10 Prac­ti­cal Tips for En­ter­ing the Job Mar­ket by Man­roop Takhar

By Man­roop Takhar

Animation Magazine - - Content -

You have got your de­gree (or are about to get it) and are ready to un­leash your an­i­ma­tion skills for the en­tire world to see. You are now armed with the tech­ni­cal knowl­edge that has helped shape your artis­tic tal­ents and look­ing to step into the real world of work. This junc­ture of your life may at first seem to be a daunt­ing chal­lenge, and as with most ca­reers, there may be a few lows be­fore you hit the highs.

So, what do you do next? How do you get your first step on the lad­der that takes you into the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try? Well, for starters, you will need a re­lent­less, per­sis­tent, can-do at­ti­tude. In ad­di­tion, the fol­low­ing 10 prac­ti­cal tips will help... ence, build your net­work of con­tacts and sup­port your­self fi­nan­cially whilst you wait for the ideal full time po­si­tion to come along.

Also make sure that you are clear on what the mean salary range is for pro­fes­sion­als with your ex­pe­ri­ence and skill level and aim to keep your ex­pec­ta­tions within that range. Ex­pect­ing to be paid higher than the in­dus­try av­er­age at the start of your ca­reer can un­nec­es­sar­ily ham­per your job op­por­tu­ni­ties, which you want to avoid if pos­si­ble.

“It used to be that most young artists con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion looked at Dis­ney and anime as the di­rec­tion to take. To­day, in the real world of an­i­ma­tion,

choices are much wider and some say much more in­ter­est­ing.”

Get your pa­per­work ready. Have you writ­ten up your CV? Have you also writ­ten up a ré­sumé (a doc­u­ment that is sim­i­lar to a CV but com­pa­ra­bly shorter in size and de­tail)? Have you got­ten th­ese checked by a pro­fes­sional CV writer, or maybe a ca­reers ad­vi­sor at your univer­sity?

Make sure you tai­lor your ap­pli­ca­tions in ways that demon­strate how your skills, knowl- edge, qual­i­fi­ca­tions and tal­ent fit the job de­scrip­tion ad­ver­tised. Stay hon­est, fo­cused and dili­gent, en­sur­ing no writ­ing and for­mat­ting er­rors.

Pre­pare a port­fo­lio of your best work. This may be some­thing that you have al­ready pro­duced dur­ing your school­ing. If so, get­ting it filed, la­belled and or­ga­nized is all you will need to do. How­ever, if you don’t have an im­pres­sive enough port­fo­lio which demon­strates your skill set, it would cer­tainly be worth in­vest­ing the time cre­at­ing one.

Be sure to in­clude any work that you may have done dur­ing ex­ter­nal in­tern­ships or free­lance work, while you were at univer­sity. This def­i­nitely adds cre­dence to your cal­iber and supports what you state in your job ap­pli­ca­tions. Make sure your port­fo­lio is avail­able in both elec­tronic (i.e. in a CD, USB mem­ory stick or an ex­ter­nal hard drive) as well as in phys­i­cal for­mats.

3. Con­sider your ca­reer path. Of course, this de­pends on where your in­ter­ests lie with re­gards to the var­i­ous ar­eas that ex­ist in the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try. For in­stance, are you in­ter­ested in work­ing with the big guns, such as Dis­ney, Pixar or Warner Bros.? If so, what ideas and sam­ples of work do you have that would be worth pre­sent­ing to th­ese stu­dios, if and when you hear from them? Or, you may be in­ter­ested in work­ing for small- to medium-sized an­i­ma­tion stu­dios which pro­duce white­board an­i­ma­tions, explainer videos, 2D and 3D an­i­ma­tions for com­mer­cial pur­poses. This is a grow­ing mar­ket with a good deal of op­por­tu­nity for re­cent grad­u­ates. Stu­dios spe­cial­iz­ing in com­mer­cial an­i­ma­tions are usu­ally open to hir­ing fresh tal­ent pro­vided they have a good tech­ni­cal foun­da­tion and demon­strate a will­ing­ness to learn. So, it could there­fore be a good start­ing point.

4. Be re­al­is­tic. The type of ini­tial em­ploy­ment con­tract you are of­fered will most likely de­pend on how im­pres­sive your port­fo­lio is, your pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing on real com­mer­cial projects and how well you do in your in­ter­view.

A grow­ing num­ber of artists in the pro­fes­sion pre­fer to work on a free­lance ba­sis and can earn a good liv­ing do­ing so. It isn’t un­com­mon for free­lance pro­fes­sion­als who re­ceive reg­u­lar work due to their rep­u­ta­tion to earn sig­nif­i­cantly more than their coun­ter­parts in full time em­ploy­ment with rep­utable stu­dios. There­fore if you would like a ca­reer where the work­ing hours are sched­uled around your own terms or are hav­ing dif­fi­culty get­ting full time em­ploy­ment, tak­ing on free­lance projects may be an ex­cel­lent op­tion. Tak­ing on free­lance work can help you get your foot through the door, gain ex­peri-

5. Be pa­tient. Aim­ing high is great, and you should! How­ever, be­ing re­al­is­tic is also es­sen­tial. If you have a gen­uine pas­sion for an­i­ma­tion and are com­mit­ted to reach­ing the top, there is no doubt you can suc­ceed in this fan­tas­tic in­dus­try.

It usu­ally takes sev­eral years to ac­quire a sub­stan­tial port­fo­lio of im­pres­sive work–and get rec­og­nized for it. Even if open­ings do emerge for the top po­si­tions, the big guns are likely to look for ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als who have the best proven track record. Ac­quir­ing this ex­pe­ri­ence nat­u­rally takes time and if you want to get to the top, you will need to al­low for this.

— The Art In­sti­tutes, USA

6. Net­work, net­work, net­work! Sim­i­lar to other cre­ative in­dus­tries, you can pro­pel your ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion by net­work­ing within the rel­e­vant cir­cles. While this once in­volved the phys­i­cal act of knock­ing on the doors of var­i­ous stu­dios, to­day you can con­nect with the ones that mat­ter on so­cial net­works, such as LinkedIn and Twit­ter. You could also go online and search for an­i­ma­tion stu­dios in and around your area, study their web­sites, keep track of their work and con­tact them with your CV and port­fo­lio.

In ad­di­tion, make sure you join the rel­e­vant

Meet­ing Op­por­tu­ni­ties: In­dus­try events like An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine’s Sum­mit in Los An­ge­les of­fer per­fect op­por­tu­ni­ties for you to meet in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and de­ci­sion mak­ers .

Man­roop Takhar

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