Friday, January 29, 2010

Where to Train? Where to Break In?

In comments below, Alishea asks:

...[Y]ou have any advice for those aspiring to get into the treacherous business of animating? So far I've found two options- 1)paying $100,000 to get a degree, or 2) apprenticeship under an established animator in which case, if you don't know any, then what do you do?

A fine question. As a commenter mentions, there is Animation Mentor, but you are going to spend considerable coin for the training.

However, there are many other roads into AnimationLand, and here I outline a few.

* Training programs at Community Colleges -- lots of different two-year institutions have computer training, everything from beginning to advanced. Off the top of my head, Santa Monica College and L.A. Valley College offer classes; there are numerous others. State colleges (which cost more than their community cousins) also have programs.

* On the private college side, well-known schools with proven track records include Cal Arts in Valencia, California, and Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida. Sheridan Institute in Canada (not private) is also well-known. (Good training programs in computer graphics have grown up at a lot of different institutions, both state and private. Check your local listings for more detailed info.)

The Animation Guild (us guys) have run the American Animation Institute for years. We provide an array of art classes at reasonable cost, also some trade classes. Studio Arts and Gnomon (both in Los Angeles) also offer training. (Also, the Animation Guild participates in industry grants that subsidize training in CGI categories. These grants are limited to active and inactive guild members who have worked at a union facility within the last two years.)

But there's a larger point to be made here. Quality training is good and necessary, but the best training in the world won't get you a job in the business if you don't have the right work ethic and attitude to get that first crucial job, and the right social skills to keep it. (It also helps when the industry is in an expansionary mode. Lucky for you, in the CG area it's been expanding for, oh, the last fifteen-plus years.)

There are always more applicants than there are job positions. You're always competing with people farther up the food chain, but what you bring to the table (hopefully) is youth, zest, boundless enthusiasm and solid training. Also a willingness to bust your butt to get the job done. (If you read this as "Game companies and visual effects house exploiting young, naive, malleable labor" you would be partially right. We're here to stop it, but it's part of the landscape, so deal with it.)

Some folks will get into the business working at smaller, non-union facilities, some will enter via the video game industry. (They often chew you up and spit you out, but it's a fine way -- I'm told -- to acquire more chops. The goal at the start of your career is to "build your resume.")

Some will come into larger studios as production assistants, interns and trainees, and work up from there. Like I say, there are a bajillion different routes in to the wide, wonderful world of animation. To hike the myriad trails successfully, you will need 1) Luck (also known as "being in the right place at the right time"), 2) Talent (a facility for performing the required work), and 3) Tenacity (the inner fiber to get up and slog on when your are knocked down. Otherwise known as "a capacity for hard, sometimes frustrating work.")

Anyway, those are my nuggets of advice. I've given them before, and I will no doubt give them again. You can take the nuggets for what they're worth. (Obviously if I were a true genius I would be running DreamWorks Animation or Pixar or sleeping on a beach in the Grand Caymans, not sitting here blogging in Burbank, so I think we can stipulate that I'm far from a genius.)

Good luck with your grand voyage into the industry. May the trip be rewarding and soul enriching.


Anonymous said...

I would argue that starting in games and busting your butt (or getting your butt kicked) is sometimes a better choice than Animation Mentor, because it humbles you and makes you realize you're just one of the mass of talented people who already populate the animation industries.

There seems to be a bit of "entitlement" from AM grads who are lucky enough to get hired by a large studio and expect to walk in and get the best shots and be catered to. I think that applies to any art school grad though really, and is probably more of a youth thing.

Not all of them are like that though, of course. But it just seems like those who crawl their way up the ranks of entry level game animator to a more senior level animator at a feature studio are more well adjusted and aware of what it takes to get and keep that job, and possibly appreciate it more.

Floyd Norman said...

If you're a codger like myself, you know there were no animation courses back when we were kids. We enrolled in art school and learned the basics. Tough instructors hammered us on drawing and painting.

Turns out this was the best instruction we ever had for an animation career - and none of it even involved animation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon #1, but I wouldn't classify it as either/or (either go into games or do AnimationMentor). You can't really walk into a games job without some kind of education or years of self-practice. Either way you'll be competing against a bunch of AM grads, and that program is freaking huge.

The real money is in education.. and selling people on a dream (that may or may not be realistic).

Anonymous said...

I must say that I appreciate this post. I'm attending the College for Creative Studies right now, in my second year, so any advice I can run across is greatly appreciated.

