Part of the trick of getting hired is knowing where to be seen by the recruiters. We asked several studios, ranging from many different areas of animation, to reveal where they are most likely to find a new hire. Get networking because across the board...it looks like word of mouth wins by a landslide.
First and foremost when searching for talent I ask around among my colleagues for people they have either worked with before or know of from other studios -- that gives me a great starting point. When recruiting from schools I rely on alumni or faculty to give me pointers about the latest crop. I check industry Websites mainly to see where the competition is regarding current recruiting efforts. If a candidate sends me some material but also asks me to check their Website I do try, but I find it rather time-consuming. A CD of their work is preferable.
Shelley PageFeature Animation European Representative, DreamWorks, SKG
The two recruitment strategies that work best for us are:
We hear about people from other people who work here.
People hear about us from other people who work here.
It really is that simple!
Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the best way for us to find people. Not only does it open doors faster, but when you are hiring on a recommendation of someone you know and respect, then you have more information about the new person's work (i.e. strengths and weaknesses, etc.).
We do accept resumes cold, and we keep an active resume file, but for the most part it is personal recommendations that are the best for us. Without the personal connection, then we need to see a reel of work that lets us gage the level of the person and we would use that reel to inform our hiring decision.
Ashley PostlewaiteRenegade Animation
1) Employee referrals.2) Response to job listings we have on our company's Website.3) Response to job listings we have placed on other Internet sites.
The Recruiting DepartmentPixar Animation Studios
1. By word of mouth -- from current employees, former employees and colleagues in the animation business.2. From the show reels that are sent in.3. By meeting people at animation events, like festivals.
As for recruitment results, we find festivals and job fairs the best for attracting experienced animation artists. The exposure is great, as we seem to have been a well-kept secret up until the release of Simba's Pride.
The other side is identifying local talent through newspaper advertisements, where we recruit talented artists with no animation experience and train them in-house.
Debbie CrambRecruitment and Training Manager, Walt Disney Animation, Australia
We really try to cultivate relationships with not only the student services and placement heads at great art schools in the U.S. and Canada, but we also try to get to know some of the teachers personally. When we first began the company in 1996, we would teach "Acting for Animators" workshops at the studio, where we would find a lot of great and talented animators.
As we grow, we always try to be creative and fresh in our search for talent -- we send our animators to life drawing classes, where they will meet other potential candidates or we will guest lecture on Flash animation at various schools and get to spend some quality time with some potential candidates.
And lastly, outside of buying advertising, we go to a lot of film festivals, conferences and surf to see who is creating fresh and original content.
Andrea DrougasPresident, Unbound Studios
1. Job fairs at major animation events.2. Advertising in the local animation Union newsletter.3. Recommendations from the current staff, i.e. word of mouth.4. Internships (non-paying).
Word of mouth is the best method though!
Julie ShevachManaging Director, Click 3X
The primary way we find talent is from our current staff recommendations. Without exception, every key position has been filled from referrals. We also run ads in regional newspapers for entry level to mid-level talent.
Bill DennisToonz Animation
Essentially, we hire staff for our LA studio through word of mouth. Although we don't solicit resumes, we sure do receive tons on a regular basis. Also, the digital side of the business is relatively small and there really are only a handful of places where digital artists can hope to find work. I have developed a friendly rapport with the digital heads of other studios and we often trade info on performance and availability.
As for the studio in the Philippines, our first attempt at hiring was through paid ads. The animation community is small in Manila and soon everyone knew that there was a new studio in town. Also, we resigned ourselves to the fact that there were not going to be many "trained" digital artists and that we would have to pick people based on work ethic and attitude and simply train them.
These methods have worked out well for both studios.
Andrea RomeroVirtual Magic
How Humongous Entertainment would go about hiring an animator...
1. Job listing on AIGA's Website (American Institute of Graphic Artists).2. Posting through GAG (Graphic Artists Guild).3. Word of mouth and networking within the design community.
Jen MartinHumongous Entertainment
Heather Kenyon in editor in chief of Animation World Network.