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A New Career for a New Year

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A New Career for a New Year
photo by ltx, from sxc.hu
With a new year on the way, many often start to think about a new career, as well--especially with the current economy forcing many to take jobs they aren't happy with just to get by. Maybe you’re a grad coming out of school and looking to start fresh in your new career field; maybe you’re a veteran animator looking for a change, or maybe you’re even working in an entirely different field and hoping to make a switch. There’s no better time than now, but before you get started on your path to a career in animation, here are a few things you may want to know.

Know what steps to take in order to become an animator.
This includes your education, your chosen specialty, and the field that you want to work in.

Decide if you want to work for others, or freelance.
Freelancing works well for some, especially if you’re a jack-of-all-trades who likes to work independently and likes to change projects and programs often. Building job security is very difficult, though, and you always run the risk of blurring the line between work and home – and for many, it’s more lucrative (and beneficial) to seek regular employment rather than contract work.

Create your portfolio, or refresh your existing one.
If you’re out beating the street looking for a job, you’ll need something that you can tuck under your arm and tote along with you – something readily viewable that doesn’t require the aid of a VHS, DVD, or CD player in order to display your talent. Even if you’ve got a portfolio, check through it and see if there are any pieces that are rather dated and that you can replace with fresh new material to show how your skill has evolved since the portfolio was first created.

Create your demo reel, or update your existing one.
Portfolios are your first impression, but demo reels are your lasting one – an audiovisual business card that lets you leave your mark. Demo reels are essential for displaying your animation work in its intended medium, rather than as motionless, flat samples.

Know where to search, and how to do it.
This includes looking for your niche – finding that job you were looking for somewhere that no one else would think of looking. Even the furniture store down the street needs an animator for their commercials; the LCD screen specialists may have a Flash website that they need you to maintain full-time. So get out there, spruce up your resume and yourself, and get yourself an interview – and then get yourself a new job.

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