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Career Coach: Gift Ideas

The Career Coach gives some holiday shopping tips that will help your career and the animation industry in general.

The holidays are coming, which traditionally include gift giving. Here are a few suggestions that would be welcomed by aspiring artists, writers or producers.

Help an artist get an early start by giving a child a drawing pad, a sketchbook and set of colored pencils. If you want to include a how to draw book, that would be great. Take a child to an art museum or to a zoo and take your sketchbooks with you.

Or treat yourself and a child to an incredible animated film The Incredibles directed by Brad Bird is a great current release. Or give a DVD of an animated film that inspired you.


Producing Animation by Catherine Winder and Zahra Dowlatabadi gives a fabulous producers overview of the animation process. But Producing Animation is not just for producers. Anyone who works in or aspires to work in animation would benefit from Producing Animation. The writers are both experienced production people and remind us how important attitude is and why its essential to establish a sense of mutual respect for everyone involved on a project. Producing Animation is a terrific guide for anyone who wants to get started in animation.

For the young artist, You Can Be a Woman Animator by Judith Love Cohen introduces six women who worked on Shark Tale and tells how they became animators. The best part of the book is the nine lesson plans for animation teachers. The book includes brief bios of the artists and writers who contributed to the book. Its illustrated with photos of the artists at work and some artwork from Shark Tale. A brief questionnaire is included to help you determine if animation might be a career for you. The weakest section is Nomenclature where some computer animation terms are defined in fairly technical language for the targeted age group of this book.

How to Write For Animation by Jeffrey Scott is a wonderful sourcebook for anyone interested in the world of animation script writing. Scott details every step of writing for animation with sections on premises, outlines, treatments, description, dialogue and how to rewrite and polish scripts. Scott is a seasoned animation writing veteran with hundreds of writing credits and his advice including how to get an agent and how to pitch is invaluable.


Instead of buying another sweater for your friend whose closet is bursting, donate money in his or her name to a charity, which fosters future animators or preserves animation.

If you want to help an artist continue his/her education, make a contribution to the Phyllis Craig Scholarship Foundation. This scholarship is run by Women in Animation and money is awarded each year to a promising young artist selected by a committee. All donations are tax deductible. Donations can be sent to: Make checks out to Women in Animation with a memo Phyllis Craig Scholarship Fund. Address is PO 17706, Encino, California 91416.

Animator Sue Kroyer began a global outreach, called Draw Well, which provides art supplies and drawing books to children in long term care in hospitals and books. Tax deductible donations of art supplies or money can be made to: Women in Animation, (make memo to Draw Well) PO Box 17706, Encino, California 91416.

Donate films, animation art or money to the Animation Preservation Project, which preserves old and rare films in danger of being lost to nitrate deterioration. Donations can be made to ASIFA-Hollywood (The International Animated Film Society) 721 S Victory Blvd, Burbank, California 91502. [T] (818) 842-8330 [W]

The biggest gift of all is your time and talent. Volunteer at a local school to speak about animation and be prepared to draw a few sketches if you are an artist or perform if you are a voice actor. Sharing your passion is the greatest gift of all to both your audience and yourself.

Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season,

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter/hiring strategist and career coach. Her most recent recruiting clients include Paramounts feature film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Toybox, a Canadian visual effects company. She speaks regularly on career issues at colleges and universities.