Top tips on getting into the animation industry

Posted on September 11, 2017

Animation is probably the best industry to be in, attractive also! Many people are wanting to get into it because it’s exciting, full of adventures and let’s not forget, super cool!

How do you do it? Read below for the route into the industry!

• Play around with animation.
• Whilst studying in school or college, choose the right subjects.
• Learn all the right programmes that are used in the animation industry.
• Work experience.
• Get your degree in Animation.
• Then more work experience in animation, the more the better you get.
• Create an amazing Show Reel.
• Finally… Land in your dream job of animation!

Even though the bullet points look simple, it doesn’t just happen like that, you’ve got to make this happen. Here’s some tips for various ages and will hopefully help you follow your dream into working in Animation.

Under 11s:
• Borrow a family member’s phone or video camera and make mini videos.
• Take an audio bite and then take your character, get them to do the same thing.
• When you watch a film, watch it in depth, find out why they are good.
• Use your artistic skills and do plenty of drawing!
• Practise makes perfect, starting young is a benefit. But remember, have fun doing it too!

Under 16s:
• More Exploring and Experimenting.
• Carry on with your drawing expand your artistic skills.
• Decide and choose the right courses for GSCEs and A-Level. Find out animation degrees you can apply for and what they require. (Believe it or not, maths can be important too.)

University students:
• Get experience in a studio in the early years of your studies, as it will help make your time at university or college, and the projects you undertake for your studies a lot more grounded.
• Carry on drawing, making short films, and check out tutorials online.
• Learn as many programmes as you can to do with animation.
• In your first year of university experiment in all the different areas animation offers.

By your 2nd and 3rd year make sure you focus on the area you want to progress in. Are you destined to be a model maker, generalist, a storyboard artist, a character designer, a 2D or 3D animator, a texture artist or a technical director? There’s also producers, directors and runners. Know yourself and skills, choose a direction within animation and be the best you can be in that area.

• At the end of your 3rd year of university you need to be a skilled operator, and be able to create 2-3 seconds of animation a day to get used to it as projects move so fast in the studio.
• Don’t forget to keep having fun.

Regardless of your age, there are some key things to take on board about working in the animation, and what you should do to get there. To break into the animation industry, read the 5 P’s below!

To do well in something you want to do in life, it is VITAL to have passion, without this you probably don’t stand a chance. But make sure you turn this passion into being animation savvy. Analyse the animations that you love a lot, how has it managed to create an emotion with the audience? Why was that colour used? Why the choice of camera angle? Check out why other animation films act so flawlessly? Constantly be on the lookout.

If someone said to you ‘Getting into the animation industry is really hard…‘Too many people are trying to do it.’ ‘You’ll never succeed.’ and you believe them, then this is not the industry for you. If you are so serious and passionate about getting into the animation industry you WILL do it, you make your own future. The only person stopping you is you. Fight through all the obstacles and times you feel like giving up. Keep pestering people and be persistent. And then keep being persistent a little more. If you have this drive you will succeed.

The top musicians of this world become the best at what they do as they practice, and they practice hard. This is the same principle in being great at animation. Give yourself projects, ask for work experience to work on other people’s projects, download tutorials online. Never stop learning and keep challenging yourself to be the best you can be, and keep trying to better yourself some more.

Peter Pan Syndrome
“the boy who never grew up” Never grow up, this industry requires having fun and enjoying yourself. Love animation and love creating and your work will be at its best. You will work for 40-50 years of your life and you want to be doing something you love not hate. Presentation is everything so plan your show reel.

• Every second counts, Plan your work and work your plan.
• Don’t try and be everything. When you get into the animation industry there are a team of people working on a production, each with different skills. Concentrate on your key skill and get your show reel to promote that skill.
• It’s better to provide 10 seconds of something amazing than 30 seconds of rubbish.
• Don’t send your show reel Ccing all the animation companies you can think of as they will see this and immediately delete you. Always research a company before approaching them so you know about them and be able to see if you meet their requirements.

Pipe up!
• Always ask people how they got into the industry, and keep opening your network so other animators know you.
• When doing work experience offer to make tea and coffee for the designers it’s a great chance to interrupt them and ask how they got into the industry and get some advice.
• The more people who know you in the studio, the higher your chance of getting back into the studio as the team influences this decision, as these are the people you will be working with. Think clever!
• Network and get business cards.
• When calling for work..“not at the moment” doesn’t mean it’s always a no. Keep trying and asking to be involved. Don’t lose faith!

Please, don’t worry about being cool in the industry, the industry itself is cool enough so don’t worry about being cool. If you need to work out how a penguin walks then act it out in the office. Animators are frustrated actors so don’t be shy.

Programmes It’s important to know the key industry programmes, essential for working (well playing) in the grown-up world of digital media. The list is long (but essential) and includes Maya, Max,

Softimage Combustion, Toon Boom, After-effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. Learn as many programmes as you can, as I said above plenty of tutorials to be at your best

All in all, you can get into the animation industry if you really work for it and want it with serious passion. You are responsible for your own future but to predict the future you must first create it. Go create in animation, and don’t forget…Never ever give up on what you really want, you will get there in the end with a big smile!