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David Dushey || Professional Cartoonist, Comic Artist, and Animator! || Enjoy my work? Leave a tip with Ko-Fi!

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Brooklyn NY

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I need guidance

Posted by Fungasm - June 28th, 2011

I haven't been animating all that much in the last few years. And now that I've been animating a bit more frequently and have been more productive, I've been thinking about how I can make animation, something I love to do and want to continue improving on, a career. I want to be able to make a name for myself, to get myself out there and make a living off of my work. I want to get better at what I love doing. Maybe to the point where I can start up my own animation studio. I'm making this post because I want any guidance on how I can achieve making a living off of what I love doing. How does one start? So if you know anything about that, I would love to hear your two-cents on the subject.

Comments (28)

I don't have experience with becoming a Career animator. If I were you I would consider moving out somewhere and going to college for animation If you haven't already. Enter Competitions outside of newgrounds. And contact some studios with your Animations. Get a job as an animator and go from there. That's my plan.
You are an amazing animator someone will hire you in an instant!
Your one of my BIGGEST inspirations!

^ that and build an impressive portfolio and get connected with some people.. that will help you out big time.

I have some architectural structures I've built that I'm also including in my portfolio along with animations/games....Music too.

Just show what you are capable of.

Watch this video, Thurop Van Orman talks about some of his experiences while getting started and he gives some advice. Not sure if its what you were looking for but just give it a look.
<a href="http://backstagebiz.com/2011/06/from-dreams-and-passion-to-hit-cartoon-network-show-with-thurop-van-orman/">http://backstagebiz.com/2011/06/from-
dreams-and-passion-to-hit-cartoon-net work-show-with-thurop-van-orman/</a>

You can get a big following like Egoraptor has, and make your money off of Youtube and Newgrounds ad revenue. Of course, getting said following is the hard part. As long as you have great and funny skits/parodies, you stand out from other animaters, and you make animations and network yourself on a somewhat regular basis, it should be do-able. (I say it as if I've done it myself lol)

I think going the old fashioned way with working in a studio just sucks in comparison and in general. I don't have personal experience, but I've read so much from other animators who work in those small time studios and it seems like it just sucks balls. You hardely ever work on something you're interested in, the studio tries to get away with paying you as little as fucking possible, long hours and overtime, absolutely 0 job security, extremely competitive, and the list goes on and on.

Unless you can get your foot into one of the big budget feature film studios, but they're almost all essentially CG animation, 2-D is out in that part of the industry.

TV animation, it's almost all south korean shit.

That's why I think the independent internet animator way is the best way from here on out. Your you're own boss, you animate what YOU want to animate, you get to squeeze your own creative juices, you get the credit and praise for your work, and more.

But I don't really know anything I've said here from experience, just hearsay, so ugh, you probably shouldn't listen to me.

Work as an animator/storyboard artist/writer for as many cartoon shows as you can.

You wont get anywhere with two-cents. So I'll give you my dollar on the subject.

I'll give you guidance based on where you are at now.

First off, forget everyone's comments. Period. None of them have experience on this matter, and they all admit to it. You will only hurt yourself listening to someone who does not know what they are talking about.

There is simply no reason at all to go to college for animation, because you already know it. The only reason you would go to college would be to learn something you do not know or to get certified for certain employments that require it. This is definitely not one of them, since this industry is based on talent, not paperwork or degrees. Also, it would put you in huge debt, leaving you in the same place you are now.

Let me give you an example of how this scenario would play out.
I have my company, and I want to hire an animator. Do I hire so and so with a college degree but sucks at animating and has no talent, or do I hire you who knows how to animate well and has great talent with out the college?

Anyhow, what you need to start doing in my opinion is begin transferring your animations to be more interactive. Until you are capable of creating games. The reason why you would want this, is because there is more market for games in the flash advertisement industry. This would allow you to sell your games or find sponsorships for them where websites would pay you good money to have them in their website exclusively.

If you do not want to do games at all, you can begin a website where you put your flashes and earn site revenue but that will be a lot more difficult to make income out of.

You will need to save about $700 before you do any kind of service or want to work for anyone. The reason for this, is so you can register yourself a trademark so no one steals your work and you do not get in trouble with the law for using fictitious company names. You will then create yourself a company registering an LLC. Limited Liability Company. This can be done even if you're the only owner, and it will protect you in case someone wants to be stupid and sue your company, you will not be liable.

