Sunday, July 12, 2015

Breaking Into the Biz

From time to time I get asked by aspiring animators/board artists/writers, "How do I break into the cartoon industry?" I tell them there are thousands of different goat paths winding their way to the Promised Land, but here's solid advice from some professionals: ...

How to Break Into TV Animation As A Story Editor Or Head Writer

No one is going to hire you because you have a nice smile. You need writing samples and yes, it is who you know.

“Don’t be an asshole; don’t be a jerk.”

Find like-minded people with the same goals as you. Develop a support system and work your way up in the industry together.

If you are doing a writing group with a mentor, ... show up regularly and do the writing – show you’re interested and committed.

“Know your genre. Know the aesthetics of what you want to write." You need to be a strong writer in your genre of interest so you’ll stand out from the crowd.

It may take awhile to cultivate opportunities, so you have to be patient. ...

Here's the little bit I know after working in Cartoonland for a dozen years and repping cartoon workers for twice that:

The industry changes constantly, and change is more rapid now than it was twenty years ago.

Unlike 1993 or 1983, lots of colleges are turning out graduates with animation majors, so though the industry is a lot bigger than it was in the seventies or eighties, there's much more competition.

The days of a high school grad driving up cold to Disney's front gate and getting a job, as director-producer-story artist Burny Mattinson did during the Eisenhowe Adminstration, are not high.

Even so, some dynamics remain constant:

1) Animation studios are looking for fresh, capable new talent, and

2) you need luck, talent, and a strong worth ethic to beat your way in.

The people with skill and tenacity get into the industry. The people who know how to play well with others (code for "Don't fight with your co-workers and/or the boss") stay in the industry.


Tim said...

Some solid advice I heard pretty recently from a veteran (I paraphrase):
There's no secret easy path to get into CalArts, or Disney, or Pixar, or Dreamworks. It takes hard work. If you were an athlete with an eye on the Olympics, you'd be training every day, for hours. The competition is just as stiff to break into animation. You have to work at it! There are no shortcuts, no cheats, formulas. It takes practice, and lot of it.

Naomi PatrĂ­cia de Carvalho said...

very good advices, honestly it's a matter of luck almost, there's indeed many animation colleges these days, and one must stand out from the crowd to have some kind of success, reading this post reminded me, for some reason, that animation colleges in France often make their students do internships in animation studios in France or abroad during their vacations and also make them submit their own animated projects to animation festivals as part of an assignment, those lucky bastards! This probably give them better chances to stand out and/or be discovered

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