I have a question: You said some people start as an intern at a big company, and work their way up. Is that something that happens very often? I know this is often how it worked 5-10 years ago and earlier, but with the big studios' project-by-project way of working these days (at least that's how I understand it) is it very common for someone do an internship somewhere and stay with that company? Thanks for any advice.

God said...

I'd say run,run for the hills!...this is a shitty bussiness! And full of egos and cluelessness.


Anonymous said...

Eh, you just need a vacation.

Steve Hulett said...

I have a question: You said some people start as an intern at a big company, and work their way up. Is that something that happens very often? I know this is often how it worked 5-10 years ago and earlier, but with the big studios' project-by-project way of working these days (at least that's how I understand it) is it very common for someone do an internship somewhere and stay with that company? Thanks for any advice.

Back in the early nineties, when I was a young biz rep still wet behind the ears, both television and theatrical animation was expanding by leaps and bounds and it was EASY (relatively speaking) to get jobs in the studios.

They were hauling people from Cal Arts down to the Burbank cartoon studios by the busload.

Those halcyon times are behind us now, but there are still opportunities if you have the right skill sets. There are smaller animation sub-contracting shops, visual effects houses of different sizes, video game studios (Electronic Arts in Playa Vista comes to mind), and the major animation facilities like Disney, Nick and DreamWorks Animation.

As to HOW people break into the biz, it's really too varied to list all the routes. But ways that I'm familiar with:

Coming in through game companies; starting as a production assistant and moving to an art classification; getting into a training track at a studio. (Walt Disney Animation Studios has trainees as 15% of its staff while at DreamWorks Animation its around half that.)

Some people start as freelancers, prove themselves, and end up on staff.

The reality today is that, animation is not roaring at the same velocity it was in, say, 1995. Hand-drawn features are pretty much over. Television production is down and more spotty. (It's now getting somewhat better, I'm happy to say. Studios have contacted the TAG offices about new t.v. projects twice in the last four days.)

The big growth area is CGI. And my educated guess is that after Avatar, there's going to be more CGI, way more. If you have the skills to make CG happen, the odds are good you'll find employment. A lot of that work, unfortunately, is project to project, but that's the nature of the business now, and you'll have to structure your career strategies accordingly.

What everybody has to keep in mind is, working in the entertainment business is never easy, no matter what corner of it you labor in. There are downtimes, and repeated layoffs, and periods of big pay followed by no pay, and you have to make choices and calculate your next career move and some of those choices will end up being less ideal than a choice you passed up. But that's life.

The movie business is a tough racket under the best of circumstances, and not for the weak-hearted. But you can make it work for you if you have the three crucial components working for you: 1) Luck, 2) Talent, 3) Tenacity.

(Have I said that already?)

Anonymous said...

It'd be great if Disney went back to contracts. That'd help the repeating layoffs, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

I agree with "God" (generally, a good idea).

I would say to Alishea; Why bother? Why go through all of the hard work preparation and training just to claw your way into an insecure and uncertain profession where , if you are "lucky," you will be overworked underpaid or see your job disappear and go overseas or get siphoned off to a boutique studio and pay peanuts. You probably have some idea that animation is as much fun to work on as too watch. Trust me, it's not. Yes it's gratifying to have a skill do a good job and make a difference, but that's true of many professions.

You want to be an animator? Great- be an animator. Thanks to incredible progress in computer technology and a wealth of available information and instruction you can run a studio from your desktop. Professional level software is available to anyone. Upload your work and show the world. Why not? At least it will still be fun.

But, my advice, is find something more practical to do for a living.

i'm proof that it's possible! said...

wow. you people sound like bitter assholes.. and you also sound like you are trying to steer young people away from animation so you have less competition.

The thing is, no matter what profession one chooses these days hard work and training will be required in order to claw your way into an insecure and uncertain position. This is the reality everywhere. And if you can prove that there is a truly secure profession that does not include years of training, dedication and clawing, please let me know i'll use that as my fallback. ;)

People go into professions like Animation because they love it, and they are willing to take a risk to do what they love. Telling students to run for the hills is a selfish disservice.

I will tell you that, having completed a 'high-end CG' program at one of the schools mentioned above, the job placement rate for that particular program is around 90%. This is possible due to the professionals who teach at the school, internships, mentor programs, and training programs with studios and companies that have working relationships with the school.

