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How to get industry experience

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How to get industry experience

I have a question. All of the studios I have looked at require their animators to have some industry experience. Even small unheard of companies want experienced animators. How are we supposed to get that experience if all of the jobs require us to have it? :(

MightyMew1's picture
"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane

"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane

uh, i dunno

Find an internship, do some freelance, work on a independent short. "Industry" is a pretty loose term.

Any "job" that you do, for anyone else, qualifies as experience.

If you really need to prompt a friend to ask you for a drawing--do that drawing....... you now have some experience.
If you have the measure of talent that can get you into the biz, then that is part of the solution. Once you get some work on a RECOGNIZABLE property, then that starts the walls crumbling for you.
That is the key, getting work on something recognizable.

But that is usually the hardest gig to land at the simply fall back on getting your work out into the public anyway you can.
Free-press, fan-press, ashcan, news-papers, flyers, sandwich boards etc--these are a start.
They show you can work under deadlines and meet clients needs.
A smart recruiter can see that can translate to a studio job, IF............IF, you have the demonstratable skill-sets to do the work the studio is doing.
Again, once you break that obstacle its gets exponentially easier.
Also bear in mind that folks that do their own films and get them into festivals can get into the biz without any actual industry experience, simply because they are already doing the same thing: making films.
There's all kinds of avenues you can take.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)


Thanks Ken. My friend is making a video game and I am supposed to be his animator. I hope that counts.

"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane

It must be real tough today. no cel painting, no inbetweening to start...maybe checking in some places...I don't know. What I do know is that right at your PC you can create your own worlds. That should stand for something. If you could get a job at a "name" place then great. But what you discover is that you have done only an aspect of a scene. When you do it for yourself, it may not be perfect, but you've done it all. Rhetorically, which is better?

How are we supposed to get that experience if all of the jobs require us to have it? :(

Ahhh how many times have I said the exact same thing!? I'm in pretty much the same boat as you, although I did have an internship that amounted to about 5 months of 'industry experience.'

Personally, unless they are looking for someone with WAAAY more experience than I, I will still apply if I am qualified. If they sense I have enough talent for them, they'll hire me, experience or not. :D

Of course, no one has yet. :( :(

2-D animation will never die. The invention of photography did not kill painting. Why would animation be any different?
Dancing Cavy Productions

A lot of times, "industry experience" is just a way of scaring away the people without it. Your reel is the first thing companies look at. They won't turn you away if you have an awesome reel but are lacking experience on your resume.


I see. So thats just more of a reson to have an outstanding reel. I must get to work on it so I'll have my four years in school to improve! :D

"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane

YOu need ot get your foot in the door, as they say. Do not think you will get your first job as an animator or anything higher than that. Your first job will be really crappy, probably. Take a job as a P.A. (Production Assistant), or whatever no-brainer job you can get your hands on that DOESN'T require experience. Then, while you are there, you can talk to key people, and manage to be tested, and so on and so forth.

Don't feel bad. EVERYONE has the same question as you are asking when they start out. Hell... I was asking it too, many moons ago... Patience will get you where you want to go.

Somebody (I think it was motionmilitia), said "freelance". This, I am afraid will be much harder to do than getting into the studio, and being supervised constantly. Generally speaking, freelancers are people who have been around for a long time and have proven track records. Studios want to feel secure in sending the work out to them unsupervised. I mean, you could possibly freelance for indiviuals who want drawings done (non-industry people), but to me, that does not seem like experience. When I look at a resume, and I see that you drew a tatoo for your girlfriend, or drew a sign for the convenience store down the street, I am far from wooed.

It doesn't qualify to me. Animating on your friend's game however could qualify, as long as it is a serious gig, meaning that the game could actually be published or have some interest... Awe man... I dunno... Unless you have worked for COMPANIES, I don't see it as industry experience. I can push pixels around in my mom's basement as well as the next guy and have a great time making a "game" that will not ever go anywhere, but does that make me experienced? A pretty big judgement call.

Good luck!

"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Thanks for the info Wade. As far as my friend's game goes, I am pretty sure he wants to publish it since he wants to be a game designer. He's very ambitious. Anyway, he knows people in the gaming industry since he used to own a game store (he even had tickets for E3 :cool:). I guess some of those people will help us along the way. He's been rattling off different game ideas all last school year and now he's finally decided on which one to do. I told him that you guys said it could count as industry exp and that I seriously want to make this game. He agrees and we'll continue production once I get home for the holiday break (we had started developing the story over the summer). Hopefully everything goes well for now. I know thing's will get much better once I start my animation clases here, and once he starts at Fullsail.

"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane


Oh, by the way. It's not one of those stupid (no offense to anyone who has made one) Flash games either. The animation and stuff will more than likely be done in Maya, since I dont know 3dsmax. I dont know what software the programming will be done in. That's not my area and I strongly dislike programming anyway, it's so boring.

"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane

The Chicken or the Egg

Hey Mighty,

For folks wanting experience and coming out of school the key to to get some animation footage (with a THINKING, breathing characters who can act) which will allow employers to see some skills.

The Chicken or the Egg scenario comes in because folks want to create films and the films have to have that acting component. Remember, you don't need 1 1/2 minutes of okay- 45 seconds of wonderful is better...30 seconds great is best!

Thus the dilemma, make a film or do great animation...very few folks accomplish both!


Very often, everyone's

Very often, everyone's personal experience is associated with pain, and personal disappointments.

I'll tell you this, it's true

I'll tell you this, it's true, very often personal experience is associated with unpleasant memories. It's all about our psyche, which works against us! We are out of the habit of remembering only the bad. We need to get rid of it. Here is a separate essay on the topic of discourse about personal experience and these are very important thoughts I think it will be useful for everyone who wants to connect their future only with positive emotions. And all the other career moments are not so difficult. I mean looking for a job in the industry.

If you really need to prompt

If you really need to prompt a friend to ask you for a drawing--do that drawing....... you now have some experience.

create a job for yourself to

create a job for yourself to build your portfolio

Its really hard and I dont

Its really hard and I dont know how we can do it to be honest) I just have the same problem


Hello! The problem of lack of experience for admission to the desired vacancy is very common. I came across this a couple of months ago when I was looking for a job as an accountant after graduating from university. Many companies refused to hire me without experience, but I did not give up and bought a resume at . I do not know how, but because of this I was hired for a great job. The resume decides a lot in this situation.