Example of that scenario: You create a great game or animation for a big website, then they get in trouble for something in the game ect, and they claim their popularity and business was destroyed by something you did.

Good Luck!

^ You start off your post as if you know what you're talking about and denouncing everyone else but hey look at that, your scenario is total bull. You're automatically assuming all other college applicants suck at animation compared to him, and that's a stupid assumption. If an employer is choosing between two guys with near equal talent and experience (oh and you can bet there's going to be more than two people to choose from), and one of them happens to have a degree on them and the other doesn't, can you guess which one the employer will choose? The college one of course. College may be a waste of money if you're learning something you already know, but it may also be your only ticket in the door (if you want to work in a studio).

Mark, kid, you're nothing but a student. That is probably why your brain is so brainwashed and impulsive. I'm not assuming things, I know facts, that is why I know your name and that you are a student. See unlike you, I research and know things before I speak.

I'm the owner of my own company and run several businesses and networks. I am an employer myself, hiring people internationally. Which is why I know degrees don't mean anything. I have hired artists with Masters Degrees working for only $2/hr. We are in a global market now kid, so you better act up and catch up. Now explain to me how you expect to compete versus all those artists from India, Philippines, Korea, Egypt, and the list goes on. On today's economy, you are done if you base your career over documents.

And employer's pick their artists based on the Artist's theme and specialty. I'm not going to hire someone who is good at drawing animals and fairy things when I want a realistic shooter am I? You obviously know nothing about the industry. You are still a student, and teachers know that when students graduate they become competition, that is why it is more common to see misguidance in today's education. You will be eaten alive in the real world.

The bottom line is, do not work for anyone, no studio, nothing. Build your own company.

Well, you got great skills already. If you want to become popular through youtube fame or something, you need to be super productive and publish one or more animations a month. Also videogame parodies are super trendy and might reach a biggere audience more easily than non-vg themed animation.

Also, games get you money and always more views than animations. All that's probably stuff you already know though.

Hop up out the bed.
Turn your swag on.
Get monaaaayy, aaauuugh.

^ Dimana, kid ...

Slow down. For a 22 year old who doesn't animate, talking like you've run the gauntlet makes you seem unprofessional.

While studios do not hire you for your college degree, proof of an education will offer you more credibility right off the bat, and can offer a lot more than education.

Depending on what program you enter, and what you do with your time, you could make networking connections with both fellow animators, as well as animation studios. Bunking up ideas with other inspired students of animation could lead to wonderfully innovative collaborations.

Some schools offer competitive internships that literally get you through the door and working with the pros ... what happens after the internship is a matter of fate.

Also, being in an academic setting could serve to motivate you, to focus, to create that epic thesis, or just to practice everyday.

It's true though, there are few &quot;arts&quot; where credentials trump talent ... but credentials often open the door for people to see your talent. It's a shitty/lazy way to sift out who's serious and who's just hobbyist ... even though they'll likely end up missing out on some awesome talent, if you consider the number of submissions/applicants ... they have to have some sort of filtering process.

So if you're inspired to start your studio, DO IT! See where it leads ... if it fails, you'll have learned a lot about yourself and the industry, and maybe think about taking an intensive studio ... if it succeeds ... you're buying us all drinks.

i imagine you'd be a good fit for television animation, more so than being a certified internet &quot;comedian&quot;. The internet doesn't give a fuck if something is well animated, only if it gives them a nerd boner. So you're probably out of the running for internet fame unless you're willing to slut it up with the rest of them.

There is honestly no one true path to success, such as with most aspects of the entertainment industry, so It's hard to say how much any advice or &quot;this is how I did it&quot; could help. I can however offer some universal truths on the subject.

1. Location - The bottom line is that you need to be where the industry you want to be a part of is located. I am originally from Massachusetts and the only steady work I could find is doing little local commercials or spots for the local news. There just wasn't a lot of call for animation, so I up and left for L.A. Now, of course the internet offers for a lot of telecommuting for freelancers, however being a full time freelancer is NOT an easy gig, and you really need to build a reputation first, especially with large business entities, the kind that will actually pay for animation rather than enjoy it for free, which brings me to the next point...

