazing Microsoft films in recent years), and the boom of daily renders and NFTs, everyone seems to be a 3D artist nowadays. We want the full spectrum of 3D represented on Rolo but, we also don’t want 3D to completely take over Rolo. While it is a dominant trend right now, it’s only one of the many facets that make up this medium. To balance that, right now, that likely means we need to view each 3D applicant with a bit more scrutiny to make sure we don’t tip the scales one way or the other.
I get that, but what are you looking for?
That might not be fair for the individual but it is what is best for Rolo’s growth and for Rolo to be as inclusive of a place as it can be and one that represents all styles of motion design. That is just one example and this is something where the goalposts will always be moving.