6 Skills You Must Have To Work In The Animation Industry
A little more than two years ago I finally got my first "real" job in the animation industry. Since then more often than before, people began asking me how do they or someone they know break into the industry. Prior to my job I was on a few career day and open house panels where I shared my experience and answered questions from high school students about the industry. All of this inspired me to create this post. Here are few skills I believe can help you or someone you know get into this industry.
Attend a few events per month. Even if it is just one or two for starters. People need to see you and be able to put a face to your name or brand. You should meet people outside of social media. If you are introverted, challenge yourself to talk to at least one person and try not to talk about your first. Bonus if you leave with a business card or the person asks you to follow up with them. If this happens email them or reach out the them via social media within 48 hours.
Speaking of emails and social media, the second skill you should have is the ability to communicate digitally, in person, over the phone and via text. Communicate with people that inspire you, are in the same or similar industry or people that are making or doing things that you admire.
There are a lot of people that do not communicate well. These people may be your coworkers, boss, your boss’ boss, a panelist, someone you met at an event and the may say or do things that can lead you to question yourself, your work or your value to the company. This is why you must obtain this skin. Most of the time it is not about you but possibly frustration or pressure being passed down to you. As an artist or animator, you may miss the mark on an assignments or the director or client may change their mind thus resulting in you doing work over until it is right.Even criticism is usually not a personal attack and more about production and not you.
As you may know through various experiences, life is unexpected. You can plan your life away and something will happen and throw a wrench in your plans. Sometimes working at a big studios in one department can give you one impression and moving to another will change that. Sometimes working at a smaller studio allows you to utilizes a variety of skills that you did outthink you need. I’s important to be open to experiences that come your way, however this does not mean jumping at everything that appears to be too good to be true or things that stifle your growth or pigeon hole your or stifle your freedom of expression.
In this industry your reputation goes very far because it is such a small industry. If word starts spreading that your are difficult to work with, this can hurt future employment or collaborative opportunities. Likewise, if you are a pleasure to work with, that will shared as well. you never know when these things precede you upon meeting people and landing interviews.
Regardless f you are an artist, amateur or work in production management you will need learn things very quickly. Every studios some things thatchy do similarly however they all operate differently in comparison to one another. Big studios usually have more customized software and smaller studios can also use a variety of software. Though these studios do anticipate having tartan new hires in order to bring them up to speed, the sooner you get a grip on things the better for everyone and you can begin to impress your team by your work ethic.
Bonus! Good Work Ethic
Be punctual. Deliver assignments on time. Enough people procrastinate personally however you should not carry that over professionally. Be organized! Respond to all correspondences in a timely manner.
That’s it! These are the skills that are not taught specifically anywhere but the school of life. Feel free to comment and share some skills that have helped you get into and stay in the animation industry (not including art or technical skills.)