Learn how animation studios operate

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The market seems tough right now for all character animators. Let’s see if we can sum up a few of the roadblocks we normally come across on a daily basis:

Limited freelance gigs (usually a max duration of 3 months) have seasoned artists in survival mode, studios are bankrupting or downsizing their animation staff via layoffs, and 90% of our TV animation work is being sent to another country.

These scenarios caused widespread panic on what to do with the education we’ve spent so much on and sacrificed so much for. This resulted in massive amounts of start-up companies emerging, artists moving to Canada, inexperienced artists going back to school and/or actually teaching, and people attempting to jump into other art/design job positions.

Did that solve the problem? Not really. Most start-ups failed because they lacked sufficient clientele, half the artists who moved to Canada are still unemployed in Canada, the artists who went back to school to learn / teach still aren’t gaining experience, and the rest of them are found battling other designers for positions they don’t actually want.

Time for the Regurge advice:

Learn how animation studios operate. First, a company will not spend money on fresh talent if they’re struggling to pay their full time staff. Second, company failures repel new clients, which result in company layoffs. Third, our economy affects the mindset of the client, which is the guy who wants to put his money into the basket that guarantees the most profit. Today’s client demands company stability, because long lasting companies are companies that have been trusted before. Now the ONLY reason a company today takes on full time employees is when the projected workload indefinitely increases. This hasn’t happened recently, so most artists spend their career hopping from studio to studio.

When applying for a job, look to have these questions answered:

How long have they been around? (clients want enduring companies)
How large is their client list? (More clients, more money coming)
How many clients returned? (Were they treated well? Can they still afford them?)
Have they done company instructional work? (Stable market, full of non creatives with money to spend)

#4 is usually a trait found in smaller generalist studios that fly under the radar, but are more stable than the companies producing commercial campaign spots!

FOLLOW THE CLIENTS. FOLLOW THE CLIENTS. FOLLOW THE CLIENTS. Please.

It’s still going to be tough, because it largely depends on applying at the right time. You WILL get either the job you want, or the job you’re forced to take. The most serious question an animator asks himself/herself when looking for work:

Do I really love doing this as much as I think I do? Whoever has the stronger answer is the one who will always be employed!

Comment below. Share experiences.

Animator’s Advice on Success – Mike L. Murphy

Mike L. Murphy (animation director, pre-vis supervisor, and teacher) gives insight here on how he pushed through every “NO” he received from employers. This interview has three parts, but the last segment is highlighted because it includes:

#1 How he got his portfolio from the HR pile to the head of animation

#2 His take on Malcolm Gladwell’s OutLiers and how it applies to animators

#3 Why an animator MUST respect their breaks and weekends

#4 Why his #1 priority is always making a poster of GOALS
 

 
To watch more interviews on Mike Murphy, click below:
http://www.mikelmurphy.com/

Career Advice – From school to the film industry

Ty Carter wrote an excellent (and short!) post explaining how one artist actually got his dream job straight out of college! After examining the footsteps of Kevin Yang, a visual development artist, he came to 3 industry-level conclusions regarding the traits he admired in Kevin’s student work ethic:

#1 learn to get feedback
#2 learn to use feedback constructively to grow
#3 learn to persevere optimistically until you land that dream job

Being more successful is just one click away:

Career Advice – Interviewing for Introverts

An ex-victim of awkward silence has created a post that teaches people like us to focus on things during a conversation that actually help to make us more comfortable. David Cain’s post wasn’t created for interviewing, but it should be used for one. Here are a couple of problems he identified with shyness and how to avoid awkward silence:

“Being shy just kills self-esteem.  People begin to treat you like you have nothing to say.”

“To make things worse, the consistent lack of practice prevents you from getting any better at conversing.”

People fall back on 3 horrible topics when they have nothing to say: weather, news, and asking about people’s jobs.*

—–

Make conversation-watching a habit. It can give you a short go-to list of ways to open and close conversations.*

Practice speaking up. And practice always means allowing yourself do something badly until you can do it not so badly.

Replace your fallback topics with one question: Do you have any cats/ dogs/ upcoming vacations/ new cars/ creative hobbies outside of work?*

Regardless of their response, you now have options: What kind of cat? Why don’t you like dogs? Have you always wanted to vacation there? Is there another car model that you had your eye on? What does stamp collecting/ archery/ video games do for you?

Go through the list above or your own one at a time. If they say no (and nothing else), just move on to the next one. It’s easier to end conversations abruptly, but with a smile, once you find common ground.

“People are so grateful to get a chance to gush about their pet topics.  They’ll remember the conversation, and they’ll certainly remember you.  And that’s because you gave them a tremendous gift: you gave them a chance to be themselves with you. You rescued them from the slow agony of a dead-end work or weather conversation, and you let them feel good about being who they are.  Don’t underestimate how profound an effect this has on a person.  You can be the best part of a party for a lot of people.”

“Uncomfortable people tend to make others uncomfortable, and open people tend to make others open.”

My source:

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/04/how-to-always-have-something-better-to-talk-about-than-the-weather/

*(paraphrased)