Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Way West

Starting out young and naive in the animation business, as I did, only requires courage and the belief that you have a talent for it. Common sense has little to do with the decision. Still, attaching yourself to an outfit that claims to know the business multiplies your chance of survival. I recommend higher education. I am often approached by parents who try to get me to apprentice their artistic child right out of high school. In school, this neophyte did badly in everything else but art so naturally he should be just right for a professional career in animation! I always ask the hopeful parent if they would entrust themselves to a vital operation by a surgeon right out of high school just because he was good in Biology. I expect a graduate to enroll themselves in an art school that specializes in animation education before I invest time and money on them. In forty years as a professional artist and film maker, I only hired two people directly out of high school. They are the exception that proves the rule, "hire experienced artists not students".

Anyway, that's what I did. I spend good money on education in order to get a good start at earning all that money back. A good school has former professionals as teachers and former professionals know current professionals. It all starts with a recommendation. In my case, my first job came from a recommendation from an employed underclassman who always admired my work. The first job allows you to make money and get the second job, etc. As an artist, you will find the mere ability to spend the day drawing rather than "working" enough inducement to continue in the animation business. People come west just for this opportunity. I didn't come west for the "opportunity". I came for the ice cream. But that's another story...

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