I know I am followed by some animation youngins, and wether you are looking to go to animation school, are currently in, or recently graduated, I wanted to share a little bit with you.
(Note: I only have experience in production for a CG show, so it’s all I can really speak to, but I think it applies overall)
Friday was my last day as a Production Assistant on Puss in Boots at Dreamworks TV. Six months ago when I was offered the job, I was both excited and uneasy. I had just graduated from Calarts, and I had already seen so many of my class mates get offered art related positions. I thought “What does that mean about me if I am working in production and not drawing? What if I am doing this forever and I never get an art job? Was my time at art school completely wasted??” I was so nervous to go to the Open Show this year because I was embarrassed to tell my peers I was working in production.
To be honest, I was also worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing, so it was nerves all around.
But then I actually started working and my eyes opened a bit. In production you get to see every step of the process, and you learn pretty quickly what makes a show run smoothly. I got to watch the show runners solve problems in story, artists solve problems in design, and even the programmers solve problems on the technically side. And when you are immersed in that from day to day, you really understand what makes all those little victories important.
At the same time, because I wasn’t artistically drained from work, I would come home and take all the built up creativity and sketch. Not to say that it was always easy (I came home late and tired a lot sometimes) but it’s more than possible to make it happen.
This is all without even mentioning the amazing crew I worked with. My team where seriously some of the BEST people I have ever met. And by the time I got the story revisionist offer, I had really grown to love my job and it was hard to say goodbye.
LONG STORY SHORT If you are an up and coming animation professional, and the first job you are offered is in production, don’t be ashamed, TAKE THAT JOB AND MILK ALL THE EXPERIENCE YOU CAN FROM IT. Your time as an artist will come, and in the meantime you will be learning so many things that will help you in the future! :)
(SPECIAL NOTE: If you are an artist, please respect your production team! All they want is for the project to be it’s very best, so don’t take it personally if they hound you to hand your stuff in on time.)