Making contacts?

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Old 10 October 2012   #1
Making contacts?


I'm currently going to school for "animation" and one of my class projects is that we have to make contacts with people in the industry and actually establish conversations and what not. I've found some names of people via IMDB and was wondering how I would go about just sending an email or something to these people? Or if anyone has any other tips, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not trying to ask for a job because I'm nowhere close to ready to even begin to feel that out, but I'm just trying to establish a network for possible advice and/or critique (when I get to that point). I just don't know how to find contact info for these people. Any suggestions would be great and sorry if I'm in the wrong forum area.
Old 10 October 2012   #2
The majority of 3d artist have websites with contact information on them. Just do a google search for the artist's name and their position, and you can find it. Or you can PM people through CGTalk

Do be sure that the questions you ask aren't things you could find out from a book or the web. No one is going to want to help you if you just come off as trying to avoid doing research.
Old 10 October 2012   #3
I'm just trying to establish a network for possible advice and/or critique (when I get to that point).

But that is not a valid excuse. If you have nothing to critique or advice for then you have no reason to speak to them. I'm sorry but that is the reality.

You should spend the time practicing then when you have made an effort seek advice. I would just bypass the whole "exercise" by starting a project with the justification of seeking contacts once i have a reason.
Old 10 October 2012   #4
Honestly, whether or not you think it's valid, I have to do it. I can easily ask about what things I should focus on while in school to help me further in my specialization, what are some other things that compliment it, etc. I know you think they won't give me the time of day, that's fine. I've heard otherwise, but to each their own. Doesn't hurt to try. I've already got a few contacts, but I'm trying to grow my network and get different perspectives on the industry and when I get to that point, critiques.
Old 10 October 2012   #5
Originally Posted by conbom: But that is not a valid excuse. If you have nothing to critique or advice for then you have no reason to speak to them. I'm sorry but that is the reality.

I think you're being a tad harsh. There's no harm in making contact with a few folks for future reference.
Old 10 October 2012   #6
Your in an animation school and have nothing to critique... the project involves priming people to critique work that does not yet exist, which is actually one of the main things your paying the school to do. Am I missing somthing?
Old 10 October 2012   #7
I think posting on online forums and generally getting your work out online is a good start. Unfortunately some people on this forum can border on cruel rather than offer constructive criticism.

Directly contacting people might be a bad first impression. Personally, I wouldn't want my inbox filling up with requests to look at work. I'm not in a position to be able to offer jobs anyway.

What I do sometimes like to do is browse forums and websites and if something catches my eye by someone after advice, I'll willingly give it. is one place that people post to.

My advice is be productive, learn more and be sincere and honest when taking part in the community.
Old 10 October 2012   #8
Originally Posted by danmarell:
My advice is be productive, learn more and be sincere and honest when taking part in the community.

Go this direction. Most of my initial contacts came from friends and research. Although, I was not honest at first, but that did come later. Times are different now so definitely be honest and have good intentions.

Back in 1993 when I wanted to get into 3d animation, I found a brochure in the mail about a military research facility that was starting to create commercial 3d animations. I tried to contact them as a student, but they wouldn't have it. I figured since they were trying to "sell" with direct marketing mailers, I could "sell" myself to them as well. I was a bit sneaker back in the day, so I always went in as a potential client, asked tons of questions, then loaded up the charisma and positive aura. They usually found out I was a student or newbie trying to break in. I always got enough info to get to the next contact. Usually I was savvy enough to keep them as a contact as well. My initial military lead, gave me another individual that had an SGI and Wavefront ($100k combo), then that person lead me to a company that had 5 seats available with no talent on board. The networking kept going and I eventually went to college for animation and 19 years later, I am in the position the manager was with the 5 available seats back in 1993 and working with the owner he had.

Between 1993-2000 the student approach used to work so well and egos were so BIG back in the day, even when I was an entry level professional, acting like a student got me into more doors than saying I was already in the field. I would tell the producer or lead animator what I liked best about their work and how valuable their critique of my portfolio would be. It usually got me into some type of dialog. Occasionally I had to be persistant. However, it always worked and I usually made very solid contacts I still have today and sometimes, lead to full time work, referrals and freelance work. Once I got known and was on the "up and up", I could usually get breaks on renting studio time after hours for my freelance clients. Back then highend workstations and software was several hundreds of thousands of dollars. With a case of beer and good food, I could rent a studio suite that was $150+ per hour for about $30 per hour or sometimes for free because I had fun. I probably got away with the "bait and switch" routine because it came across and a creative desire to get in a door no matter what. I try to remember that with newbies today. Everything is even easier now with LinkedIn and sites like CGTalk. Back then digging for contacts came from the library, newpaper and magazine articles. I used to even dig through Dunn & Bradstreet (business analysis).

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 10 October 2012 at 04:51 PM.
Old 10 October 2012   #9
I think if you come across as being extremely interested in what they do and have specific questions about specific pieces in their portfolio they may be more responsive. Nobody likes to feel like they're being used, like becoming a contact to be used for a job later on or trying to get around research. But if you show genuine interest and make it clear you're just trying to learn, it will help.

I remember back in high school contacting random artists who worked on commercials that impressed me and asking them questions about how they did things, I generally got answers and they thought it was great that I was reaching out.
Old 10 October 2012   #10
I wouldn't be afraid to do it. I had to do a similar exercise when I was in college and didn't get any bad reception. As stated before, there's no reason to ask questions you could probably learn on your own, or that you should be learning in school, but asking about someone's art work or experiences working in the industry should be fine.

Honestly it seems like a dumb thing to be upset about if someone contacts you with questions about your work and experience, it's happened to me once or twice (god knows why they chose me over some of the insane talent that's out there), but I found it quite flattering and didn't mind answering a few questions at all.

"The best things in life are either illegal, fattening, or take too long to render."
Old 10 October 2012   #11
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