Here’s a question that was sent to the email@example.com that I think will resonate with many animators: How do you feel about remaining an Animator where you’re still involved with hands-on animation versus being promoted to an Animation Supervisor or Director where you are managing a team and providing critiques?
It's a really good question you bring up, and it's something that many animators eventually face as they become more and more experienced. It can be difficult -- weighing the pros and cons of actively pursuing a promotion like that. On the one hand, you'd have a lot more prestige, more say in the final product, and probably a nice pay-raise. On the other hand, you'd be spending a huge amount of your time in meetings, you'd probably animate a fraction as much as you would as an animator, and you have to deal with all the politics and demanding responsibilities of that role, not to mention the enormous pressure of performing at a high level and constantly trying to impress the studio heads and their all-important client.
I guess this is something that everyone eventually has to decide for themselves.
Since you ask about me personally, I used to say that I never wanted to be a Lead Animator or a Supervisor, because I always want to be doing the actual animation, and I feared that in a leadership role, I would no longer have that chance. For a long time, because of that, I never pursued any kind of Lead role.
However, a great opportunity came up and I had my first chance at being a Lead animator recently (for Transformers), and I have to say, I really had a blast. It was such a fun experience, I learned a ton from my fellow Leads and my Animation Director (Scott Benza), and it was really an amazing feeling to have a little bit bigger impact on the film than I would have otherwise.
So, for me, the lesson was that while I feared that I wouldn't like being a Lead, it actually turned out to have been my all-time favorite project, and while the work was incredibly challenging, I've never had more fun. For me, the trade-off of having more pressure and responsibility was totally worth it, and I'm really excited to be doing it again.
As for moving up to being a Supervisor, though, that's still another story. I really tip my hat to those guys - the longer I'm in this industry, the more I see how difficult that job is on so many different levels. For myself, I'm just not ready for a job like that, in every possible sense. I have a lot to learn before I could even start to think about that, and on top of that, there are incredibly talented people at work who I would definitely put in that role long before me.
I guess I've learned just enough about this stuff to know that I have a lot more to learn before I'm ready to be the Captain of the ship. For now, I'm just having a blast enjoying the ride, and learning as much as I can from my Captains along the way...