Some of the big studios offer training programs! Disney Animation offers a Talent Development Program which has been a huge success! The trainees have opportunities to work on short films and often roll right onto larger productions.
Rhythm and Hues had a summer training program (not sure if it's still running?) and almost every studio offers internships for credit, and these internships often lead to long-term positions.

The key to success is to know what you want. If your goal is to be at a big studio, lean away from being a 'Generalist'. Pick a specific discipline: Character Animation, Lighting, Modeling, Visual Development... and FOCUS!!! From my experience it's the people to don't really know what they want that struggle.

Great jobs in the animation industry are attainable! Yes, it's hard work.. yes it's not as stable as I would like it to be.. But I have never had a job that made me happier than I am now.

Do diligence to research your discipline and find the right school/internship programs. And network for connections; Introduce yourself to recruiters at the job fairs and conferences, find some user group meetings, or attend talks held by the schools.

Don't give up, and work your ass off to attain your goals.

Anonymous said...

I've learned to ignore the overwhelming negativity that always seems to invest this blog. You do sound like bitter assholes. Everyone seriously hoping to get into animation is aware that it's HARD work. We're not of the impression that working at WDAS is the same as a vacation in Disney World.

To Steve, who was very kind in answering my question so in-depth, and to everyone else giving positive advice, thank you very much, it's greatly appreciated. It's people like you (along with my love for animation itself, obviously) that make me want to get into this business. So thanks!

Alishea said...

Steve Hulett,
Thank you so much for the nuggets!
Currently I'm attending Sierra College in Northern California, studying everything in the Applied Art & Design field because with budget cuts they do not offer animation courses anymore. Between my photography job and school, I have been studying animation from blogs/library of congress records/youtube/ books/etc.

for the last guys' advice(Mr. 9th commentor)...But, my advice, is find something more practical to do for a living.

Practical? It's like this with every job. It looks like its going to be awesome and when you see people do it you think to yourself, "wow. they must love they're job, it looks so fun." I'm not an idiot. i've been working since I was in middle school. Now I do photography and we have to put a big show on for clients so they envy our job, however trying to photograph your children & make them look good is like pulling teeth, learning the science that goes behind a perfect portrait is like learning astronomy, and it's overall...gasp...hardwork for peanuts anyways.
As for peanuts & jobs going over to people in the car manufacturing business. they have it worse than any art job. That's what happens when you live in a capitalistic society.
I'm well aware of any jobs details, but I'd rather do something I actually love, than do something that's practical but soul sucking.

Again, Mr. Hulett, thank you for the advice. It's truly appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

Infest* this blog.

Anonymous said...

Dont listen to the grumpy old farts on this blog. You can do it.

I went the traditional art school->self-taught animation->games->feature film route. Now Im working on my 5th feature.

The one thing for sure is though, being an animator is not necessarily a stable job. And get used to getting frustrated from a lot of overtime and get thick skin from constant critiques. (true in many professions) But also get ready for the magic of nailing your shot and really bringing a character to life. Get ready for working with dozens of talented, funny people. And then enjoy seeing the final product on the big screen and entertaining millions of people.

Its a pretty cool gig.

Anonymous said...

Despite what one of the people above said DO NOT become a specialist in one tiny aspect of the production line! The way technology goes you might find yourself eventually out of work.
The way to survive in the industry - THE ONLY way to survive - is to learn multiple job skills and functions.
Don't be tomorrows ink and painters,Cleanup artists and Inbetweeners.

Who knows if somewhere down the line Lighters or even Riggers will become obsolete...seems unlikely now, but a lot has happened in the last 5 years much less the last 20 years.

i'm proof that it's possible! said...

big studios don't really hire Generalists too often. small studios will, but they seem get taken advantage of. I use to think specializing was dangerous too, but i'm not so sure anymore. it really depends on if you want to be in a big studio, or a small studio/boutique. specializing is a good idea if you want to be at a big studio, any recruiter will tell you the same. but yes, it does open up the door to getting pigeon holed, but isn't that true in every profession? being good at many things is nice but you will be kept around longer if you are amazing in a single department.

hard but worth it... said...

I agree with several of the positive comments. The one thing that would really benefit anyone wanting to be an animator.... learn and study art itself. Drawing, painting, color, composition, structure, form and sculpture. These are valuable in animation (yes even CG) because I am seeing a lot of these young animators not having a good understanding of appeal. I strongly believe (as most other animators) that appeal is an essential part of animation. There is some good, technically sound animation out there, but a lot of it just lacks appeal. As Floyd was saying, studying art was a driving force for many animators and it is what made animation really take off. Learning how to compose using the elements in a drawing or painting falls right into the same vein as composing your shots and posing your characters with believability.

