EVOLVE is the Flash development blog of me, Matt Przybylski.
I was born in 1983 in Kielce, Poland. My family moved to the United States when I was 7 (1990) to pursue the American dream (doesn’t everyone?). I ended up being kind of an artsy person and wanted to go to college for 3D modeling. In my junior year of high school I realized that I wasn’t good enough at drawing (I could only draw while looking at something, not much of an imagination) so I switched my major to Multimedia & Web Design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg (as it was at the time called, now I think it’s something like Interactive Design).
I went on to graduate and had my degree but wasn’t exactly sure where to go from there. Most of the classes we took at the school didn’t include Flash. That was when Director was still around and it turned out that most of my classes, as far as interactive development went, were Director classes. I enjoyed programming and had two great teachers introduce me to it (Pete Infelise and Scott Sidman) at the school. After graduating I took 10 days off to visit the motherland for the first time since I moved here and upon returning decided that I wanted to be a Flash developer.
I bought the book Macromedia Flash MX 2004: Training from the Source and went about my business of spending the next month learning every day from 9 to 5. It became my “job” and I finished up a chapter a day. After finishing the book I was confident that I had learned enough to start looking for a job so I registered with a creative staffing agency in downtown Chicago, Creative Circle. In no time at all I was on my first contract job at an agency I was told was one of the top notch in the world. I had no idea about the advertising agency world and didn’t know much about companies that did what I wanted to do here in Chicago.
I went ahead and landed at Tribal DDB on a project for OfficeMax, the Rubberband Man holiday campaign. I worked with a great team but learned quickly that what I thought I learned from the book was not good enough. I went back to the drawing board and sought out to absorb as much as possible by getting more books and visiting sites like Kirupa and FlashKit. By looking at other people’s code and reading the tutorials on those sites I learned as much as I could and was comfortable going into another contract. I went on to do contract work for a while and ended up landing at Avenue A | Razorfish in downtown Chicago.
Here is where I learned most of what I know today from some really good developers, most notably Tom Stanley. Tom was able to teach me little bits here and there while pushing me into projects that required me to learn on the job very quickly. I picked up object-oriented programming from Tom’s class files and it is my personal preference to code in such a manner today.
I’m still a contract developer and I don’t plan on changing that in the very near future as I’m still young and the benefits of being on a contract outweigh the negatives. I could get into a whole schpiel on this but I’ll save that for another day (if you want to debate me on it, feel free to send me an e-mail and we can discuss why I believe it’s more beneficial). Of course, being a contractor is dependent on your lifestyle and it won’t suit everyone, but it does me just fine.
Why did I just write all of that? Well, people often ask me how I got started and what steps I took to get to where I am today. The most important thing is that you have to keep up with the community as it is ever-changing. Posting on forums at Kirupa became a daily thing and asking/answering questions was part of the learning process. You get to see how people solve others’ problems and it is an invaluable tool.
When reading this site, keep in mind that I am not one of those technical writers that tries to throw around my expansive vocabulary of nerdisms. I don’t have a background in programming and to avoid confusing myself I try to write in as simple of a language as possible. For that reason sometimes advanced programmers may find my writing to sound amateurish. I’m perfectly fine with that as long as you still understand what is going on and you don’t have to open up a thesaurus when reading what I write.
The reason I started this site is to give back to the community for what it has helped me to accomplish. I hope that people can learn from this site much like I was able to learn from the other sites I talked about (to name a few). If you have any questions or a request, please use the Request page and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
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