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I want to be an animator or work for character animation. I know there are many places to start but I don't know what would be the best. Where should I start

- I want to be able to create shows/animated series for any audience (adult or children)
- I want to know what studios would be best to work with
- I also wonder what are the best qualities that colleges and animation studios look for in artists animation art design artist

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Alyssa,

I do not know the answers to most of the questions that you have asked here. I wanted to offer some thoughts on knowledge that I do have.

Animation is not just the realm of studios anymore. I work in an industry, learning and development, where animation is becoming more and more prominent. Why? Because training is expensive to do in person. Some training is often completely unsafe to do in real life. Think about training how to handle when something goes wrong during a fire. I would not want to intentional place firefighters in harm's way to show them how to handle a building collapse. Instead, animation would allow for a close to real world visual. People learn a lot from reading and seeing, especially when they learn the basics in the real world. So a firefighter can learn from a video depicting a fire going out of control without having to be in an unsafe situation to get that knowledge.

I have known two people who went to work for Disney after going to film school. While not directly animation specific programs, both ended up working on the Disney Animation studios. What I learned from both of them was this. One, while in school, they made sure that they knew their chosen fields and the fields around them. So if you want to be in animation, make sure you have knowledge and connections to people who write the scripts, direct the shot, voice the characters. This knowledge added on top of your animation skills can make you a valuable asset to any animation team. Second, make connections and keep them. Even if college is not your main route, connect with individuals who have the same interest. Ask them for help improving your skills and feedback on your work. Continue to work with the best so you can grow your skills. And stay in touch. Let them know about jobs that they may fit and they will often return the favor. In this world today, it can be about who you know. You don't need to know the head of the studio. You just need to know someone who can give you a good recommendation to get your foot in the door.

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Annie’s Answer

Hey Alyssa!

Exciting to hear you're interested in pursuing animation! Fortunately, there's a lot of different steps you can take to get started.
I would recommend talking with as many professionals in the field as possible. Start by looking up your favorite animated movies/tv shows and look into the credits. Find the people that are in roles that you are interested in, look up their websites and send them an email! I promise animators love to help out people that are new to the industry.
You can also start building up your portfolio! Art schools aren't necessarily looking for a full fledged animation reel, but rather the potential for learning animation. Try out animating some walk cycles, drawing some sequential art, and figure drawing. Schools are looking at your use of weight and form, and want to see that the foundations are there.

Best of luck to you!
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Cara’s Answer

Hi Alyssa!

Great question - I actually used to work for Cartoon Network, so hopefully I can help.

It's awesome that you have such a big goal! I suggest purchasing the Adobe Creative Cloud and then heading to YouTube to watch any tutorial you can to learn more about the tools.

From there, you can start building a portfolio and create your own website using Wix or any other host site.

You can also create a LinkedIn and start adding people who work at the companies you'd like to work for. Search for "Storyboard Artist Cartoon Network" and you'll see a ton of people you can start to follow and learn from.

Studios are looking for someone who knows how to use all of the linear/nonlinear/3D design tools and someone who can learn quickly. You will do very well by teaching yourself these skills from YouTube and Linkedin Learning.

I hope this helps!