So my one bit of advice is to study art so you can stand out among the new generation of animators who are not adding that to their arsenal of skills.

i'm proof that it's possible! said...

yes, the fine art degree it a huge benefit! i have a BFA in fine arts and a high end cg certificate (with a focus on back end production: texture/ lighting/ composting, effects and rendering)

I also know how to run a business, manage a team, build a website, design, draw, sculpt, animate in 2d and 3d, model in 3d, rig, animate effects, run simulations, matchmove, green screen composite, roto... i can even rub my stomach and pat my head at the same time while jumping on one foot.

I find that most serious artists inherently do many many things. They are the creative engineers, scientists and mathematicians of art and design.

But it wasn't until I began to focus my energy that I was able to land my dream job at a big studio.

i'm proof that it's possible! said...

please don't think that once you specialize that your learning is over. focus to get your foot in the door. Once you prove yourself in one discipline it's easier to start branching out, having made the connections you need to do so. always keep current on new technologies and keep up other practices in your free-time if you expect to have a life long career.

Anonymous said...

Yadda-yadda blah blah. I never said it wasn't "possible" to get into the business. Everyone knows that schools, training, internships apprenticeships and paying a small fortune to Animation Mentor works, especially if you are 20, still in or just out of school or live with mom and dad.

If you are a grown up, however, drowning in financial obligations and debts who needed a job yesterday, (and had one yesterday), these are not viable solutions. The profession is unstable and unpredictable, a point Mr. I'm Proof seems to agree with. You are wasting a lot of space arguing with a point I never made.

My other point, about modern technology liberating the animator from dependence on the largess of large studios to create, is being ignored.

Anonymous said...

"My other point, about modern technology liberating the animator from dependence on the largess of large studios to create, is being ignored."

Okay, how about some examples of animators that are making a living from this TODAY (not tomorrow) and not by supplementing their income by teaching (like Plympton) or soemthing. The only examples I've heard about is some starving artist putting together a project and then getting hired by one of the big studios (that you rail against) and finally earning an income.
The tools might be available to make something if you have the time and can live in your parents basement, but after you're done making it, then what? Post it on youtube or try to get people to pay for it on a website and hope Arlo doesn't pirate it?

Miss. i'm proof. said...

to Mr. Anon Sunday, January 31, 2010 12:48:00 AM... you can call me.
Miss. I'm Proof , thank you very much.

Your assumptions make you look like a bigger jack ass. Not everyone attending these programs are children. A huge percentage of the people attending are in their 30's and 40's! You see, we responsible grown ups made a decision to find a way to make it work... though I don't recall anybody starving, or living with their parents.. rather they found some roommates to share the burden, shared meals together, worked for scholarships, work study, loans.. and freelance.

With regards to "modern technology liberating the animator from dependence on the ... large studios..." is a very naive statement. if you think that modern technology is going to allow an animator to work from home like the Mass Animation model, think again. Feature films demand complex story lines, nuanced character development and the ability to work and re-work scenes dozens of times over with the directors. Human interaction is the most important aspect of animating!

Anonymous said...

Miss Proof,

Thank you for the compliment. "Bigger jack ass" than whom, by the way? Very classy.

"Roommates?" "shared meals?" "scholarships?" "work study?" It doesn't exactly describe the kind of people who have to worry about mortgage payments, children's student loans or retirement funds. Some people don't have roommates, they have families and debts. They need access to work,too. Even more so.When was the last time you had to use revolving credit at a grocery store to feed a family? 30' and 40's? Golly gosh, THAT old? How could you possibly know the demographics of students in an on-line school, anyway?

Cite as many exceptions as you like, but yours is the group the business is rolling out the red carpet for. "Possible?" Is that a joke? Low hanging fruit is more like it. As far as I'm concerned, all of this solemn insightful "advice" for Alishea is just a big "duh." They're dusting off her seat as we speak.

i'm proof that it's possible! said...

Yes, some of those people had children, mortgage payments, debt, and previous school loans. they rented out a room to a fellow school mate, some survived on food stamps. I even had a fellow school mate who was in their 50's with 2 in college. like i said, they made the decision to make it work.

i don't know the exact demographics of any particular school but i do personally know dozens of adults struggling through more training just to do what they love. The fruit is not that low hanging, they still only hire the most talented and knowledgeable artists.

but wait! i thought you wanted to discuss "modern technology liberating the animator from dependence on the ... large studios..."

