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What kind of business career opportunities are there animation studios?

Hi all! I'm a graduating college next spring with a degree in business-marketing. I'm looking into a career that marries my business degree with industries that I am passionate about like animation (think DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney, Japanese animation). I don't have the artistic technical skills but would love to work as a producer for some of these projects that these studios put out. 1.) Do I need an artistic background/portfolio to obtain an admin role like a producer? 2.) (I have a feeling) but is this an industry where networking is my best bet to even land a more admin job? 3.) What skills would you suggest are special to this industry in this capacity beyond traditional business sales? Would love to hear from anyone who has experience in the field - thanks in advance for your answers! #animation #art #studios #anime #drawing #disney


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Sally’s Answer

I have found through my own experience in working in various industries (from engineering to illustration), that the best way into an industry that you are passionate about, isnt all about looking for and applying for jobs. It is about finding out exactly who ‘the people’ are and finding a back door in, as the others have already said. So, internships, volunteering, doing favours for them, making friends - basically finding a way to show them, in your own time, what sort of person you are and how committed you are to the industry, which is what you would normally try to do through an interview but you have only a very short time to do that and if there are other applicants who are better qualified, you may not even get an interview. Interviews really isnt the best way to get into your chosen industry in my opinion.

Consider doing short courses in a relating field, it would give you more leverage.

Be bold. Be sure about what you want and just go for it. Don’t be bolshy or forceful, but be polite, helpful and willing to please and show them that you are the sort of person who is happy to take on new challenges and to prove to them that you are responsible and will be able to produce whatever it is that they need from you. Good Luck. It will be an amazing adventure for you.

But also just remember, Pixar/Dreamworks/Disney are not the only animation businesses. There are so many animation businesses out in the world, that are highly successful and you will learn so much through working with them and you may find your niche this way. But if at the end of this, you still want to work for Pixar, you will be in a much stronger position to do this.

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Alicia’s Answer

Hey! I work in PR and Marketing Strategy in nyc - I too am working towards a career in the entertainment industry! I would say that you don’t need a creative portfolio, however it would be great to show your interests in the field somewhere in an application!! this could be through a personal website (there are a lot of free templates out there) or a discussion of your passions in a cover letter! With any industry, networking is a plus. if you are looking to get to know people on the industry, check out people on linkedin and message them to set up informational calls! it’s a great way to connect and build relationships for later on. Some advice I was told on skills fo have in this industry are: always be kind, make sure you are informed and up to date on your information re the industry, and never shy from an opportunity. learn all that you can and keep your passion your focus! you got this!

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Jeff’s Answer

Hi Grace, in high school my dream job was to work for Pixar as an animator. At the time I thought the only way to get into the industry was through art school, but I knew I didn't have the art experience to get into CalArts (which is known as a school that feeds heavily into the California animation industry). Instead I went to college for computer science. I discovered that the college I went to had an animation program within the computer science department who had more than a few graduates that went on to work for Pixar.

1. In animation, most roles that directly interact with the project (the film) will require some amount of artistic experience. This *doesn't* mean that you need a formal art background, but if you want to manage artists, you will have to speak their language and have something to show for your experience. However there are definitely going to be roles that don't require an art background. For instance I'm sure there are business and marketing teams at Pixar or Disney who are looking for, well, business and marketing-oriented professionals.

2. Networking is always important, but in my opinion saying "network more" is poor advice because it's not very actionable. Better advice would be "put yourself in a position where you're going to be around people that will make up a good network." It'd be better to get a foot in the door at a studio doing something that might not be a dream job than to meticulously plan out all the steps before taking any of them.

3. Develop aesthetic and art skills, even informally. Having some technical experience would probably be a benefit (maybe take a course or two relating to animation technique and software). Be ready to share your opinion with people. Animation is an industry where people will respect you for respectfully challenging their viewpoints.

My final advice is that sometimes it takes 2 or more career/life moves to end up in the place you really want to be in, but you can only know which step to take one at a time. If you really want to be in the animation industry but don't have any connections to it, the first step would be to form *any connection to it at all*, even if it's not exactly what you want. This could be making friends who are animators, getting an internship, pestering people via email, or just getting a low-level job at a studio.

Good luck!

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