Hello there. Before we begin, I’m popping
in to say that because of the length of this video, the need to get it out in a timely
manner, and the fact that this is not really a “storytime” or “fairytale” animation,
I am towning down the number of moving and animated things. Just this once. This is not
typical of my channel, but I feel the need (and pressure) to get this video out ASAP.
Also, this video is about the words, not so much the visuals. Ok. On with the show! So. You want to work in animation? Were you
inspired by a show or movie as a kid and want to bring that to the world now as an adult?
Well. I did too. Heck, I did and still do. This video… is gonna be a lil bit different.
I’m gonna be a whole lot of frank. Now, here is the the reason I’m making this video
in particular: I’ve seen so many talented creators gain a great following on YT, and
then decide to go to school to pursue an education in animation to find a job at some animation
studio. And. I just. I just can’t say NOTHING. I also went down this path (the school to
(hopefully) jobs path). AND I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY NOW. Not
to crush your dreams (that’s kinda the opposite of the whole point of this channel?) but I’m
gonna lay a lot of it on the line here. If you already have a successful YouTube channel,
that’s kind of like an end-game in itself. Anything you could want to do you can springboard
from your channel. Now, I don’t know everyone’s individual motivations for pursuing education
to enter the corporate animation machine, they could have solid reasoning.But going
to school to improve your art for your channel seems like a huge time and money sink. Invest
in yourself and take time to learn the tricks of the trade WHILE working on the quality
of the channel that makes it all possible. School is a chuck of time and money (if you
are in the states) that you can never get back, and I’m speaking as someone who has
gone through the traditional “get the jobs and be “secure” forever” route. That
old route is dying out, and it’s no longer viable. YOU ARE ALREADY PAST IT. So, what’s my experience with this? I went
to school. I focused on animation. Finding jobs was REALLY difficult, but I found them.
My first “official industry” job was… a learning experience. Not creative at all,
but it was a “cool project” and I got an eye-opener to how disposable employees
are, how newbies do the most excruciatingly painful of tasks, and got to work 3rd shift
too. I learned what extortion and exploitation were, how little creative voice I had, and
how “job security” is a myth. I moved on. I grew, worked on different jobs, learned
what my time was worth. I worked in corporate tech for years doing that “clean, fresh”
motion graphics infographic style that everyone loves. Then I made the leap to freelance and
work on similar animation projects, but with a much broader and more creative scope. Each
project is different, and that keeps me creatively alive. I get to flex so many different animation
muscles and I love it – 2D and 3D and technical and whimsical. AND I’ve now carved out a
nook of time to (finally) do YouTube. I made this channel where I get to be the weird quirky
lady that I don’t necessarily get to be in other projects. I NEED this channel after
working in corporate animation for years. So, for me, it’s beyond backwards and baffling
how someone with such success could possible want to dump time and money into an education
that will only let them start at the beginning of the corporate studio machine. And, honestly,
having a large following online could hinder opportunities as well – because a company
will see you as a liability and a flight risk. Anyway, without further ado: Let’s talk
about what it’s REALLY like working in corporate animation studios. (This is just the highlights.
We can do deeper dives if you want.) What it’s actually like working in studio/corporate
animation Little Creative Voice. Grunt Work. Cog in
the Machine. First job was an “Opportunity of a Lifetime”.
It was pure, underpaid gruntwork. Seriously. I wanted to make beautiful environmental stories.
I still do. And, today, finally, I do. But rewind. So, you want to get into an animation
studio and be part of a team that makes magic and dreams? GET READY to be the expert on
HAND TWEENS. Or, MASKING OUT INDIVIDUAL HAIR STRANDS THAT ARE SLIGHTLY BLURRY. Really big
and really cool things take an army of creators. Get ready to do the nitty gritty that no one
will ever remember as the “iconic” part of an animated series or movie. Someone’s
gotta do it. Might as well be the new recruit. If you want to *actually* have creative say,
you’re going to want to look at smaller studios and lighter teams. And odds are you
will be working under many others who have way more creative say and expression than
you’ll get for years. If the studio stays open that long, and if they keep you around
that long, that is. JUST. BECAUSE. YOU. WERE. INSPIRED. BY. SOMETHING.