2. The internet is a GREAT creative outlet, but horrible for getting paid. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the majority of people making a living off of their artwork are either freelancers doing it for an ever shuffling series of clients, or studio animators. I'm not saying ditch the internet or your fans, they are the best way for you to experiment and do the things you are really passionate about.

3. If you want to work for a studio then specialize in something. Studios (out here at least) have specific needs, they constantly need storyboard artists, directors, colorists, background painters etc. No one person does every job on an animation, and sadly, more often than not, very little ACTUAL animation goes on in the states. So it's great to know about the whole process, but if you have one focus that you are amazing at you will much more easily stand out to a studio.

4. Network... I hate it, I don't know anyone who actually LIKES being that douchey &quot;networking&quot; guy at the party, but it's necessary. If you want studio work, go to conventions, talk to people that interest you, if you can strike up an interesting conversation they just might remember you when it's important. For instance a friend and I went to Wondercon last year, he was unemployed at the time and just started talking himself up to Nickelodeon, next thing you know he's working on the new Airbender cartoon. (Continued...)

If you don't want studio jobs, then you have to build a network of clients, ad agencies and small businesses are a good place to start.

Now, I know I'm by no means the biggest expert in the room, but before someone starts ranting about how I don't know what I am talking about, I will say that I am currently making a (decent) living off of being a full time animator and illustrator as the animation director for a major digital magazine publisher and distributor. I also over the past two years have animated two television pilots, pitched to multiple networks, and am in production on a third pilot with major parties attached. Now I state these things not to brag, but to bring around the point that even as someone who has found some success, I still struggle all the time to get my stuff made, I mostly animate things I don't want to do, and I pour way more of my time into this stuff than I should... but it is ABSOLUTELY worth it.

Anyways, I hope that helped (and didn't sound too lecture-ey) best of luck to you and all your future endeavors. If you ever take the step towards career animator for sure let me know, I'd love to see more of your work.

Yeah, I know how you feel, Sometimes you just feel absolutely lost. Not because you don't know what you're doing but because you just feel lost. They way I see it everyone will get there moment in the sun at one point or another as long as you try and never quite, also being good at what you do doesn't hurt either. Some Animators and artist get their chances to shine when there 40 or 50 so you can't expect everything to just click over night. My advice to you is just keep doing what you're doing and soon you'll find that if it's meant to be the pieces will eventually fall into place.

Lord know I wanna be wanna start an animation studio one day, I got a cartoon I wanna work on that's been stuck in Purgatory for the last year for reasons beyond my own laziness. And A project that I just can't seem to finish which is like 97% done, I just can't force myself to make that last big push! But I'm not too worried, Maybe when I'm older and wiser and not so FUCK'IN LAZY thing will come around for me.

oh, also...

<a href="http://www.entertainmentcareers.net">http://www.entertainmentcareers.net</a>

<a href="http://www.mandy.com">http://www.mandy.com</a>

<a href="http://www.wooshii.com">http://www.wooshii.com</a>

<a href="http://nickanimationcareers.com/">http://nickanimationcareers.com/</a>

...there's a lot more out there, and some may not be viable for your area, but those are GREAT places that are always looking for animation.

kill yourself

^ This faggot thinks he's HILARIOUS!

I would contact Rtil. If you look at what he has done, you could ask him about how those things served to get him work. It seems like the dude has natural talent, but also went to school and learned about 3d animation software and probably experimented a lot with his own techniques. He made that short film Lighthouse Girl and has done a lot of concept art paintings for a portfolio. I'm not sure exactly how he got a connection for a job but you should talk to him about it.

Really, everyone's story is different. If you don't care about not working on cartoons, games really are a viable option. Make games with people, submit them to contests/conventions, IndieCade, Pax10, etc. There's also plenty of animation and indie game blogs out there that you could email and get your animations embedded on their websites.

I've started to use twitter more and promote myself which could help. Also, joining other forums besides newgrounds helps as well. Not saying this is a bad place, but there ARE other forums out there with varieties of professional bigger studio animators from all over. There are pro animators here but a lot of them work for themselves, which is fine. But making connections with people with different kinds of jobs is important as well.

you should try animating

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