Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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

I would say, for starters, to not be afraid to put yourself out there. I almost didn't give a demo reel to ILM because I assumed it was pointless. Needless to say, I was shocked and thrilled to find out that they wanted to hire me. Don't decide that you aren't ready for certain companies until you have at least tried. You might be surprised.

Also, there are a lot of factors that go into whether you are hired that have nothing to do with whether you have enough talent or skill to do the work. Sometimes it is simply a matter of timing, so if you don't get the job of your dreams on your first go around, don't think that you won't have other chances. Shoot for the stars!

Another thing that can be a fine line to walk with companies is trying to sound enthusiastic without sounding desperate. I've heard stories of people trying to play it cool and instead just came off as disinterested. That won't do much for office morale. Companies like to feel that you want to be there and that you want to be working on the project. It's ok to geek out a little. However, it is not a good idea to tell them that you would clean the toilets to get a foot in the door. You want them to leave the conversation respecting you a bit more than they did before, and toilet scrubbing just doesn't do the trick.

As far as progressing in your work, the one thing that has always served me well is that I always like to take on whatever scares me the most. You will learn far more by trying something and not quite getting it right than you will from animating things that are easy. If it scares you, then there is something to be gained from it. You may not nail it the first time, but you probably will the second or third time. No one in the industry asks about what your grades were or how successfully you completed your homework. They want to know if you have the skills needed to animate well, and the fastest way to get there is to push yourself beyond what you are comfortable with. Don't worry about the demo reel all the time. Try to take on shots that you will learn from, and you will probably end up with a great reel anyway.

Lastly, BE NICE! Everyone I work with is super friendly and great to be around. There aren't any jerks, because no one wants to hire them. You want your co-workers to like you, because that is the number one way that you will get jobs in the future. Personality means so much in this business, so just be friendly and enthusiastic. This job is a ton of fun, so take the time to enjoy it!!!

Guest Blogger Travis Tohill


AnimatingMyLife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnimatingMyLife said...

Thanks Travis For the Advice you Rock :)

ArrggghhhhJOHN said...

Another tip.. Network network network.. The more people you know the better chance someone will remember you for a project. I've got most of my work through people I've met through college, conferences and the workplace. Even if they aren't the ones to give you the work directly, they can let you know who will be hiring, possibly before its official and they may know someone in that company to whom they can put a good word for you.. I find in this industry, finding work relies heavily on Luck and who you know and or course your reel.

fbako said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fbako said...

For those who don't have luck in the industry, such as me. Also don't forget to press F1 and read documentation in Maya or other software you use. I think what we learned at the university is mostly basic.
Keep learning and I think solving problem skill is quite important too.
All the best for :D

BrittanyDarbani said...

Date: June 18 and 25

Time: 9:30am - 12pm

Venue: Bigfoot Crest Theater, Westwood

E-Mail: LAworkshops@iaft.net or brittany@iaft.net

Call: 310.593.4444

Breathe life into your next animation project through

stronger characterizations, more colorful expressions

and subtle nuances!

Discover the impact of acting in animations across CG, animated

performance, directing, voice-over and live-action that translates into

compelling character development and storytelling.

Mike Nguyen has worked primarily in the feature animation industry in the USA

as a Character Animator in various studios, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros.,

and DreamWorks animation. Among the films, he had worked on include

"Beauty and the Beast", and the critically acclaimed "The Iron Giant" as a

supervising animator. He is also a Character Animation instructor at the

California Institute of the Arts since 1994 and has given animation workshops in Denmark,

Ireland, Thailand and Korea.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been lurking on animation mentor online since two-double-O-seven (or maybe eight). I'd always find time to read the Tips and Tricks section and checkout other free resources on the site ('coz these are only the things I can afford). Forgive me though, I'm not quite sure if this is where I've encountered a particular entry about "Politics in the Animation Industry" or somewhere in between the lines of being lucky enough to work with amazing people who aren't jerks and perhaps having to put up w/ co-workers of different characters especially when you're new at the job. I'll try to back-read again but there are 100+ post now, so if you would be kind enough to shed some light on this and if you happen to find the post, that will be great! Thanks a lot!

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