Approximately 74,000 animators and multimedia artists are employed in the United States. Employers of animators include producers, movie studios, television production companies, computer and video game design firms, advertising agencies, and software developers. In addition, a number of these artists are self-employed, working on a freelance basis. Some do animation on the Web as a part-time business or a hobby.
Larger employers, such as Pixar, offer apprenticeships or internships. To enter these programs, applicants must be attending a college animation program. Interns at Pixar must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, or have graduated during the year the internship begins. Program participants might work as camera and staging artist interns, who “create sequences of shots that convey the story through the application of traditional filmmaking principles in a 3-D computer graphics environment.” Other internship options at Pixar are available in story, art, technical direction, production management, marketing, engineering, research, media systems, financial, and editorial. Internships last 12 weeks or 6 months during the summer, fall, and winter school terms.
Volunteering with a local animation or film production company is the next best thing to landing an internship. This experience will give you a great introduction to the field and help you to make valuable contacts in the field.
One new way up-and-coming animators have made themselves known to the animating community is by attracting an audience on the Web. A portfolio of well-executed Web ‘toons can help an animator build his reputation and get jobs.
Animators’ success, like that of other artists, depends on how much the public likes their work. Very successful animators work for well-known film or game design companies and other employers at the best wages; some become well-known to the public.
Read publications such as AnimationWorld (https://www.awn.com/animationworld) to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Take advantage of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend animation and video game conventions to network and interview for jobs.
Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.