Friday, 1 November 2019

Why Animators Need to Be on LinkedIn

Tiffany Feeny, Ted Ty, Alex Williams, Jan-Bart Van Beek
How do animation graduates break into the industry? At this week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts, hosted by SVA's Director of Career Development Angie Wojak.

Also on the panel was the recruiter Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.

Tiffany's big message to recent graduates looking for work?  "Be on Linkedin".

Be on Linkedin
Tiffany stressed the importance of students and recent graduates having a well-curated Linkedin profile. As Tiffany put it: "I live on Linkedin".  Linkedin is where recruiters go to find talent, and find out what talent is now available - or will be available soon.  Above all, Linkedin is "your brand".

Updated profile
You should update your status regularly. For recruiters, availability of talent is key. Are you looking for work right now, in a month's time, or three months? If you are looking for work, make sure you say you are available. If you know you will be free in a couple of months, say so.

Recruiters are often looking for talent to begin work on a project a few months down the road. Your status at Linkedin should say that you are "available for work" or, if your contract is coming to an end, "available work from 1st November" (or whatever).

Ted Ty of L"Atelier
Demo Reel & Website
Ted Ty, animation supervisor at L'Atelier in Montreal, said that your demo reel should be hosted at Vimeo, not YouTube, and please don't password-protect it. Demo reels should have contact details (phone, email, website) at the front and the back end of the reel.

You can have your own blog or website, but both Tiffany and Ty argued it's easiest to host your work at or Artstation. But above all, be easy to find - and easy to contact; make your contact details clear. Don't make recruiters work hard to track you down.

Games reel
Jan-Bart Van Beek, Art and Animation Director at Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam, explained that an animation reel for the games industry needs lots of physical actions, as games animators need to be very proficient in body mechanics. Games animators are not actors, they are "stunt co-ordinators". It takes a while to break into the games industry so you need to be uploading your work to games sites and showing your progress over time; recruiters and industry folks will watch your progress and keep an eye on you.

Jan-Bart: "games animators are stunt co-ordinators"
LinkedIn Checklist
  • Be on LinkedIn. Sign up now!
  • Make sure your latest demo reel is clearly visible at the top of your profile and easy to find. Remember, studios hire principally on the strength of your reel. 
  • Connect to all the animation recruiters you can find. They will connect with you. 
  • Make your LinkedIn profile attractive - design your own custom banner that brands you as an artist - don't use the default blue background. 
  • If you are available for work, say so. Your profile should say "3D animator - available for work". Or "available for work from [date]".
To see how to embed your demo reel at LinkedIn, read this blog post.

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.

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