Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Would Be Your Advice to a Graduating Student as They Begin Their Career as an Animator?

I think something that served me well was to dream big, but to also manage my expectations. Coming out of school, we all wanted that feature animation job but there’s only so much to go around. I ended up landing a gig at a smaller studio and worked there for almost four years before arriving at Sony. While I was there, I never lost sight of the type of career I wanted. I was happy doing character design, but my preference was to be animating. So if I had some free time, I‘d grab a pencil and paper and try to improve my reel. When I switched over to their computer animation department, I made the best of the resources there to continue learning and growing as an animator. It’s important to remember that no matter where you work, you can always build on your skill set. And don’t forget about the great contacts you can make. As anyone in this industry will tell you, it’s a small world out there for the animation community. Within a year of working, you’ll have built up a contact list that will include animators working in gaming, television and feature animation.

Good luck!

Guest Blogger Chris Williams


Frank said...

That is sound advice Chris. I'll pass it on to my students. I would add that planning to attend a summer school, or some form of continuing professional development, or applying for an internship in any time "off" that might happen between graduating and landing a job is aldo a good idea.

Thanks for your timely animation tip.

Winston Chee said...

Dear Mr Chris Williams,

My name is Winston Chee, I'm from Singapore.

First of all, I will like to say that I am an admirer of your passion for animation and Animation Mentor. I do hope that one day I can have my dream come true too.

Here is a little part of my life: Unlike many other artistes, I did not grew up liking drawings or animating. I was a normal, boring person who passed a day with nothing accomplished and only do what is needed to be done. My passion for animation only started in recent years when I was in a local polytechnic doing my film courses. The only thing that I have similarities with most professional animators and cartoonists out there is that I have been watching Walt Disney cartoons since young, but I wasnt fascinated by the animation, but mainly by the music. (Haha, I think my childhood's ambition back then was to be a Mickey Mouse Club kid.)

Then as I grew up, the love for Disney's cartoons seemed to have died away just like the magic of Disney animation which has been lost for a certain period of time. My love was reborn in me when I was in my polytechnic where I was exposed to a more in depth understanding and seeing the true fascination of animation. My fellow schoolmates got me loving the art of animation by the way they make the characters move, the wonderful and beautiful backgrounds they painted and how exciting the stories can be told in animation.

Ever since, I have been crashing most of the animation classes as possible, on top of my film classes and attending seminars and webinars for these few years. However, work started for me and the time to concentrate on animation and drawing has reduced drastically. I worked almost 12 hrs everyday, once I got home, I am pretty tired to concentrate on any other things. I have tried my very best to keep drawing and animating for the past few years, whenever I can, however its possible, but the only good drawings I come out with is when I copied drew the characters I found online. If I were to draw them myself, from my mind, it wont look as good. My drawings are still very juvenile.

Now, I am at the age of 25, without much promising future ahead. I am doing a job that has no relation to film or animation. I am worried. Alot of times, I asked myself if animation is really the path that is meant for me to take. Art is not like doing admin work or a teacher, working in an art industry needs talent. I ponder on this; 'Do I really have the talent?'.

Some people told me that it will take some times before I could know it, I think it also took you a few years to master the skills. However do I have the time? I can take the next 5 years to keep practicing on my animation and drawings, but what if when am 30, I really find out that animation isnt my cup of tea. I will be at a dead end where I have no career and not much of a future to look forward to.

Dear Mr Chris Williams, what do you think I should do? Inside me, I know that I really want to try out and prove to myself that I can be an animator and a cartoonist, but another side of me, is telling to be very cautious of the way I walk this path? Should I take the risk? I really do wish to be able to tell my stories using animation.

Some of my teachers and friends are telling me to attend an art school, but I really dont have the money to study full time again. I need work to support myself. The only thing i can attend are online schools like Animation Mentor and Schoolism. What should I do? I need a job to sustain my life, but i cant really take on an animator's job as I dont have the skills yet.

I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time.

Winston Chee

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Very interesting and good Explanation
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