Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Make Money in Animation

There are a lot of little, quick, ways to make a couple bucks while you're waiting for Pixar to give you a call.  And if animation isn't exactly your thing, this also could work for graphic designers, and motion graphics artists.

Local Small Businesses
The first thing I would recommend is to get in touch with a local small business that could use an animation for their website. If you have a family member that owns their own business, that's perfect opportunity for your first job. Make something short and simple - something you can get done in a weekend. Then, once the animation is posted, share the link with everyone you know - Facebook is a great place for getting the word out. Go looking for other small business that could use an animation like the one you made, and share the link with them. Before you know it, you'll be making enough to pay your way through college!

Gaming Apps
Another place to look for work is to see if any of your friends are making iPad or iPhone apps. They need animation, and you do animation, so it's a great collaboration. You probably won't get a lot of money for that, but it's GREAT experience for getting your foot in the door at the larger game development companies.

Stock Photography Sites
Another more anonymous way to get a quick buck is to create animated clips for online stock video companies like Pond5. You get paid a commission every time someone downloads your animation.  The company takes a huge bite - but if you have one or two good clips you can count on beer money every month.

For more advice, and to hang with people doing what you want to do, do a quick search for groups on Facebook.  There are tons of people who've gone through what you're trying to do right now - ask to hear their 'glorious failure' and 'sparkling success' stories!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to Get Hired at an Animation Studio (or anywhere else)

So many artists graduate from college, degree in hand, and then find out that the jobs aren't as easy to get as your favorite teacher lead your ego to believe.  Getting someone from your dream studio to talk to you, much less get an interview is near impossible.  No one's hiring!

You're EXACTLY right. The job world is totally different these days - going 'old school' and waiting for an opening doesn't work anymore. You've got to get in front of the right people, and convince them they need you - whether there's an opening or not!

Now, I don't mean going in there and acting like a jerk - but if you have talent and experience that's over and above the norm, they're just shooting themselves in the foot by not hiring you! Sometimes, just having a warm, charismatic, friendly attitude goes a long way.

But, when it comes down to it - the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you're REALLY serious about working for a specific studio, you've got to get a little unconventional in your approach. Regular, friendly, and consistent contact will wear down even the thickest walls. Keep drawing and creating your own projects and posting them online, sharing the link with your contacts in the studio (don't keep sending things to HR! branch out to the production manager, the creative manager, the animation department head, etc.). Create a blog that explains tips and tricks of animation production, and share those links with the studio members as well. After a few months of regular follow up, start pushing to set up a informal meet and greet - say, 'I'll be there on Thursday at 2:00, would really like to stop by and say hello!' Don't leave it open ended, make them say 'no' or 'yes'. It may take a while to get the meeting, but keep at it. Gently, politely, respectfully. Eventually, you'll get something, either a meeting, or a restraining order! (jk)

The point is to be unconventional - and don't wait for someone to 'allow' you to animate. Just DO it, and let them come to YOU!