- Animate Something
- Make a Damn Good Reel to Show Your Right Stuff
Employers are a very different audience than the ones for whom you probably made your animation. Most animation projects would be for entertainment, education, or advertisement. A potential employer usually does not have the time to sit through a feature or even a group of shorts.
A job-seeking demonstration reel needs to contain a variety of samples of the best of your work. It need not be lengthy or show entire projects.
Once you have picked your best samples, they need to be clearly titled, stating the role you played in its creation, and placed on a medium easily accessed by an employer. This would likely rule out shipping a 35mm film print (or 16mm, or 8mm).
These days, the viewing system of choice is DVD. It (potentially) has the best resolution and color fidelity.
It is limited by the fact that not everyone has a DVD player, and as yet, there is no such thing as a universal codec (compressor/decompressor) to play all file types. Plus, overseas players may be able to play only those DVDs meant for their region.
NTSC Videotape cassettes are the most universally available — and playable — viewing system, however, the image resolution is poor, tapes are subject to jamming and breakage, and they are more expensive to package and ship.
If you have access to a high bandwidth-capable internet service provider, you could consider placing Web-sized (small, low resolution) file versions of your samples on your (or on a showcase) Web site.
While this works well for quick access to your work, it shows carefully detailed and subtly colored work in the least appealing light. Further, Web resolution is usually bad, interruptions on the Net are frequent, and allows for far fewer samples than can be packed on a DVD.
- Do the Résumé
Make it all fit on one page if possible; two pages max. Most people do not read past the first third of a page.
If responding to a specific job notice — and you have experience in the qualification areas — find a place for all those key, qualification-related words onto your cover letter and resume.
- Scout the Prospects
Recruiters or studios do not usually contact ASIFA-NW, so immediate job notices through our Web site “Job Postings” article are few. Take a look anyway — the article has many other resources listed that are of use.
Job Postings - article from ASIFA NW
Look at a company’s Web site to see if their style is something with which you can live. Call them to ask if they are looking for demo reels and portfolios, and to whom to send it.
Sending a reel to a company that is not seeking talent is a waste of time and money.
For more immediate job postings, check out:
This vast, free, resource defaults to their San Francisco site, however, you can pick (from the list at the right of the screen) one of a couple of hundred major cities.
- Follow Through
Do what you say you will do.
Send in the application and reel. Call to make sure the company got it.
“How to Get a Job in Animation and Keep it”
by Gene Hamm
$14, 118 pages soft, Heinemann Drama
Sound advice and a good-humored approach to finding work in a studio or free-lancing. The book contains advice on what to study to learn the trade, how to promote yourself, why join a professional association*, copyright and other legal issues.
[ * By the way, Gene strongly recommends joining ASIFA.]
- Potent Quotes
Most people find looking for employment daunting and it can be depressing. It is important therefore, to keep your vision clear and your dream unsullied by the meanderings of life.
Therefore, the following wise sayings have been collected to inspire you when the going gets tough. They probably won’t make any difference, but here they are anyway:
“Ninety-five percent of the secret to success is just showing up.”
- Woody Allen
“If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.”
- Miss Piggy
“Never give up, never give in, never surrender.”
- Commander Jason Nesmith
- Keep the Day Job
Just in case.