State of the animation career

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Old 07 July 2009   #1
State of the animation career

There is not one job listing on Craigslist in the Seattle and surrounding area, which includes a ton of game dev firms. Performing a nation-wide search for "animator" on Monster came up with 1 job, in LA. Doing the same on came up with just a couple, again, nationwide....most were for animation instructor....

Whats going on? Is it just dead right now. How about some real advise. I just came back from an informational meeting about a 3D animation certification course from the University of Washington. The instructor didn't show up, so the head of the UW "extension" dept answered questions and i figure i might as well have been talking to a used car salesman. I just changed jobs in preparation for this certification course, and now im learning I may have been reading sugar coated advise for months. Can someone lay the facts down straight? Will I have to move around every few years? Will I have to take a second job? Keep in mind, i think i will fit into the top 15% at the very least, but that will likely be down the road, not immediately. Can someone say whether or not this career is good for me, if its not necessarily a passion from the start?
Old 07 July 2009   #2 - look under jobs

Those two sites are pretty good for job searching in this industry. Good luck.

Animation requires a lot of time and work, if you're talking about animation that is. Some people mistake "animation" for everything that has to do with 3d. Not that the other disciplines don't req their own time and effort, but animating isn't for everyone.

Will you have to move around? Depends on how good you are, the types of jobs you take and the area you take them in. If you live in LA, do good work, you can bounce around from Imageworks, RH, and DD pretty easily and they are all fairly close together. Plus there are many smaller studios scattered around as well as Dreamworks. Assuming the studio gets work, you can stay at one for a long time if you perform well and the timing matches. My attitude with this industry has always been, plan for the worst and hope for the best. You may find yourself not wanting to work at a place after a while anyway, most shows are almost always OT and after a few years, you might just want to move.
Old 07 July 2009   #3, cheer up. This very second, most places that would post at the larger job hunt places are getting ready to recruit at Siggraph.
Old 07 July 2009   #4
Yes, im refering specifically only to animating and maybe common secondary functions like perhaps ( I'm guessing) rigging.
Old 07 July 2009   #5
Originally Posted by Libertine: Whats going on?


Real advise? Don't be picky. Apply at any jobs where you can use your cg skills. In-house, freelance, teacher's assistant, game tester, etc. Get your home studio system set up so you can practice as much as you can and get polished stuff for your reel and online portfolio. Your certificate means squat if you can't back it up with pro level content.

Old 07 July 2009   #6
There's plenty of work out there for people who have the skills necessary to do the job. Studios constantly battle to find staff to fill the roles they're hiring for; that really is a fact.

Having said that, it's true that you may end up moving around a bit, especially if you work in the entertainment industry side of things. If that's going to be a problem for you, then you may want to consider another avenue in the field (there are many CG paths outside of the entertainment industry).
Old 07 July 2009   #7
I agree in general with Leigh, but I do think the recession is causing a lot of US companies to freeze hiring and even lay people off. There are still jobs out there for the right people, but they are harder to find and there will be more competition.
The opinions stated here are my own and not may not represent those of my employer.
Old 07 July 2009   #8
Like RockstarKate said, I've noticed a huge slowdown also. But it seems like things are getting better. Back in April/May it seemed like no one had open positions. Now I noticed companies starting to hire a bit more. As companies get their funding back and projects start rolling again I see the amount of hiring to continue. Just hang in there!
Old 07 July 2009   #9
things are pretty dire right now. My advice..learn to drink and go people, make friends. It's your best chance at getting in somewhere.
My generation is for sale, it's a steady job. How much have you got?
Old 08 August 2009   #10
I'm a depressed loner who doesn't and shouldn't drink anymore. I couldn't form a fake smile to save my life.
Old 08 August 2009   #11
Then you are in trouble. I suggest counciling first. Being open and friendly to people you don't know yet can be challenging, but it's not too hard. Find a local group of CG people to hang out with.

Personally I'd love to be in your shoes. You're already in a place where there's a lot of opportunities and people. Where I live, I know exactly 1 person who does this for a living.

Don't put all your apples in one bag either. All because you don't find work for a while doesn't mean you can't at least do this kind of work for fun. 3D animation is FUN... if you're not enjoying doing it on your own then you might want to think about what you're doing carefully.
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Old 08 August 2009   #12
Originally Posted by Libertine: Can someone say whether or not this career is good for me, if its not necessarily a passion from the start?

All I can say is this- there are a lot of hungry people out there, and if you're not competetive someone else will get the job. Unless you've got some kind of out-of-this-world demo reel that is..

Even if you're not passionate about your work, you need to at least appear to be, because if you come off as ambivalent, people are going to pass you up (unless, as I said, something else is carrying you). just my two cents.. if you honestly think that you are or will be good enough to be in the top 10% of all the existing talent, then I'd say it's a career worth pursuing, though I would be asking myself how I came up with that idea in the first place

Old 08 August 2009   #13
Im not an artist, is there any related 3d activity I can fall back on in the same position like rigging or......maybe mapping??? What percentage of the time are secondary skills called for? Anyone have facts?

Last edited by Libertine : 08 August 2009 at 01:22 AM.
Old 08 August 2009   #14
Originally Posted by Libertine: Im not an artist, is there any related 3d activity I can fall back on in the same position like rigging or......maybe mapping??? What percentage of the time are secondary skills called for? Anyone have facts?

Maybe programmer, render farm rangler, or runner (production assistant)? There's probably a few opportunities for you still.
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Last edited by Hauzer : 08 August 2009 at 04:04 AM.
Old 08 August 2009   #15
problem is, a lot of those hungry students I mentioned are taking the secondary jobs as stopovers to the jobs they actually want. I know of a guy who graduated from VFS and had to babysit renders at ILM for a whole year before he got bumped up into actual production... and his reel was awesome. I honestly don't think there's a consistent way to half-ass your way into the entertainment industry... many have done it i'm sure, but it was probably luck.

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