I don’t like the word “profesional”, it’s just to vague. But to me the word Veteran means some one that has gone through the whole process more then once. So I talk with a lot of industry veterans, and they all have battle scars. I think it’s real important to listen to these veterans, the trick is how to apply their experiences to what I am doing – which is often very different from the experiences they have had.
I had this expereince recently with my cloth animation, part of what they said concerning how I did some things was very negative (i.e. crazy talk) and on those things they were totally wrong. On other things, which were barely mentioned, they were totally on the money – and I had to redo some things and get way more fanatical on my process.
So my expereince is some things industry veterans express themselves out of negative expereinces they have had on productions that have nuthing to do with mine. They normally don’t mention those productions exactly – and they are extremely vocal on these points which if I listened I would totally mess up my film.
On the other hand, I try to find as many standard practices they use, which often they do not mention except in passing without any details – I find this information golden.