So, you’ve recently graduated or are going to be graduating soon and you’re not sure how to go about finding a good animation or visual effects job, or at least the right one for you. If it offers any comfort, you’re not alone.
But truth be told, the single most important ingredient needed to brew the magical formula of being happy in your career while simultaneously increasing your chances of finding just the right position at just the right company lies within the answer to the following question:
What is your ‘passion purpose?’
In other words, what is it that you really want to do? Forget settling. Settling is what happens when you don’t have anything better to do. And as someone pursuing a career in the animation and/or visual effects field, you clearly have lots of better things to do.
Listing Is a Virtue
Do some serious soul-searching and create a list, circling the top one or two things that you would be completely smitten doing which could potentially occupy 50-80 hours per week for the next 10 years of your life. If nothing on your list truly inspires you to commit to this level, keep searching until you find something that does.
Next, create as long of a list as possible of companies (at least 25) that may have this position available. Create a spreadsheet of resume submission guidelines, contact information, deadlines and other pertinent information so that you have all the required content organized by company and ready to go.
Start with a Pole, Finish with a Net
When seeking employment opportunities, you should always pursue the ideal scenario first. Start with the top three most dreamed about companies on your list. Do all the research on these companies and the position as you possibly can, talk to as many people at these companies as you possibly can, and find out as much as you possibly can about their interviewing, review and hiring processes so you can be as prepared as possible with your application and subsequent call back or interview.
Now, chances are, your top three dream companies are probably on many people’s top three dream companies list. Most people shoot right for the top because those are the most visible if not the most obvious targets. But keep in mind that Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and the like only have so many positions available in their company, not to mention a never-ending torrent of applications that could seemingly keep them busy sifting for the next several millennia.
In other words, competition for jobs at blockbuster animation studios is fierce. So, if after putting your best foot forward you do not receive a call back and/or are not invited to schedule an interview, keep your chin up and be open to exploring the other options on your list. After all, isn’t pursuing your passion purpose and being happy and fruitful in your career far more important than the status of the company for which you work? Obviously, there can be overlap between the two, but maybe ask yourself this question: would you rather sweep floors at a top-three dream company or would you rather be the animation director of really cool projects at a smaller company?
The reality is that people rarely land their ultimate dream job right out of college. This is often something that takes time, practice, experience, credentials, referrals and good fortune. So don’t let initial rejection dissuade you from pursuing your dream career even if you don’t land a dream job at your dream company right out of the gate.
Instead, expand your reach. Broaden your target base. Instead of using a fishing pole with a single line, focusing only on one small area, expand your reach with a net. Look for companies that may be a little more off the mainstream radar but have really great things happening nonetheless. As long as you can land as close as possible to your passion purpose, you’re off to a golden start.
Martin Grebing is the president of Funnybone Animation Studios. He can be reached at www.funnyboneanimation.com.