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news • 15 May 2024

Finding work in the Animation Industry

Profile picture of Alex Williams

Written by ALEXANDER WILLIAMS

Dean/Director of Animation and Visual Effects

The creative industries have hit some headwinds of late, with a perfect storm of writers' strikes, actors' strikes, studio cutbacks, and anxiety over the threat from AI. 

But there are still jobs and opportunities out there for graduates with excellent portfolios and strong software skills. Below is a round-up of things to do to maximise your chances of breaking into the industry.

Polish Your Demo Reel

Make sure your demo reel is job-ready. Demo reels should be short, no more than 90 seconds, with your best shots first. It should also be free of mistakes and should not include any "work in progress" nor be password protected.

Polish Your CV

You need an up-to-date CV. Your CV should be short (1-2 page PDF) and should include your full name, contact details and a link to your demo reel.

Be on LinkedIn

Nowadays, animation recruiters live on LinkedIn.  Make sure you have an appealing, well curated LinkedIn profile with an embedded link to your demo reel.

Get Yourself a Blog or Website

Make sure your demo reel and artwork is hosted online, and easy to find. Artstation, Instagram, Vimeo and YouTube are good places to showcase your work.

Who is Hiring?

There are hundreds of animation, games and VFX companies in the UK alone. Make lists and track where you have applied and when. Find out who is looking for talent. Sign up for job alerts on LinkedIn. Search industry news websites and Facebook. Sign up with the jobs page at The Animation World Network. I have personally found work through this site - my job on Robots at Blue Sky Studios. Remember, there is always a company somewhere looking to hire new talent.

Apply For Jobs

Start applying. Draft a cover letter to send to each company you apply to. Draft a standard letter, save it and then adapt it. Each letter should be tailored to suit the company you are applying. The Number one reason that graduates don't find work is - they don't apply.

Work as a Runner or Intern

A successful internship brings experience, contacts and direct understanding of what is needed to get a job with an animation company. Equally, working as a runner can be a great way in to a company.

Get ready for interviews

Company recruiters want to know that you are enthusiastic and motivated for the job you are applying for. Research the company, and find out what they do. Recruiters often ask questions like: "What do you think this job involves?" or "What do you expect an average day to be like?".

Work Your Connections

Personal connections count. As an Escapee, you are part of the largest alumni network in the UK for the creative industries. Find Escapees working in the company you are applying for and connect with them on LinkedIn. Ask how they got their first job. Ask them who at the company makes hiring decisions. Find out what the company is looking for. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building connections.

Bother Your Tutors

Make use of our resources - we offer regular demo reel workshops with Will Hughes from the Talent Development Team at Escape Studios. Any member of the Animation Team at Escape Studios will be glad to review your reel - just ask us.

Don't Give Up

Expect rejection. Keep at it. Remember that Rejection is information. If you didn't get a job, ask the company for feedback on what you can do better. Apply more than once, perhaps every 3–4 months, so that companies know you are still out there and still keen to join them. Keep animating. Maybe you need a new shot for your reel?