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How much money could i earn from being an animator?

#Illustration #Animation #animator #art #animate #ineedmoney #HELP

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Gwendolyn’s Answer

When you are starting out, the hardest thing to deal with is that the opportunities are usually per project. By that, I mean that you can be hired for a year, a month, a week, or even a day or two on a specific project, then you need to look for the next opportunity. When I worked in New York, for example, there were many times when I was working for one company this week and contacting/being contacted by another company so that I had money coming in next week.


Many of my friends and classmates are still in that race. It did not work very well for me because I don't handle my money well, long term, so I got into trouble with both day-to-day expenses and taxes. So if you're not sure if you can be your own accountant in a situation where money is not consistent, this may be a tough industry for you. You also has to be very flexible about what you work on. I have worked on everything from burger joint commercials to slot machines in an effort to have a longer term job.


There are also a lot of questionable practices going on in the West Coast industry. Look up what happened with Digital Domain after they won an oscar for "Life of Pi" and how many industry workers protested the state of the industry in 2013 (https://www.wired.com/2013/03/oscars-vfx-protest/).


I have a number of friends and colleagues who are currently looking for their next position, their next contract, and they have up to 20 years of experience. While you can earn quite a lot once you're established and have a reel/portfolio which blows everyone away, junior animators don't. While daily rates can look nice (Two years out of school, I was getting $400 a day) when you consider that contract work does not include health insurance, any benefits, they don't take taxes or social security out, so you're responsible for all of that after the fact.


I love the fact that I'm working in a creative industry, and I love computer animation, but I want to be honest about the reality of this industry.

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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Aubie


I just googled it, and it seems that animators at Disney make somewhere around 116K a year. I'm sure there are some top animators who make even more than that. Pretty good, but they probably did not start with that salary.


Your question is a good one, and it shows you are being practical about a career in the arts. As a student, the questions you should also be asking are something along the lines of:


---What is the salary of an entry level animator?

----What are studios looking for in entry level animators in terms of skills and experiences?

----What are the benefits that come with the job? (health insurance, days of paid leave, education support and so on.)

----How do I get a job as an entry level animator?

----How do I get a internship as an entry level animator?

----Where do I have to live to get a job as an entry level animator?

----How long does it usually take established animators to get their first "big job", one that pays the bills and establishes them in the field?


You are entering a very competitive arts field, and usually in the arts field the salaries are pretty low. However, if you work hard, are patient, stay positive, and can stick with it, your salary and opportunities can increase.


Maybe the big question you want to ask yourself is: Do I have the stamina and the belief in my skills and talent to enter the very competitive field of animation?


I would talk to your current art teachers, and if your school has a career counseling office, go there and do some research about animators. If you don't have a career counseling office, go to your local library and ask the librarian for help.


You might also scout around Instagram and Youtube for any animators giving tutorials and advice. There seems to be a lot of that going on the web. I remember I showed one animator (retired from Disney) who did a series of tutorials on Youtube, and he was full advice and tales about his experiences as an animator.


Best wishes!





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