A New Millennium = Some New Tricks

compiled by Heather Kenyon

Want to get hired in the new millennium? Well, besides the addition of Flash to your repertoire and keeping an eye on that computer, most of the required skills to get hired and be successful remain the same. However, get ready because high technology is becoming the norm. Here from the industry's top recruiters is advice about what you'll need to be prepared.

"While nothing beats the ability to draw in any year, in the upcoming year it won't hurt an artist/animator to get real familiar with Flash 4.0. I can't tell you the number of inquires I get both from companies looking for flash animators and students trying to figure out a way to break into the animation workforce. Look at any creative website and you are bound to find some flash animation. Studios are springing up left and right, primarily based on producing flash.

"Film Roman/Level 13 is no exception. Our new animation site has one level entirely devoted to flash. In fact, most of the original content produced for the site is created in flash. As the computer plays a larger role in how we view compelling content, those that can draw/animate traditionally as well as take advantage of what the computer can offer, will find themselves with more work than they can handle in 2000."

Jay Francis
Director of Talent Recruiting/Acquisitions
Film Roman/Level13

"I think that 2000 will be no different from any other year in that students should be good problem solvers and multi-taskers, have a flair for filmmaking and art, and enjoy working with others. They should also be passionate about their work and have a firm understanding of his/her skills and where they are best applied. Being an expert in one area is better for a long career track. Any computer literacy, coupled with visual literacy would be an asset. Most of all, doing what you love is the best recipe for success."

Debbe Goldstein
Artist Recruiter
DreamWorks SKG

"Students should realize that all work done for commercial purposes whether it is a commercial, feature film, TV series, accident reconstruction, walk through for an architectural firm or brochure for a school play has a deadline! They have to learn about deadlines. They have to learn how to budget their time.

"The five vital skills they need to have to succeed are:
1) Communication skills -- be able to express themselves and understand others, understand and follow directions!
2) Problem solve -- figure out how to do something and be resourceful in finding out how to do it.
3) Work well with others (something we should learn in Kindergarten) -- no one in the working world works alone and it is vital to have a good attitude and give 100%. Even the horrible bosses will appreciate it (though they won't let you know it).
4) Networking skills -- keep in touch with people you have worked with even if it is on a non-paid job or internship. Don't be a putz. Be professional and always do your best.
5) Personal finance skills -- learn how to budget your money. Make sure to set up some kind of savings plan even when you land that dream job, because few jobs last forever. You want to have some cushion for that day when you get laid off."

Pamela Thompson
Recruiter/Career Coach

"Located in Toronto, Canada, Nelvana is an integrated family entertainment company with operations in television, feature film production, distribution, merchandising, licensing and publishing. Founded in 1971, Nelvana Limited has grown to a staff of 500 and is the largest independent producer of animated programming in Canada. Nelvana is recognized as an international leader with production requirements exceeding 210 (thirty minute) episodes and a feature film in 1999. In the past we were a traditional animation production studio, however, new and exciting opportunities now exist in our CGI division which will continue to expand over the next few years. New media will also play a key role in the future. Nelvana will continue to search for artists with classical animation skills, however, we see a future demand for artists with technical skills as the CGI division continues to grow.

"Tips for students: Students should start their career by evaluating their artistic strengths and researching production studios. Smaller studios generally require broader skills while larger studios, such as Nelvana, will require specialized skills or talent. Consider the market segment of the studio and determine how your specific strengths and skills match the requirements of the studio. Many new positions are evolving due to new technology and students should be researching the market on a regular basis. Most studios have a Web site which includes current productions, job openings and qualifications. Use it! A demo reel is essential for CGI positions. Demo reels should be focused on one or two specific skills, kept short (2-3 minutes) and always current. Make sure you include a resume and a breakdown sheet of the reel. Traditional artists should send copies of (10) samples of their best work that reflects their artistic strength. Demo reels and sample portfolios should be left on file with the studio. Samples are reviewed and classified for future consideration. For Nelvana, resumes, samples and demo reels should be submitted to me: Deborah Fallows, Director of Recruiting, 32 Atlantic Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6K 1X8, Canada. Website:"

Deborah Fallows
Director of Recruiting
Nelvana Limited

Heather Kenyon is editor-in-chief of Animation World Magazine.

Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to

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