Just like the entertainment industry, the animation industry is hard to break into. It takes more than diligence and dedication to land a job in the animation industry. A keen eye for design, the ability to create memorable characters as well as the knack for developing meaningful stories, these are just a few of the many qualities that animated studios look for in an aspiring animator. Being creative and passionate about your art, we are sure that you are working hard at doing what you love that’s why we’ve listed down some of the best filmmaking tips straight from the pros:
Make Researching a Habit
This is a no-brainer but it still worth a mention; you have to conduct a thorough research before jumping into a shot. Remember, precision and accuracy are everything in the animation industry and to achieve stunning graphics, you have to cover your ground. Prepare yourself for your work by practicing and conducting video research. Focus on the details to create spectacular results.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect. Just like any art form, animation takes years to master. The industry is teeming with creative people and if you want to make a mark, you have to hone your craft. Just continue practicing what you love, learn from your mistakes, and never stop mastering new techniques and technologies to keep yourself updated on new animation applications.
According to Pete Docter, Pixar’s new head, “the more you practice, the better you get, the more you learn, the more you see.”
In a tweet, Walt Disney Animation Studios animator Aaron Blaise has this advice for aspiring animators who are trying to break into the industry: “Try forcing yourself to draw by just laying single lines down. No searching lines. This will force you to think about every line.”
Choose a Small Production
In an interview by Animation World Magazine, Jeff Fino, co-founder and executive producer of Wild Brain, said starting in a small production is key to getting experience as opposed to working in bigger studios like Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar. He said, “It is easier for the cream to rise to the top in a small studio than to go through all the levels in a large company.”
His company Wild Brain produced the graphics for films like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown.
Fino also added that producing commercials is much faster than creating features and cartoons. “With commercials, you are able to learn a different variety of styles because the turnaround time is short, about 8 to 12 weeks.” Fino also stressed the importance of being organized, having exceptional work ethics, and great connections to bagging an internship or a job at an animation studio.
Simplify the Process
According to Andrew Gordon and Robb Denovan of Pixar’s Monsters University, finding ways to simplify the animation process helps in terms of animating something unfamiliar. If say, you are animating something for the first time, break down the process into simple components to complete the animation. In the movie Monsters University, the duo had to color-code Terry-Terri’s tentacles to break down the complicated process of animating each of the components.
Learn and Master New Technologies
Animation applications are aplenty thanks to technology. As a beginner, it’s important to learn about and master new technologies to get the edge you need against competing animators. Scott Wright, an animator for Dreamworks, said that learning and mastering new technologies would enhance your skill set. In a tweet, Wright said. “Technology changes fast. Don’t rely on mastering one program. You never know how the next software package will enhance your imagination.”
Don’t be afraid to use different animation tools to create high quality three-dimension items. By putting your efforts into the performance and using technology to the fullest, you’ll have a lot more to offer, which increases the chances of landing a gig at an animated studio.
Have a Specialty
Don’t be like a Jack of all trades and master of none. It’s great if you have developed a wide variety of skills but if you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s better to specialize in a specific field in animation. Decide what field you’d like to specialize in but make sure to have a decent competency across all other skills.
It’s All About Great Timing
Timing is everything when it comes to landing highly coveted jobs in animation business. The industry is based on the economic consumerism of supply and demand so the availability of animation jobs is dependent on the studio’s workload. This goes especially for indie or small studios.
Mark Medernach, the Executive Producer/Partner at DUCK Studios has this advice for aspiring animators looking for their first break: “There is not as much work out there as there was three years ago, but that does not mean there are not jobs out there. Hard work and persistence is going to get you the work. The economy is weaker right now, so people are less inclined to spend money on animation.”
A large network is critical to finding a great job in the animation industry. This doesn’t mean chasing after movie execs hoping for a job, you have to build your connections by joining job fairs and meeting recruiters. You can also establish a professional rapport by phone when calling for work availability.
According to Ashley Postlewaite, the founder of Renegade Animation, just because work is not available now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try asking for work again. Don’t give up!
“If you call a small studio and there is no work available there, mark your calendar and in six months’ time call again. My current assistant called for months before we had a position available for her. At that stage, she was the first person to come to mind because she had been so interested and thorough in following up with us. You should not stalk people, but there is an appropriate every-couple-of-months check in time. Find somewhere that will hire you at any level. Keep your eyes and ears open and work your way up. I would encourage people not to give up,” Postlewaite said.