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Breaking into Animation by Charles Quinniey

Breaking into Animation by Charles Quinniey

A Student’s Perspective

I have decided to write about landing a job in the animation industry because most of the books and articles that I’ve read on the subject are told from the perspective of a professional who has already accomplished their career goals.  I haven’t come across too many articles where an individual talks about their personal experience of landing their dream job, while they are taking the necessary steps to meet their career goals.  I wanted to share my successes and failures in trying to obtain a job within the animation industry.

This image is from the SCAD Atlanta website
This image is from www.scad.edu

I will begin by saying that there is no correct way or path to getting into the animation industry.  How someone gets a career in animation depends on their personal resources, their talents, and their network.  I decided to get my MFA in animation because I lacked the skills, networking, and industry knowledge to get into character animation.  When I decided to attend grad school at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), I already had six years of professional experience working as a motion graphic artist for WKBW Channel 7, a local ABC affiliate in Buffalo, NY. Unfortunately the skills that I used on the job, did not help towards landing my dream job.

turner
Photo Credit: www.turner.com

So now I am in my final year of grad school and have accumulated an astronomical amount of debt!  Exactly what did I gain from pursuing an MFA?  A lot!  By relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, a city that has a respectable film, animation, and video game industry, finding work will be a lot easier.  Floyd County, Bento Box, Hi Rez Studios, Turner Broadcasting, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim are a few companies that may offer opportunities that appeal to me.  By networking throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area I became friends with local animators, most of whom work at Floyd County, which produces the animated FX show Archer.

This image is from FX.com
Photo Credit: www.FX.com

At school all of the professors that I have come in contact with, have professional industry experience or have industry connections.  Some of them have started and successfully owned and run animation companies. Aside from the professors, SCAD gives students the opportunity to interact with the entertainment industry by bringing industry professionals and companies to SCAD every quarter.  Pixar, Dreamworks, Google and Blizzard Entertainment are companies that return every year looking for talent, sharing industry standard hiring practices, and offering portfolio reviews.

Although I have not yet gotten a job within the animation industry by choice, being in school has increased my chances of finding that opportunity.  Like any other industry, landing a dream job depends on how an individual uses the resources available to them.