It is seldom that people get to align their passions and interests with the work they are hired to do. Fortunately, personal projects allow you to kill two birds with one stone: developing your animation skills for your future clients and projects while doing something that you enjoy at your own pace without any restrictions.
Here are 7 reasons why animators should have personal projects:
1. True creative freedom
Personal projects allow you to work on something that you are truly interested in and passionate about. No matter what kind of client you work for, while working on their project, you will never get that freedom and satisfaction that your personal project will allow you to feel.
2. Learn more tasks
Personal projects allow you to take on more tasks. You're strategizing, storyboarding, animating, organizing, designing, post-producing, and more. You'll learn more by seeing a project through, from start to finish than you ever will by just animating for part of someone else's project.
3. Experiment and grow
Working for a living in animation means you can't do certain things and aren't allowed to fail because if a client gets angry at you or you fail, you're likely to lose that client. However, Fstoppers says that experimentation and failure are necessary if you want to know what you're capable of and grow as an artist.
4. Stay motivated
Avoiding your drawing tablet on slow weeks or months can discourage you from animating. Fortunately, you can have personal projects that will help you stay motivated and continue developing your animation skills.
5. Monetize your personal projects
You can post your personal animated projects on YouTube or sell your own short. Take note that earning money from your passion project may take months or even years. Just as Lifehack says, you can't come up with an idea and then expect it to give you results in just a few days.
6. Collaborate with other creative professionals
You can also collaborate with other animators on making a short animated film, an animated music video, a comic, a game, or another piece of art. This way, both of you will get exposure to the industries you're working in, which could eventually lead to getting new clients.
7. Improve your portfolio or showreel
Having a personal project is a great way to add more projects to your portfolio and have a voice as an animator. This is especially important if you are applying and interviewing for jobs. It's both a personal investment and a way to find work opportunities.