Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year's Resolutions for Animators

What should an animator's new year's resolutions be? Animation is a huge and growing business, a far cry from the cottage industry it used to be when I got my first gig on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in 1987. But it is a very competitive world, and good animators need to work smart to stay on top of their game. So here's our FLIP checklist of some simple ways to maintain your edge in 2014.

1. Polish and re-edit your demo reel.

When did you last edit your demo reel? Last year? The year before that? Your demo reel is your online shop front, your calling card. It needs to be good, and it should be up to date. Clients and employers will judge you on the quality of your reel, so take a hard look at it, weed out mistakes, and polish what is left.

2. Learn a new piece of software.

New software is coming out all the time, and the existing stuff keeps getting updated, and you can never know too much. Whether it's Maya, Max, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Premiere or Final Cut, we have to learn this stuff or disappear into the Jurassic era of dinosaur-lane where we reassure each other over drinks in the pub that the old stuff is going to come back, any minute now.

The good news is, it has never been easier to learn new stuff. There are free tutorials all over the web to help you get started and learn the basics.

3. Start a website or blog

If you haven't done this already, you need to do this right away. Your reel and any associated art work should be hosted online, at a website or blog, It doesn't really matter which. You can build a free website at Blogger or Wix - try it. You'll be surprised how easy it is.

Free websites!

4. Do a new piece of animation, just for fun

Start something new, perhaps a short piece of dialogue, or a bit of creature work. You could enter the online 11 Second Club competition. Of course, you might lose (you probably will) but so what? You'll have done a great piece of work along the way.

5. Send your reel in to ten studios.

If you're out of work, the only way to find work is to keep sending out your reel, and apply for jobs. Keep an eye on the jobs page at, and call your friends in the business. Do they know of anything coming up? Recommendations are the life blood of the industry. Your friends and former colleages can be your best chance of getting a job.
MPC is hiring - check their website for details

Personally, I haven't done any of these things this year. But I did do most of them last year. Well, maybe a couple.

But then, half the fun of making new Year's resolutions is writing them down - and then not carrying them out.


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