I wrote this to a friend I recently made on Facebook who is not from this country and doesn’t know where to start the process of becoming an Animator in America. It’s useful information that is worth posting here, too. Many thanks to the industry professionals I’ve come in contact with who have taught me what I know so far!
The best way to become an animator is to learn all of the art skills, learn how the industry works, and make acquaintances who are already in the industry. They will inform you of job openings that are not advertised, help you to develop your skills, and teach you about how the industry works. There are different ways to find these people.
1. Go to a college or certification program to learn art skills and meet the teachers who have all worked in the industry. This website helps to recommend a good animation college: http://www.animationschoolreview.com/ and there are many other sites like this. Many industry art jobs are in California, Seattle, and New York so think about picking a college in those areas to have more chances at getting hired right out of school.
2. You can’t get any job as an animator until you have completed an internship. You need an art portfolio better than everyone else to get an internship. The art portfolio is the collection of art (or animation) that you show when you apply to a job. You need to make animations to fill up your portfolio. So start making animations and get yourself known as soon as possible.
3. Visit conventions and festivals to meet industry professionals. If you go to college here you will be closer to these things. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:http://www.cartoonbrew.com/biz/californias-am2-convention-announces-animation-festival-competition.html
Those are all very important things to do in order to even have a CHANCE to be an animator. Even then, it is a very difficult industry to get into. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be sure that you are willing to make art at least 50-60 hours per week, making only a living wage (25,000 per year). Animators work very hard.
I don’t get comments on my blog very often, but I invite you readers to add your advice if you think I’m wrong or I’ve missed an important point. Thanks for reading!