Finding a job that you enjoy doing sounds like a dream come true but the process of finding that dream animation job of yours is often a lot less glamorous.
There’s a lot they don’t teach you in school, one very important thing being how to find work. Hunting for work, especially in animation can be tough due to how competitive the animation industry is, but there are many different methods you can employ to make the process more efficient and effective for you.
Luckily in this day and age, you don’t need to look far and wide to find some help. Utilizing online platforms to their full potential can yield excellent results and has the potential to push you closer to finding your dream animation job.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best things to consider when looking for work as a newcomer in the animation industry.
Hone Your Animation Skills
First things first, know your craft. If you have already completed your studies in animation, or are still knee-deep in that process, try to learn as much as you can from as many different places.
If you want to pay for extra courses, there are loads of options out there, such as Business of Animation’s Accelerator Program or various other courses on Coursera or Skillshare. If you want to learn for free, the Business of Animation also offers free resources such as our free masterclass and free handbook.
Something very important to keep in mind while learning, however, is to try not to think about specializing in everything from the very beginning. You have to learn to crawl before you choose to swim.
While it may seem an enticing notion, trying everything with which you come into contact, sometimes it can be better to simply take things slow. Figuring out what you as a creative and as an animator do best is no easy task.
There are a wide variety of different types of animation and the thought of trying them all can at first seem equally terrifying and exciting. A great piece of advice would be to start with what you as a consumer of animation enjoy or find interesting and go from there.
With the world of animation at your feet, the best way to manage the incredible hurdle of learning and working is honestly quite simple: practice. Perfect the basics, and work your way up.
Making mistakes in the present is the perfect way to iron them out for the future. Don’t be afraid to be messy with your scribbles, or create silly-looking walk cycles for your characters. Having a plethora of failures to look back on helps you sift through and find the diamonds in the rough. Great artwork often comes from fumbling around like a child and making an adult decision to fix it later on.
The number one thing to remember is that everyone is different, so finding out what works best for you is a top priority.
Create Some Realistic Animation Job Goals
While it can seem like fun jumping head first into working on projects, at some point when you’re up to your neck in unfinished work, life will start to become a little difficult to juggle. Having short, medium, and long-term goals can be a tremendous help in rectifying these potential issues.
Goal setting is important in all aspects of life, not least in your career. Setting SMART goals can help separate you from the masses by allowing you to focus on the most important things at that point in time. Working on one idea or project at a time will help ease your mind and streamline your work ethic.
In short, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related. Feel free to check out the link above to read more on how animators can set SMART goals.
Showing the initiative of setting goals as either an amateur or professional animator will not only aid you personally, but set a great example to any prospective employers, whether it be animation studios looking for fresh faces, or your freelance clients impressed with your final result.
Update Your Online Animator Presence
In this digital age, it has become increasingly important for those in the arts industry to have some sort of online presence, whether it be a Facebook or Instagram page, a YouTube channel, a DeviantArt page, the list is endless.
Given just how many platforms there are, it is always best to start with what you know.
While it may not be entirely necessary to market yourself on every platform out there, having a digital portfolio is very helpful when looking for work.
Juggling social media platforms with animating work can seem intimidating at first, but there are many tools you can use to help you along the way. Building your brand is incredibly important as a freelancer, but equally so as a contracted animator.
You could also think about having your own website. There are many free tools you can use to help you with constructing your very own website.
Having a website is like having your very own digital business card. You can introduce yourself with a few paragraphs or even a short video, show off your social media accounts, highlight your portfolio, amongst many other amazing features.
Not only does having a personal website look good in the eyes of a potential employer or client, but having all your platforms linked to a single place can also provide a quick and easy route for you to access them.
Do Some Research On Animation Studios And Job Opportunities For Animators
Some animation studios like Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks have been around for a long time.
There is a lot that you as an animator can learn from these animation companies, such as business and financial management skills and tactics. This type of information is very often readily available to the public, and you can find out a lot through a quick search
If you plan on freelancing, managing yourself, your portfolio, your online persona, and controlling your finances are extremely important skills to have in securing your future as an animator. Following and researching the business tips given by industry giants will help expand your business knowledge.
If you plan to work for one of many animation studios, having the knowledge upfront on how they work and how an animator should manage themselves will aid you greatly in putting you ahead of the competition.
You should also try and figure out what the pros use in terms of software and hardware. Such knowledge can also be a great help in kickstarting your understanding of your craft.
Utilize Job Searching Platforms To Find Animation Work
It has become quite difficult in the past few years to find animation jobs in the industry. The industry is competitive, and the systems in place that aim to tackle the vast number of people applying for contracted animating jobs unfortunately just aren’t that effective most of the time.
There are quite a few platforms out there that cater to freelancing creatives such as Upwork and Fiverr, but having a LinkedIn page is probably one of the most important pages to show off. Digital marketing is a fantastic skill to have, and learning how to use the right social media networks will help push you to the front of the line for sure.
LinkedIn works well as a social media platform - it can help you network very easily - but it has many other interesting features you can take advantage of. You can take skill quizzes to enhance your practicing skill set, and show off all your published animations on featured pages.
Not only that but following individuals and professional pages helps you see exactly when people are hiring. Marketing as an animator is very important and making use of these types of online platforms where you can easily interact with both industry amateurs and professionals will quickly get people noticing your interest in the animation industry.
Using the jobs feature can save you heaps of time by seeing the best possible animating jobs for you.
Learn How To Network As A Freelance Animator
Gif via GIPHY
Tim Sanders said that “Your network is your Net Worth” and it couldn’t possibly be more true. Trying to find work as a freelance animator in a world that doesn’t even know you exist will be bordering on the impossible.
Ingratiating yourself into the animation community will greatly aid your ability to find work as an animator, be it freelance or contracted. Since we live in an age of technology, you can introduce yourself to the community in many different ways.
After all, networking isn’t exactly a science. There is a whole heap of opportunities for those who go looking.
Go to conferences, attend guest lectures, hang around and chat with people both on forums and in the outside world, and when you grab your first internship or your first small paying client, be friendly and express an interest in what people have to say.
Keeping a friendly face and demeanor when around the people you intend to work with will do nothing but good for you. It will make sure they have a good reason to remember your name.
Start Small But Remain Confident
Working for Disney, Pixar, or any other major animation studio might be someone’s dream animating job, but it doesn’t have to be everyone’s. There’s nothing wrong with starting small and staying small until you’re both confident in your animating abilities and your people skills.
Working for a small studio, or even just freelancing for a few years will teach you valuable soft skills that will greatly aid you later on in life.
Learning how to handle situations with clients and/or coworkers in a small environment will force you to learn and utilize good communication skills, and that always looks good on a resume and can be seen immediately during an interview.
People remember confidence, and they remember a job well done. Be honest and true to who you are, work at your craft, and people will remember your name.
Finding work as an animator is a lot more than simply applying for jobs. There are many steps to take before you enter the world of work.
Gaining traction in the animation industry on your own might seem like a steep hill to climb at first, but the most important thing to remember is that you’re not climbing on your own.
The internet is a wonderful place, and there are people out there who can and will help you follow your dreams; when in doubt, Google out!
For more tips on marketing yourself as an up-and-coming animator, make sure to watch our free masterclass, and download a copy of our free marketing handbook. With these tools, you’ll be on your way to finding the best animating work for you in no time!