‘An animator requires in my opinion, quite an artist and a technician and that’s a hard combination’
Tim Burton, Director Corpse Bride & Frankenweenie.
While we’re not going to disagree with Tim Burton, there are other soft skills and traits employers look for in animators, aside from the obvious mix of artistic and technical talent.
Animation is a tight, creative community where personality goes an awful long way. We all want to share our work life with talented people who we can get on well and have fun together. Here’s our list of the non creative/technical traits employers look for that aren’t necessarily listed in the job description.
Be a People Person
Obvious? Maybe. But when you are working on a set or in a small studio environment it’s so important that everyone in the crew gets on. A happy crew is a successful crew and that’s the aim. So put the ego to one side and show that you have a collaborative mindset and can work well with others. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a Christian Bale-esque set rant.
Versatility can allow you to slot into a number of roles or work on a project from concept to completion. This can be highly desirable for an employer who may not have the budget to hire specialists in every area of production. There’s also the benefit of understanding other elements of production outside of your specialty.
Be Willing to Learn
Everyone works in different ways. Animation companies are looking to recruit staff that bring their own skills and methods of working but also show an ability to adapt and grow. Processes, software and workflow can vary from studio to studio so you can’t be stuck in your ways. Being able to show future employers that you learnt new skills while in a previous role can be a big advantage.
Every studio is looking for self-motivated crew who can stay positive and help drive a team forward. It’s inevitable that at some point in your career you will put your heart and soul into a project only for a client to swiftly request a complete change in direction. Yes it’s demoralising but you need to be able to bounce back and continue to give 100%. Deadlines are also a harsh reality of the industry, so there can be no kicking back and relaxing when the mood strikes you.
Be Honest and Helpful
Two qualities expected in almost every profession. Animation is no different. We’re not just talking being able to adhere to confidentiality forms and making the odd cup of tea. As an animator you will have a lot of responsibility, both individually and as part of a wider team, so everyone needs to pull their weight. We all make mistakes and sometimes we just need be honest, put our hand up and ask for help.
Be Hot on Comms
Being a creative isn’t an excuse for poor email and communication skills. Yes you’re getting employed for your animation abilities but that’s no excuse for not checking your emails, keeping poor notes, or failing to keep your producer updated with your progress. Even in recruitment, badly written cover letters or emails are an instant turn off for employers.
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