Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting your head right

Here are some thoughts on getting into a good mind set for job hunting. It can be very scary, and I remember that I used to go to pieces leading up to an interview when I was starting out, even dropping off my reel somewhere would get me shaking at the knees. Hopefully these points will help.

Having Anxiety for Tomorrow" by Brymo
  • You are as good as you are. Stating the obvious, yeah that will help. But just think how silly it is to spend years of your life working towards something only to balk at the final hurdle because you decide you are not good enough. The bottom line is that you don't know, they do, and there is only one way to find out what they know. Apply! If you are still studying at the time of reading this then you have more control over the standard of your work when applying than any other person or thing. Work harder, be more productive and you will get better. Practice makes perfect.
  • There is no limit to how many times you can apply. If you don't get a job that teaches you something too and helps you prepare for the next assault. If it helps, don't think of it as a one off thing, plan for a long term assault over several reels and applications, it takes the immediate pressure off and then its a nice surprise if you get a job sooner than later.

  • Its not personal. I know its hard to believe, but it really doesn't reflect personally on you if you don't get the job. There are so many other reasons why they might not give you a go, especially with the economy going like it is (Jan 2009). You can have everything they need in a staff member, but so much can be going on inside and affecting a studio that you just have to time it right.

  • They are just nerds like you and me. The HR guy at a recent job interview I had was in his 20's, turned up to the interview in faded board shorts, unshaven and sun burnt. The studio animator who came along was in his late 20's or early 30's and wore all black and glasses. We sat at a daggy old plastic table on the deck and talked about animating and games. These are the kinds of thing we do all the time, chances are you can just be yourself and it will be exactly what they are looking for. Hooray for nerds!
Mario Kart Nerds by Adam "Slice" Kuban
  • You only get to go through this once, ENJOY IT! My beginnings in the industry are now a long distant memory, learning so much about animating and who the hell I was, boy it was fun. I'd jump back there to go through it all again in a heart beat.

  • No matter what KEEP ANIMATING! This is soooooo important, the first thing I ask when I see ex-students of mine is, "Are you still animating?" If the answer is no or not really then I know things are grim for that students future. I know its not the image schools try to sell, but the bottom line is that not many actually finish their study ready to start their first job. For most of us (including how it was for me) there are still things to learn and practicing to be done before you are ready. Animate! Animate! Animate!!!!!!
If you have spent your time in study or since finishing study working as hard as you can then you are as good as you can be right now. I believe that pretty much anyone can reach an employable standard if they are willing to work hard enough for long enough, that bit is up to you. When and how you get into the industry is where things get random, but there is nothing you can do about it so do your best and enjoy the ride. What a waist it will be if you can't even find the courage to climb on board. Good luck!

Job interview by hartboy


Sam said...

"There is no limit to how many times you can apply"

Some related advice I was given: The best thing you can do if you are knocked back is to reapply for the next job that comes up at that company with a new and improved reel. If they see that you've taken the initiative to improve your skills in that time, they'll know that you're motivated and passionate about getting good at what you do.

Especially when you're looking for your first job, as an employer will be more interested in your potential to grow into being a great animator, rather than expecting you to already be one.

And that just reinforces your final point: Keep animating! For the love of god.

frank said...

You might not get your dream job straight away. And anyway that job is just a dream.

So try for a job in games, if they are the jobs that are being advertised, even if you think you are a cahracter animator.

Try for a job in 3D animation, even though you dream of creating a traditional 2D masterpiece.

Keep animating, is such GOOD ADVICE. But it can be hard to achieve on your own. So do what I did, get involved in a project or collaboration where other people are relying on you (other animators, a producer etc), it's great motivation for animation. Even if the project folds, you have been animating, you've met people in the industry, you might even score a good job reference.

So keeping on animating doesn't mean just sitting down alone at your computer. If you are gregarious, get out and collaborate!