Getting into animation is tough, we’re not going to lie. The industry is now largely made up of contracted/freelance workers, so fulltime positions can be hard to come by.
While freelance life will inevitably involve traveling, doing your own tax returns and frequently looking for new opportunities, it can also be hugely rewarding. It can offer you the chance to work on a ton of different projects, experience diverse work environments, work flexible hours and meet loads of talented people along the way.
Like every animation studio, here at A+C we’re always on the lookout for new talent to join our expanding roster of freelancers. So whether you’re an animator, storyboard artist or camera op, we’re always keen to hear from you. We work on a range of projects from stop-motion, 2D explainers, motion graphics to mixed media productions.
We consider ourselves a friendly, fun, outgoing bunch so naturally we look to work with individuals with a similar outlook. But to make it in animation you also need to be willing to work extremely hard in a very hands-on, competitive, fast paced and dynamic industry. These aren’t your standard 9-5 roles.
We receive daily job enquiries from all over the world so it’s really important to give yourself the best chance of getting noticed. As a small studio, it’s very difficult to review hundreds of applications, especially when they include videos, CVs and portfolios. While there’s not just one route into the industry, making sure your work and skills can easily be viewed is a key factor.
Here are a few pointers to help you along the way:
For animators/moving picture artists your showreel is what we will always look at first. So make sure a link to your reel is at the top of your email/application, as a studio wont have time to hunt around for it.
We only want to see your best work so ask colleagues, tutors or friends to judge your work beforehand. You might only get one chance to impress or the viewer might only be able to watch the first 30 seconds, so put all your best work at the front of the reel. Like a CV, your reel should be short and concise, 30-90 seconds if possible. It sounds obvious but you should always put relevant work on the reel for the position you’re applying for. You will only be judged on your animation not your editing skills (unless you’re an editor of course!). While music on your reel isn’t necessarily important, it can be massively distracting, so pick wisely.
For visual artists not working in video, such as model makers, illustrators and painters, great portfolios are what we want to see. As with a showreel, always start with your best work. Quality not quantity is so important. Make sure you detail what your role was on a model, or how you achieved it. Letting us know you sculpted, cast or painted a model is really important for us to understand your skill set. Also remember to put your contact details on your portfolio.
Make sure you write a short, clear and concise cover note that introduces yourself, talks about recent work/education and has your contact details. Let us know exactly what you are looking for i.e. freelance work/ work experience/ full time opportunities. Unfortunately due to the volume of enquiries we receive, we can’t always reply to everyone. While you don’t need to chase us, please do keep sending us updated examples of your work (we suggest sending us new work every 6 months). Remember, we might not be looking for someone with your skills right now we could be in a few months time.
A CV must be short and relevant, maximum of two pages (although we prefer one). We like simple well designed layouts that are easy to follow and read. Showreels and portfolios are for creative reviews, so rather than cluttering up your CV with images, just stick to key facts and milestones. We want to learn about you and understand any relevant experience you’ve had in the creative industry. So fear not, if you create incredible work, we don’t care if you only got an ‘F’ in GCSE Geography.
If you get a portfolio meeting or presentation at a studio be sure to make the most of it. Be prepared. Have your reel ready on a laptop, USB stick and available online (just in case). While no studio is the same, creative industry work places are normally very different from conventional offices. It’s normally very laid back and casual, so ditch the suit and relax. The most important thing to remember is ask questions, listen and be yourself. Most people in animation are actually really nice! Like many creative spaces we also have a studio dog, Archie, so it’s essential that you’re dog friendly here too.
As well as looking for experienced creatives and freelancers, we are always keen to support the next generation of artists. Students coming through our studio have gone onto work on productions such as Isle of Dogs, Star Wars, Early Man, Jurassic World, Paranorman and Shaun the Sheep.
Our studio is located just over an hour from London in Margate on the Kent coast. We’ve had students come from Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and even Edinburgh and the appetite for work experience in the creative industry is always growing.
We will however, only take on work experience students if we feel it is going to benefit everyone and we have suitable projects lined-up. We certainly wouldn’t ask someone to give up their time just to come in and make the tea (although good tea making skills are always an advantage in this industry!).
So if you’re a freelancer or student with an exciting showreel or portfolio we’d love to hear from you. Please visit our careers page and contact us today. For more industry insight, read how one of our studio director, Dan Richards, started his animation career. Click here to find out more.
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Also published on Medium.