COOL. (be it an animation, video game, or whatever) AS. A. CHILD, DOES. NOT. MEAN. THAT.
YOU. SHOULD. SUBJECT. YOURSELF. TO. BE. EXTORTED. OR. EXPLOITED. By studios, by employers, by
clients, by ANYBODY. Yeah, yeah. “I crunch on my own videos now,
so of course I’ll do it if someone else is paying me!” Eeee yikes. Most crunch scenarios
are unwritten rules of a shady company. Trying to guilt you into working “for the good
of the family” and “because you love this project,” because that’s what they want
you to think of it as. It’s a “family” until you want to talk raises, take PTO, or,
you know, live. Crunch goes hand-in-hand with doing things above and beyond the job description.
You may think it looks awesome, and of course you think they’ll just have to give you
a raise, but in reality, they see that you are willing to do 100s of hours of work for
30 hours pay. The shady company has no financial interest in paying what you are worth… they
will just let you go and hire another fresh animator who has no idea what their worth
is. Cheaper to keep onboarding than pay for overtime and livable wages. Losing Your Baby – This one is kinda like
for a later down the line, but… you know. If you already have a YouTube channel, you
have this thing that you control the art direction of, the story and voice and IT’S YOURS.
It’s from your soul. Now, if you work for someone else, your personal IP that you’ve
been creating since you were a baby? You can pitch the best idea for an animated show or
series, and if it’s accepted, it becomes a real thing! How cool! However, it can be
a real thing WITHOUT YOU ON THE PROJECT. It is now owned by Mega Corp and you legally
can no longer touch it. Make sure you get someone savy in contracts to help you with
things like this, because you could lose your creative baby! Underpaid – The System of Hiring Newbies
Something I like to call THE ROTATING DOOR. AKA “Extortion” or “hiring the naive
recent grads that don’t know what their time is worth, and that we will fire the second
the project wraps up so we don’t have to offer benefits or healthcare, or god forbid
a livable wage. BUT WE WILL call them up the second we win a bid on another project and
need to perform for cheap.” Ok, right, so STORY TIME.
7b.) After college, I worked on a “BIG QUIRKY SECRET FILM” by a director that I adored.
I was so proud. It was like a fairytale. If you know me, you know that I love a certain…
creepy… aesthetic and direction…. and this was an opportunity my young, inspired,
star-struck self just could NOT pass up. The idea of an NDA was so mysterious and I thought
I had arrived. This was a “Dream Job,” or so I thought. While it was “cool” and
totally ‘my brand’, and looked freaking sweet on a resume for a few years, the reality
is that me (and 20 other new grads who were severely underpaid) worked for this studio
who was a subcontractor of a subcontractor of a subcontractor of a Subcontractor of a
VERY IMPORTANT AND MYSTERIOUS OVERLORD. This studio must must have won the gig for a really
low bid because they didn’t really pay us much. (I didn’t know about these things
then.) From 7pm to 3am, we’d be frame-by-frame
animating masks to crop out live action video, each mask to a seperate layer, so that when
you wore the 3D glasses, everything would appear different lengths from your eyes. Each
segment 2000 frames long. TRY MASKING OUT HUNDREDS OF SLIGHTLY-OUT-OF-FOCUS Soft curls?!
100% accurately with no edge feathering?! AND KEEPING YOUR LAYERS STRAIGHT?! THAT WAS
LIVING, my friend. It sucked. My barista jobs paid more. But… EXPERIENCE. Of. A. Lifetime.
