Following the incredible response to our last post ‘How to get a job in animation’, we wanted to share more advice for those looking to forge a career in animation. So forgetting portfolios and C.Vs for just a second, let’s focus on the things you can be doing right now to prepare for a career in animation.Whether you’re still in school, fresh out of uni or changing direction into animation, here are our top tips:
Be a Creative, Not Just an Animator
While you’ll need to be technically accomplished in your chosen area of expertise, studios aren’t looking for robots. An animator also needs to have flair, an individual style and bundles of ideas. So get creative. Immerse yourself in new ideas. Your influence and inspiration can come from anywhere… dance, books, life-drawings, even Instagram. A cross pollination of disciplines will have endless benefits as you progress your career.
Become a Voyeur (Watch More Films!)
If you want to get into this industry, you shouldn’t need any encouragement from us to watch films. Just make sure you’re not limiting yourself to your childhood favourites, the latest blockbusters or what’s new on Netflix. Expand your film list. Watch both short and feature animation. Explore genres from around the world, old and new. Learn and take inspiration.
Learn From the Greats
Call us traditional, but forget YouTube for a little while and go pick up one of those old things called a book. Many successful animators got where they are today by reading one of the great animation books of our time. ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ by Richard Williams is considered THE animation bible and will be a great resource at any stage of your education. There are many others out there that will also help your development. From writing, design, animation, and various other skills applicable to all techniques.
Keep a Sketch Book
You don’t need the latest animation software or your own stop-motion studio to hone your skills. Start with the fundamentals. Draw, sketch, write ideas, experiment and do your own thing. Just practice, practice, practice. Keep your sketchbook with you at all times so you can develop skills and ideas even when you’re stuck on the bus or sitting on a park bench. 2D studios will ask to see a portfolio of life drawings in an interview, so you need to get sketching.
Promote and Review
Getting feedback on your work is an everyday part of being an animator, so it’s something you need to get used to. Start by creating your own website, blog or even just an Instagram page that shows your behind-the-scenes work and video tests. While this can spread your reputation, it’s just as important that you get you in the habit of being critical and talking about your own work.
Get Out There
Like it or not, at some point you are going to need to get yourself out there and meet people. Networking can be one of the best ways to get noticed and make new contacts in the industry. So head to a festival, watch incredible animation and introduce yourself to other animators. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions and get contact details. You never know who you might bump into…
Be active on Social Media. There are countless groups and forums that you can use in order to learn new techniques, search for opportunities, share knowledge and make new contacts. Asking for help and advice online from peers and industry professionals is extremely common and nothing to be nervous about. Let your personality show and be confident.
Let’s face it, at one point or another we’ve all had to try and get a foot in the door. As with many competitive professions gaining real industry experience in animation is massively beneficial. Sure it looks good on a C.V, but more importantly it will also give you an insight into what an actual animation work environment is like and what type of role you feel you would be most suited for. Be like a sponge, soaking up everything and asking questions!
For more industry insight and career advice, read our recent blogs ‘How to get a job in animation’ and ‘What you wont find in an animation job description‘.
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