Networking in the Field of Computer Animation
Networking is a critical component of finding work in the field of computer animation. Many people with this career work as freelancers or consultants to various projects rather than working full-time for a specific company or business. This is why it is important for those in the computer animation field to know how to successfully network.
Peers are generally those that a computer animator networks with the most as this type of networking provides multiple benefits. Not only does it keep animators informed of the latest news and developments in the animation world, but it also establishes a platform for collaboration between animators who may need each others assistance in completing a project or addressing a problem.
There are many different ways for a person in computer animation to network with their peers. Many people choose to attend the ACM SIGGRAPH conference as this allows them to gather to discuss the computer animation field. Even though it may only happen once a year, individuals often exchange contact information to continue talking until the next conference rolls around. Joining a local animation or design club is also a popular networking method for those that live in areas with an established organization.
Many clubs and organizations can be found in the two central hubs for computer animation in the United States - New York and Los Angeles. Most computer animation jobs are located in these two cities although some can be found in other locations. Recent graduates often find it easier to get a job after moving to either of these hubs, and there are more networking opportunities since more computer animators are in the same location.
Networking shouldn't just be limited to other animators. Getting animation jobs and moving ahead in the field often requires networking with professionals in other areas. For example, the entertainment industry needs computer animation for cartoons, movies with blockbuster effects, and animated films. Networking with producers, directors, and others in the entertainment business can lead to the chance to work on a major film or television series since people are more likely to hire animators they know rather than someone they don't know.
Thanks to the internet, computer animators now have the option to also network themselves online through sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. This makes it possible for them to promote themselves and their services for an inexpensive price. Although it may be recommended to live in New York or Los Angeles, the internet has opened doors to living elsewhere and still being able to work and stay connected to the computer animation field.
Finally it is important that once a person's established some contacts through networking they keep in touch with them. While this doesn't mean that they have to call them every week, they should check in periodically to see what's new as well as inform them about their career. Since periodic contact with people in the network might slip their mind, some find it helpful to put a special note on their calendar every few months to ensure they remember to check in with them. Who knows when keeping in touch with a network contact will pay off by the contact mentioning their name to a studio executive or movie producer.
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