Friday, 22 February 2013

Disney Producer Don Hahn on How to Break into The Animation Industry

Don Hahn is an animated film Producer whose credits are almost a roll-call of the Second Golden Age of Animation. His films include Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Beauty and The Beast, and The Lion King. He is currently producing the much-anticipated Maleficent, due out in 2014.

In an interview with FLIP animation blog he talked about his work as a producer, writer and director. We publish here an excerpt from the interview - his excellent advice to students on how to break into the animation business. 

Don: I meet so many people who want to break into the film business as animators, writer, directors or producers and want to know how. Here's a checklist:

  • Have strong work in your portfolio and clip reel, or strong writing samples.
  • Be yourself, know who you are and what you do best
  • Work harder than anyone else
  • Be relevant, make sure your skills are up to date
  • Send studios with your resume and follow up with a call
  • Find a mentor in the industry
  • Stay flexible, and be willing to move if you get an opportunity.
  • Get into the culture: it is easier to get hired if you live in LA or NYC or London and can intern or get an entry level job at the studio you want. It is hard to get hired if you live in Kansas and don't want to move.
  • Stay positive, stay persistent, stay in contact
  • Don't let the obstacles scare you away. Each studio has firewalls built up in order to keep the hobbyists and fan boys out. As a serious artist, it's part of the rights of passage to get beyond those firewalls with your talent and persistence. If they don't return your call, don't like your reel, can't talk to you unless you have an agent, or don't have anything for you, see these for what they are...obstacles to keep the amateurs out. If you want to be professional, you'll find a way to break past these with time and persistence.
In short: be better, be faster, be smarter, be stronger, work harder, work longer and there will be no stopping you!

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