“Get a job in Animation…” Sure, sounds easy, but with plenty of competition for roles and the ability to study any time, any place with the growth of online courses, do you have what it takes to truly stand out?
“Jobs in the entertainment industry have always been highly competitive” says Alex Williams, Head of Animation at Escape Studios, part of Pearson College London. An institution that is known in the industry for producing high-calibre talent, Alex’s student’s from Escape Studios have firmly found their feet in the industry– going from classroom straight to studio and working around the world on projects for film, TV and more.
So how can you do the same? What does it take to be successful?
Well, look no further! Here are Alex’s 12 Top Tips for Finding Work in the Animation Industry…
1 – Get good at what you do
Your first and most important task is to get really good at what you do. You have to be on top of your craft, and be better than the competition. It takes a while to get really good, so use your time to study hard and practice. At Escape Studios our courses allow a lot of time for online after care, so our students can continue to practice what they have learned and polish their demo reels.
2 – Have a great demo reel
Your demo reel is your shop front – it is how people will judge the quality of your work. The number one rule of demo reels is that your reel should be completely free of mistakes. Your best work should go first, and anything that needs finishing or polishing should be left out.
3 – Make your work easily accessible
Got yourself a blog or website? If not, why not? These days, employers won’t wait for you to send them a reel- a blog is quick, easy and free to start, so you need to get your work online and make it easy to find. Put your name in the URL so that it comes up on the first page of a Google search.
4 – Scrub up your CV
An up-to-date, short, and easily readable CV should accompany your showreel so that employers can see where and when you’ve been busy working, studying or volunteering.
5 – Research where the jobs are
There are literally hundreds of animation, games and visual effects companies in the UK alone, and hundreds more around Europe. Make a list of companies, or – better yet – create a spreadsheet, so you track where you have applied and when. There is always a company somewhere looking to hire fresh talent.
6 – Be alert… to job alerts
Take a look around online Animation sites that have their own job boards and sign up for their alerts. If you want a job badly enough, you’ll be ready and willing to apply whenever and wherever you are. And you have to apply fast – most animation jobs go quickly, so your demo reel needs to be ready.
7 – Customise your cover letter
Don’t send it a form letter. Draft a different cover letter to suit the company you are applying for. What are your skills, and how are they relevant to the position and studio you are applying for? Employers like to see that applicants have done their homework and can explain why they are interested in a career with their company.
8 – Don’t be too picky
Finding internships is easier than finding a job, but they are still competitive and it can be an important step on the ladder to a successful career. A successful internship brings experience, contacts, and direct understanding of what is needed to get a job with an animation company. Also, working as a runner, although unglamorous, can be a great way in to a company and getting your foot in the door.
9 – Get ready for interview
Company recruiters want to know that you are enthusiastic and motivated for the industry and the job role you are applying for. Being aware of what a realistic career in the visual effects industry looks like will win you the respect of the person interviewing you. Saying you want to be Stephen Spielberg will not.
10 – Work your connections
Personal connections count. If you know people who work in the creative industries, ask them about internships. There is no shame in this – many of the jobs you get in industry will be thanks to the sort of loose connections that make up what we call networking.
11 – Keep your ears open!
Keep in touch with your fellow graduates! Your graduating class is a little community of talent, you can keep each other informed about who is hiring and who needs bodies in a hurry.
12 – Don’t give up
Finally, but most importantly – never give up! Expect rejection, it happens to everyone. Keep at it and you will be rewarded.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips insightful – we’ve definitely made a few notes to take away! Whether you’re a professional looking to sharpen your skillset or a newcomer looking to break into the industry, there are always ways to stand out from the crowd.
Alex is currently heading up Animation Master Classes at Escape Studios to help artists do just that. Running throughout the summer, you can still bag yourself a seat by heading over to the Pearson College London website.