How your animation school can help you land a job
by Annie Gray
Entering the job market is difficult for every graduate, and the creative industries are even more competitive than most. 2D and 3D animators often find it difficult to find that initial "break" that get their careers rolling.
How can you give yourself a competitive edge in the job market? One place to look for advantages is from your animation school. Whether you are applying to schools now or graduating, here are a few ways your school can help you get a job.
Choosing the right school to get a job
If you are not yet enrolled in an animation school, try to choose one that will maximise your opportunities for employment after graduation. Look for programmes with these characteristics:
First, make sure animation is offered as a major, not just a few, elective courses. You may be able to learn the fundamental processes involved in animation through just a few courses, but to be a successful animator you need to understand more than how to use a few programmes. For instance, you should be trained in storyboarding, character design and graphic design in addition to basic animation techniques. These are topics that should be covered in an Animation major.
Also, consider the reputation of the school (and make sure it's accredited). Graduates of schools with strong reputations will find it easier to get a foot in the door of major studios, but remember that reputations tend to be localised: a school can be well-respected in one area and completely unheard of in another. Think about where you would like to launch your career and pick a school that is nearby.
How your school can help you find a job
In addition to teaching you all you need to know, your professors and peers can help you get a job after graduation.
Ask about industry connections through classmates, professors and alumni that can help you get a foot in the door. Begin your inquiries as soon as possible: there might be internships or part-time opportunities to take advantage of while you study. Most animation schools also invite guest speakers and other industry professionals to events on campus. Take advantage of all of these networking opportunities: you never know who you will meet.
Over the course of your studies, your school should help you put together a demo reel of work. A demo reel is a brief tape of animation samples you have produced. This will effectively serve as a visual resume when you apply for jobs, showing potential employers your abilities.
You will have created a number of animations for your classes that show off the skills and techniques you developed through your school. Not only will your programme help you produce the material for the demo reel, but your professors will also be able to help you edit it and give you feedback to make sure your work stands out from the crowd.
Create your own job
Have you thought about starting your own animation studio? Another great thing about attending animation school are the talented and passionate classmates you will meet. If you are having trouble finding a job even after taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by your school, you can look at alternative options. With hard work and coordination between a few friends from animation school, you can start your own business and create your dream job.
One last word...
A strong animation programme will also have made sure to introduce you to the behind-the-scenes operations of the animation industry. Your school should also have taught you a little about what to takes to succeed in the industry, namely: talent, luck and dedication. The key word here is dedication—don't let a few rejections discourage you from following your dream!
Article written by Natcoll Design Technology, an Animation School in New Zealand with a wide range of design, film, interactive, game and animation courses.