You have the skills and an impressive portfolio to match, but are these enough to break through the animation industry? It takes more than a vivid imagination and a wild desire to work in the entertainment business to make it in the animation industry! The industry is fiercely competitive and hiring studios aren’t just looking at candidates’ portfolio when picking the right person for the job.

What personality traits do studio heads look for in a candidate? Bag that dream job and start a successful animation career by learning the top qualities that hiring managers are searching for in an animator:

Enthusiasm

Being good at executing an idea is always great to have but studio heads are looking for creative individuals who are not afraid to take on new challenges or push the envelope to elevate the project. A good animator should be open to out of the box ideas and fresh concepts.

Whether it’s a new software or an animation technique to master, a good animator is not afraid of a challenge! Being eager to learn new things and being committed to developing their craft are the traits that hiring managers look for in potential candidates.

Originality

Giving one’s own interpretation to a popular concept is one way to build a fine portfolio but fresh concepts will always stand out. That’s why hiring managers love artists who are inventive in terms of presenting their own perspective. Studios are always searching for talents who are able to create their own original designs.

A Sense of Humor

Some of the most memorable animated characters are the funniest because the artists behind these characters have a quirky sense of humor – think Genie of Aladdin, Homer of The Simpsons, Shrek, or heck, all the characters in The Emperor’s New Groove (one of the best Disney movies of all time, in our humble opinion). These characters are not hilarious because of the dialogue but also because of their movements and facial expressions.

A candidate who is able to let his sense of humor show through his artworks is one way to achieve mainstream success. One way to do this is to let your characters’ facial expressions and actions mimic your own! Most animated series and movies are aimed for kids so base your work to a child’s perspective, think of the things or situations that would make them laugh.

Team Player

Creating movie magic is a team effort, more so if studio heads are working on animated series. That’s why it’s important for talents to get along well with the entire production team, you’ll work with them for a long time.

Being a part of an animation team means working with people from different departments. You’ll work with illustrators, layout artists, background designers, concept artists, storyboarders, key animators, and more. Everyone’s work could also overlap at some point in the pipeline so you have to learn how to work well with others to complete the project.

You must have a positive attitude to go with your talents. You have to get along well with others, know how to work together as a team, and be a good listener. On top of that, you should understand your roles and responsibilities as a team member so that work comes and goes smoothly for everyone.

Attention to Detail

Successful animators do not provide mediocre work. They go the extra mile to make sure that the animation is done properly. And to create high-quality work, one must have an eye for detail. That means focusing on all facets of the process, including the minute details of the animation to elevate the quality of the project.  

A Thick Skin

Real talk, you chose a difficult career path. If you don’t like people picking your work apart, telling you how the work process should be done, how to improve yourself as a team member and as an artist, you picked the wrong industry. Don’t be too sensitive and/or defensive when your superiors didn’t like something that you did, that does not mean you can’t draw. You have to learn how to roll with the punches, so to speak.

If say, the director or your superiors didn’t like certain aspects of the animation that you’ve worked on, don’t take offense. The director has a vision and not all people will get it right the first time. Use these hiccups as opportunities to improve your work.

The animation industry is a tough business to get into and not all people will like your work. But as long as you have the traits of a good animator, you can make it into this business and find mainstream success!

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