Alishea, have fun with your animation adventures! Maybe we will be working together someday soon!

Anonymous said...

I suggest to anyone new to the industry, that they apply for work at NON-UNION Shops. There you can learn "on the job," and get a better idea of what you best.

When you have a grasp of what you're speciality is, that would be the best time to join a Trade Union like The Animation Guild.

All the Best!

Anonymous said...

The last poster obviously doesn't have a clue about TAG. You don't join the Guild, then get a job. You become a member of the Guild when you get hired at a union studio.

And on-the-job learning and training happens at any studio, union or non-union. It's generally the union studios that have the most incentive to keep training their staff for advancement, so you probably have more chances for on-the-job training than at non-union studios, where the focus is often more on 'get it done, get it done cheap, get it done yesterday.'

Anonymous said...

Miss Proof,

Once again, you are arguing with yourself. I never said don't train or re-train. I'm doing it myself. I just don't know that it will pay off. Recently, I have been meeting a lot, (while we're generalizing), of experienced, highly skilled CG artists who have been displaced by younger, (likely cheaper), workers. I know I have just invited all the deniers, "At my studio, etc..." but it's a fact.

"I will tell you that, having completed a 'high-end CG' program at one of the schools mentioned above, the job placement rate for that particular program is around 90%."

And why should one on-line school, that doesn't need to be mentioned at this point, be virtually holding entre into the profession for ransom? I'm not saying that the instruction isn't valuable, but if you get it elsewhere, it just doesn't seem to have the same "clout."

I'm sorry, there is something wrong with that.

And, yes, working on your desktop is a great idea for many reasons.

Anonymous said...

I dont think AM holds the entre into the profession for ransom, I think they are probably one of the only schools getting it right. Ringling, CalArts, Sheridan, AAU are some others, but out of those, AM is by FAR the cheapest.

Also, dont let that 90% fool you. It doesnt mean 90% feature film placement. If I had to guess, I bet that figure is more likely around 15%. Blue Sky breaks the curve by hiring a bunch of them as temps then letting them go, so you have to factor that in as well.

And "being replaced by younger, cheaper" workers is capitalism baby, and it doesnt just affect the animation industry. Try being a local weatherman or news anchor past 40. At least we dont gotta LOOK good ;)

Not saying its right, but at least in animation, if you keep your skills up, your likelihood of staying employed is higher.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:02 said
"And why should one on-line school, that doesn't need to be mentioned at this point, be virtually holding entire into the profession for ransom?"

Can you further clarify this? How are they holding the industry ransom? Studios are able to hire whoever they want, no school is forcing them to hire its graduates. AM is less than 5 years old, probably has a couple hundred students (a portion of which I am assuming are online international students), and based on the graduates work has a strong animation focus for a price that is less than most other animation programs (at least based on their advertised tuition).

By most definitions they are a young start-up company that filled a desired niche and did it well. So why is there something "wrong" with them because other schools don't have the same "clout" as a small start-up? What are they doing wrong, being too successful?

Not to mention the create more jobs for the working animators they hire to teach the course. How is that wrong?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you first hand that the majority of the young fresh out of school new hires at DAS are not from AM... they are from schools like Full Sail, Ringling, Gnomon, Cal Arts, SCAD, and Art Institute.

God said...

rather they found some roommates to share the burden, shared meals together, worked for scholarships, work study, loans.. and freelance.

psst, I'm an adult, and I would like to LIVE like an adult,ie, my own apartment, you know, for privacy? is that too much to ask?

Requiring roomates to make the rent does'nt sound like a good plan to me. Again, I'm an adult. My college days are OVER. It shows you that salaries has gone down to such a low level, that it can't be considered a living wage anymore.
" But I'm making six figures!" Ok, good for you, but for how long? Wait till they replace you with two graduates.

Programers seem to be highly desitrable these days, from looking at the job boards.

The thing that sucks big time is the whole contract to contract thing. I know many former animators who are retraining in other fields just flee from this shitty bussiness.


Anonymous said...

Once again, I agree with "God." The previous poster only confirmed that the industry is leaning heavily in their hiring towards kids right out of school.

I didn't say, "entire" I said, "entre," very different. The first responder got it right.

The options for experienced artists retraining are much narrower that students or young people without financial responsibilities in an undergraduate or graduate program.