(or so I thought) I realize I’m totally alienating myself
by saying all of this, but I knew none of this when I was new, and it would have changed
how I approached things (like… pay… for example.) After the scenes this studio was
contracted for were done – me and the rest of the young 3rd shifters were *also* all
just “done.” No working-for-employment here, no sir! That was for 1st and maaaybe
2nd shifters. Months later, they did call for another gig, but by that time I learned
that my time was better spent honing in even more on my craft and aspects that I actually
wanted to explore. And, you know, getting paid. Also, the job was 4 hours and one state
away. Oh! AND THE KICKER: we weren’t even allowed to use what we sweated and bled over
for weeks on our demo reels, because “BIG OVERLORD” owned the footage and technically
whatever we made. CHECK and DOUBLE REVIEW YOUR CONTRACTS, friends! The Myth of Job Security, and One-Way Loyalty
to the Company “But if I have a real job, I’ll have job
security, right?” WRONG. It seems really neat and nifty and that ulcer disappears.
You can afford things, even pay off debts and eat ok food once in awhile! You have health
insurance! Until the new manager comes in and one-by-one fires the excellent and faithful
employes with years at the company to hire people they know will be loyal to them. So
much for “family.” Also, animation studios close all the time.
Friends of mine have just been “let go” with no notice. Whole teams. Even after stellar
YEARS of internal reviews. So, always have a side hustle, even with a job job. Huh…
that sounds Kinda like having a youtube channel already going strong? THAT’S YOUR TICKET.
Same scenario with TV show pilot crew. You have this dedicated crew, who are MAYBE hired
if the show is approved for network. Depends on who is doing the hiring. Same thing, slightly
different industry. Commonality: it’s a creative field. Unpaid internships. And/or Trial Run Assignments.
While we’re here, let’s talk about this. Taking an unpaid internship says you are willing
to work for free, and that your time is valueless. Sure, really shine and they can hire you…
for not much because you’ve already proven you are willing to work for nothing. Your.
Time. Has. Value. Also, these should be illegal as they eliminate most candidates from the
job opportunity. Only those with “privilege” can afford to take them on. Got bills and
responsibilities? Well heck you’re not gonna be able to work for free easily. This is a
huge problem and it’s gotta stop. (001 responsibilities) So, yeah. This is my rant, or advice? Or observations?
I know not everywhere is like these places I talked about. There are some gems! You do
you. But for me, after working for other people for a decade, making other people’s dreams
come to life, I saw again and again how disposable employees are to companies. How there is little
loyalty to the people that make everything work, but enthusiastic loyalty is expected
in return. How pay is barely enough to break even, let alone get ahead on student loans.
And I don’t mean to paint this grim picture, but this is where I was at when I realized
that each individual, especially creative ones, need to make their own luck. I needed
to make my own luck. If I fail (and I still may!) I’ll know I tried. This is scary – livelihoods
based on an ever-changing youtube algorithm. But, honestly, so is working at a company
for 4 years, getting 5 star reviews, and then not having a job tomorrow when the studio
unexpectedly closes. What I’m driving at is, If you already have a successful YT channel,
YOU ARE ALREADY BEYOND ALL THIS. You have made your own luck against many odds. Keep
going!! And for those of you on the other side of
the coin, with small channels, or dreams of working in animation, or starting a channel
of your own, know that you don’t need to go to school and take on massive debt in order
to be successful. YOU CAN LEARN BY DOING. Surround yourself with a community that helps
you grow. If you have any questions about anything animation
related, let me know in the comments below! I *really* wished I had somewhere to go for
this stuff. So, let’s keep this conversation going! And BEST OF LUCK! You’re gonna do
great! And.. if you have a differing experience or opinion, we can totally discuss it like
civil human beings too. Pool our knowledge! Whoot! Ok, this was a tough pill to swallow, I know.
Anyway, we’re back to making awesome animations, and there’s a really cool spooky (and of
course, awkward) one in the works! So, if you wanna check it out when it comes out,
s. U. b. S. c. r. i. b. e. Yeah Subscribe. Yeah yeah subscribe. Oh god sorry. Bye!