Since somebody asked "How do you get started" a couple of notches down, I here respond to the question.
My answer is: "A million different ways." Which the disgruntled might equate with "I haven't a clue," since it's almost as vague. But let me explain...
There's a few baseline requirements everyone must have to break into the animation biz ... or any biz.
One. You need a basic mastery of skills within the area for which you want to be hired. If you want to be a design artist, you need to know how to draw and render with a pencil, know mechanics and design, know how to use the appropriate computer software.
If you want to be an animator, same thing. Artistic skills, animation skills (squash, stretch, acting), knowledge of Maya or whatever software package a given studio is using.
And if you're a writer, it's useful to know the lessons of "Elements of Style," know story arcs, how to structure dialogue, know nouns and verbs and various kinds of word modifiers.
Most everybody already is familiar with these things, so I'm not imparting a whole lot of valuable wisdom. But I've kicked around these parts a long time, and found out stuff. So here's where the advice gains a little more weight.
To start: Since you get hired (mostly) based on your skill sets (derived from innate talent, training and job experience, if any), it's useful to know how good your skills actually are. The problem for many young creators is, they reflexively believe their creations to be top-notch because they created them..
Well, maybe your drawing of Willie the Wacky Wombat is beyond compare, but maybe it sucks. A good reality check is to create something, put it away for a few weeks or month, then peer at it again. Now how does it look? Still totally wonderful? Something less than wonderful? (Maybe you can find somebody who's opinion you value who is brutally frank. But that is sometimes hard to do ...)
Summation: Make (or get) an honest assessment of the awesomeness of your chops. How you stack up against the competition. Tailor your expectations accordingly.
Two. Assuming your talents are solid, and your work ethic is productive and energetic, there's another thing you need. That thing is not being an annoying asshole.
With job interviews, the non-asshole shows up on time, dresses appropriately, answers questions honestly and professionally. And doesn't natter on and on.
After the non-asshole is hired, he or she works to be a "team player," appears optimistic and enthusiastic even when she or he might not be, and delivers what the supervisor wants, even if the desires of the supervisor seem stupid.
I've had more than one artist come through my office, complaining about how awful their boss was. About how he "wouldn't know good work if it bit him in the ass," how he was a dolt, how his talents were non-existent. Years ago, a storyboarder ranted to me about how his supervisor didn't want nipples on a character, and how that was completely wrong: "You gotta have them! For construction! Guy's a moron!"
I looked at him and said: "Okay, you've got a decision to make. Do you want to keep the nipples on and be right, or do you want to have a job? Because I don't think you can have both."
Summation: Learn how to be a pleasure in the workplace. Even if you have to build a sunny, Potemkin personality around your surly, sarcastic real one.
Three. Connections are important. Networking is one of the better things you can do for yourself. Socialize at work, go to industry functions, hobnob with co-workers after hours. In this project-to-project labor environment, most people move around a lot, and it's a good idea to keep in touch. You never know when that hard-charging assistant you befriended in 1997 might need your boarding skills for that indie feature he's in charge of. Old art school classmates still give one another boosts in the workplace, thirty years on.
Summation: Keep in touch. That dorky friend from high school may come in handy one day.
Four: Keep your skills up to date, keep adding to them, and never, ever stop learning. Background artists today need to know photoshop as much (or more) than they need to know paint tubes and brushes. Board artists need to be able to draw on a Cintiq.
Summation: The more arrows you have in your quiver, the more employable you'll be.
Lastly. Many things in the animation business are beyond your control. The strike zones for getting jobs and keeping jobs continually expand and shrink, based on the way t.v. shows and features perform in the marketplace. The artists who went to work at hole-in-the-wall Klasky-Csupo on a show called "The Simpsons" in 1990 had no idea Homer, Marge et famille would still be earning them a living eighteen years later.
Disney Feature artists who told me in 1995 they'd spend the next twenty years with the Mouse House today ruefully know, even as they pick up freelance work at Nickelodeon while waiting for a staff gig at Cartoon Network, that the rock solid job at the Tiffany of animation studios didn't quite pan out the way everyone (including me) anticipated.
And nobody in his wildest imaginings could have foreseen, back when Ronald Reagan was President, that the video game industry would end up far larger than the entire movie business.
The victories and defeats which the marketplace will bestow one, or five, or ten years from now on the companies for which we work is unknowable, and will always be unknowable. As a grizzled animation veteran said to me decades ago: "What you need to survive in this business is talent, luck and hard work. And if you have a lot of one of those, you need way less of the other two."
His analysis is as true now as it was then. The big three for every mortal are: the gifts God hands you as you slide down the birth canal, good fortune, and a capacity for work. Focus on those things you can control, and ignore the things you can't. Because otherwise you'll make yourself crazy.