What's wrong with accomplished working professionals making extra money teaching demanding exorbitant tuition from fellow professionals with dependents who are under the stress of extended unemployment on the chance it will lead to a paycheck sometime before their family is living in a tent in the park? I can't think of a thing. God bless entrepeneurialism.

Anonymous said...

You can't have it all and everyone has to make concessions regardless of their profession. Housing prices, especially in California, are insanely high and few professions in the big cities pay enough for someone to live alone in the exact lifestyle they wish.

If you don't want roommates then find a cheaper place further away and commute. If you don't want to commute then move to another city with less traffic and cheaper housing but has smaller (less prestigious) jobs.

Determine what you value more (solitude, commute time, prestige, location, housing size) and make concessions on the rest, because you can't have it all. That's not just animation, that's all professions in this economical climate.

Animation does pay living wages, especially if you do your research and make concessions. If you are working 60+ hours a week and can't live on your pay then either you: overspend, live in housing that is too expensive, or are being (ab)used by your employer and need to get out.

God said...

"You can't have it all and everyone has to make concessions regardless of their profession"

And there you go. Making concesions leads to an erosion of your working/living conditions. There has to ba a limit. I agree we have to make concessions, and I have, as well as being carefull with spending, as I definetly am. But having roomates?, I believe that is too much. Like I said, I'm an adult, and to me having roomates to make rent is pretty much the same as living with your parents. Also, if you have to have roomates, retirement seems like an impossibility. As we have seen, salaries have been going down since the 80's. And I have the feeling that this trend will continue.
If I was someone coming out of high school right now and looking into going to college, I'd be looking into medicine or law or architecture.
I've been lucky. Some of my friends haven't. Some have had to declare bankrupcy.


Anonymous said...

Long story short, after graduating highschool in '96 I did all the self learning imaginable (10 second club every month, every animation book, everything on the internet) and applied to every film, tv, commercial and video game shop to get a job or even volunteer as anything (even janitor) just to learn on the job and got nowhere for 8 years. I did 3 months (half their program) of AM and got hired, and have now been animating for 4 years and earning enough to support me, my wife, our son, and a home in California. (and 5 chickens :)

The world no longer works in a way where you can just get hired and learn on the job. The schools turn out talented animators all the time ready to hit the ground running, so you better be on that level if you want to get in.

The majority of schools teach you the tutorials out of the help manual of the software, and you aren't going to get a job with that, (if you're lucky and near the industry you might find an instructor who knows what they're doing, but the majority of schools won't have that). The competition is fierce, each discipline can take years to master, so I advise mastering the one you want to do (as in don't learn anymore of modeling then you have to if you want to animate, because the people your up against will have focused their time on animation.) Choose a school that's alumns get jobs, the main schools are Calarts, Sheridan, Ringling, and AM.

The private schools (Calarts, Sheridan, Ringling) definitely turn out top knotch stuff, but so does AM. I don't understand AM costing "considerable coin" because when I break it down it looks like this:

($18,083 semester) $144,664 4years

($13,810 semester) $110,480 4years

(C$5375 semseter) C$43,000 4years

Animation Mentor
($3,050 semester) $18,375 18month

so it seems to me that AM is cheaper then the others, and gets you to a level they think you can start earning money quicker then the others. The private schools will give you the full college experience with dorms and dining halls. AM is a trade school. Both are valid.

Anonymous said...

I have to side with God on this. I've been in features for a little under 5 years and I can already see the writing on the wall. It's a constant battle and I'm over it. If you're young and "hungry", have at it but the truth is, what future does it hold? You want to animate, you can be an animator, a lead or a supervisor. As far as I can tell, the latter 2 work even longer hours and make less $$ (no longer eligible for OT). I'm in another dept but what? Am I really going to be 50 someday working until 10pm 6 days a week for months at a time? And then not know where my next job is coming from? No thanks. I don't think I know 1 person in this industry who doesn't have a "plan B". I'm currently planning my escape and I cannot WAIT to get my life back!

That said, if it's your dream, go for it! I don't regret the experiences I've had (well maybe a few). But from my point of view, it's dicey as a long term career.

Rodney said...

I'm new to this blog, but I have to admit that my main attraction to the animation industry is storyboarding. I've always wanted to do Story, but I'm assuming that's even harder to get into than animation. My problem is that I'm not in school anymore and don't qualify for any of the internships. I have no idea how to get my first gig as a Story Artist

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