It’s that time of year when animation graduates all over the country pack up their university bags and prepare to enter the big wide world of animation.Yes it’s been a little while since some of us left uni to start animating professionally, but here are our top tips for starting out over those first few months as an animator, freelancers or indie filmmaker.
There are a lot of different avenues you can go down with an animation degree. There is animation everywhere – on TV, online, in games, so someone needs to bring it all to life right? Entry positions to look at would be a runner, production assistant, assistant editor or of course assistant animator. Roles like animator, head of animation and director are mostly set aside for professionals with years of industry experience, so hold off from applying for these just yet. Diversifying away from traditional roles, there are positions in illustration, design, VR and gaming which might be suitable depending on your skill set. Learn how to prepare for the animation industry here.
Knowing who is advertising the job is really important. There are job sites for freelancers like Mandy, People per Hour, Animationbase.com and Talent Manager, but getting to know the studios that are hiring is important too. Research studios that work with the medium of animation you studied – then follow them on social media. There are feature film and series producers like Disney, Aardman and Framestore, commercial studios like us, and games and app companies which require animated content. For more employer insight read our post looking at the things you wont find in an animation job description.
Work experience has a lot of benefits for animation students looking to develop their professional skills. Collaborating with professionals can really help develop your own animation skills. Work experience also helps build contacts in your network, giving you access to future positions and potential references. We have taken on and employed a number of students who have impressed while on work experience. If you’re interested in work experience at A+C Studios please contact [email protected]
If you’ve just completed your course you may find you want to continue your studies with a BA, MA or other specialist animation technical courses. Further study gives you the chance to really hone your technical ability, style and storytelling. An MA may give you the chance to focus on creating your own film, or a technical course may focus on a particular speciality. Another option could be to study in a related but separate field to further widen your skill set as a creative.
Once you’ve graduated, it’s likely you will be going out into the world with a film under your arm. Our advice would be to revisit the film after leaving as a lot of the time a lack of resources and deadlines will have impacted the film’s outcome. Now that you have finished uni, go back and spend time refining, polishing and getting advice on it from others. Once you’re happy with it, send it out to film festivals – particularly ones with student categories.
If you can, visit as many of the festivals as possible that your film is accepted into. It’s not often you get to see your film on the big screen in front of a live audience so sit back, relax and enjoy it! Make sure you take business cards, and network when you get there.
Add to Your Reel or Make another Film
Finally, once you’ve finished university and have no lecturers chasing you, why not improve your animation show reel or maybe even make your own short film? Courses and full time employment are not for everyone, so why not take some time to develop your own animation skills by producing more technical exercises. It will massively improve your skills as an animator, and increase your chances of finding employment in a relevant field. Read our tips on how to make the perfect animation showreel here.
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Also published on Medium.