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searching for the job...

hey everybody, i'm a would be animator and washed up waiter. i graduated from the academy of art about 6mth ago and have learned afew things about the industry they failed to tell me at art school. i.e. no experience= bottom of food chain. i recently posted an add on craigslist posing as a studio to see what caliber reel's i'd get, and was totally surprised at the load of crap i got back. most of them would not even get a passing grade at the academy, but here's the catch: they all had flashy websites and years of experience at multiple studios... somebody's hiring them.

so here's the question... is it better to have a flashy website than quality work? and what kind of entry level positions do grads get hired for? my degree is in 3d character animation, but apparently that's 5yr exp. min. any advice?

I'd be leary about learning skills for animation through a fine arts degree at University. Too many of the students and/or instructors look down their nose at animation for the most part. Unfortunately, like most of the world, they see it as a commodity used to distract children and sell tacky merchandise rather than as the viable art form that it is.

I'd sooner recommend you try to get into a school that specializes in teaching animation: like this one. Of course, if that school is geographically too far away from where you live, I'm sure you could find a school closer that would be just as good.

Good luck. :cool:

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Maybe all the reels you sent out ended up with people posting fake ads to see what caliber reels they'd get. :D

Exactly what I was thinking!

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Haredevil_Hare, I wasn't really thinking of Fine Arts as part of my animation work, but as adding to my abilities on the side. I have never ever sculpted for one, and that is a skill likely to help me. I really should get back into painting...recently, I found out some old paintings, and I had been doing a painting of a giraffe off of a magazine...I look at it now and wonder why I stopped. I'm getting out of a lazy rut, so the work I'm doing is improving. A drawing here or there, 5 minutes after saying 'It's Sunday evening, maybe I should leave myself longing to draw and entice myself'...

Of course, I'm falling into that academia trap, aren't I? The trap where one says 'Unless I go to uni, I can't sculpt or paint matte backgrounds for movies, etc' when uni only helps a bit, the rest is down to us.

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thanx for the input....

hey thanx guys, i appreciate the input. i've recently been spending long nights working on a better cut of my reel, hopefully i'll get better results. i've been seeing lots of jobs on websites like monster that ask for a reel link. i've gotten together a sudo-website to point them to, but i feel like it's probably better to send a hard copy... looks more professional, and i'm not much of a webmaster. any tips on reel presentation or faux-pas i should know about?

Though I bunged uni up and will have to fix things with what is left and after, I'd have to say without a doubt that quality is vital. If you don't have quality work, you have nothing.

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Which studios? Maybe they were at a place where the emphasis was quantity over quality as necessitated by the needs of their product. No experience would kill you then too, because they got used to churning out unrefined stuff at light speed where as your stuff was polished but they didn't know for sure if you could work fast enough for their pipeline.

You also never know what style they're hiring for, if all those people ran into good timing, or knew someone to vouch for what abilities hey had or their ability to work in a team environment, or maybe they really did suck but somebody saw potential.

They probably didn't tell you to pay your dues because it was more or less common sense -- in every industry. Doesn't matter if you work in satellite communications or the local PetSmart. There's also things like nepotism; I don't personally know anyone in animation who based anything off of that or benefitted from it but being an unfortunate reason doesn't mean it isn't a possible reality.

I think Kaidonni was implying something I'd second: What you can control is how good your work is, and any place that doesn't prioritize that above all else is no place you'd wanna be anyhow. In 6 month's time I'm sure you've learned a lot, maybe go back and tweak old work or start a new test. Have a more direct, personalized approach when applying. Connect with people.

And if the world did turn upside down overnight, and a website's the most important, better get started =)

How many reels have you sent out in six months? If it's not at least 30 or more, you're not looking hard enough. And even 30 over six months is a little over one a week on average, which is not exactly a strenuous search.

Landing a character animation slot is one of the hardest jobs to get because everyone wants them. What was your second favorite part of the production process? Modeling? Rigging? Textures? What else are you good at besides character work? Put together a reel highlighting those skills and shop that around. If your goal is to start out as a character animator, you may have a long wait ahead. If you are willing to work in some other capacity at a studio and then transition, you'll probably get started sooner.

Of course no experience equals the bottom of the food chain. Name me an industry where it doesn't. Gotta pay the dues, no matter how good you think you are. It's not the school's fault that you're being treated exactly the same as every other newly-minted graduate.

A web presence is always helpful, but "flashy" isn't important at all. It should look professional, but the important thing is the content - your work.

Maybe all the reels you sent out ended up with people posting fake ads to see what caliber reels they'd get. :D

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I'm considering going back to uni after I finish my animation course, especially because of what DSB said (but I was considering it before, too, but the application procedure for the course I want is over now, so I have to wait a year or so).

Fine Arts, I was thinking. I can improve my animation outside of university (seeing as how I bunged it up, like I said). But having other abilities wouldn't go amiss.

Get to know me more through my blog at! :cool: