Our goal is to make every student job-ready by the end of the course, prepared to tackle a role as junior animator at a studio, ready to do excellent work on client-facing projects.
That said, Bucks cannot actually guarantee jobs for students, but we can do our very best to provide all our students - including animation students - with practical skills that prepare them for the workplace and help them to get hired.
How do we make sure our animation students are employable?
Animation is a technology-driven craft and students need to have the latest skills to get hired. Right now that means learning Autodesk Maya, the main software used globally and in the UK, and the various packages which support it. It also means learning all the traditional animation skills, the basic principles of timing, spacing and performance which are the animator's essential toolkit.
|Kiwi by Oliver Canovas|
The entry level position for animators is Junior Animator. This is the job we are aiming for, for all our students. That means that an animator has to be pretty much fully formed, capable of hitting the ground running on day 1 and delivering quality animation that will hit the ball out of the park, first time.
How do we teach our students to be junior animators?
Here at Bucks we teach a system for animation. When you work on production you rarely know what is going to come your way on any given monday morning. Animators have to be able to tackle everything from realistic animals in motion to talking meercats or dancing space rangers. Being able to do this means having a system in place that you can rely on, a method of working that gives you confidence to work efficiently and well, so you know how to tackle anything a producer can throw at you.
We have excellent industry contacts and we do our best, generally on an informal basis, to make introductions, and even place students in internships or jobs, if we are able. I personally keep an eye on the Twitter feeds of the big animation studios, especially Soho VFX houses, to make sure our students are aware of who is hiring.
Is it worth working as a runner?
We aim for a junior animator position for our trainee animators, but some of our animation students have gotten their start as runners - a tried and tested route into the industry.
We offer continued mentoring and support after the classroom course is over, to polish your skills and build a killer demo reel. Even beyond the formal end of the course we encourage students to keep in touch and keep uploading work to the Facebook Classroom (a closed group, open only to our animation students), for feedback and ongoing support. The secret to finding work is a great demo reel, and this is always a work-in-progress.
For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.