3D animation has earned a reputation of being one of the ‘coolest’, most interesting, stimulating and glamorous jobs in the world. It is well paid too! Is there any wonder why jobs in this field are so sought after today? What this means is that need to be good at what you do, very good. You also need to have the skills and training so that you can stand closer to the front of the queue. There are generally more people than jobs for studio work.
Firstly, 3D animation has a few different specialisations; you need to go after the jobs that need your skills qq online. If you have been through formal training, at some stage you would have honed your skills in a particular area. 3D is about more than just creating adorable cartoon characters for film or TV. A 3D animator can diversify into animated website design, they can create fantastic video games, even online casino video games or create CD’s, be it for entertainment, education or marketing aids for the corporate world. So, you need to decide which direction you want to pursue first.
While you are studying, or if self taught, you need to create a portfolio of work. When you apply for a job, this is a necessity as it shows your skills and your capabilities. It should show your best work and showcase your skills. This is a great way to package and promote yourself, so don’t put in anything that is not 100%. Bear in mind that someone will probably only spend about 60 seconds looking at it.
In this vein, not all 3D animation jobs are advertised, so you may need to go out and network – especially if you have decided to freelance. Join networks, trade shows or PR events. Making a contact with the right person may get your portfolio viewed and if good, chances are you will land the job. Follow up once you have submitted your portfolio, do not let things slide. While a studio may not be hiring this month, they may be hiring 2 months down the line. Remember, this is a hugely competitive career and fast paced environment. The better you are at promoting yourself, the more chance you have at getting work.
Another way to land that job is to get an internship once you have finished studying. Internships, while it may not pay well, if at all, it is a great way to pave your future path. They give you an opportunity of implementing what you have been taught under the watchful eye of highly experience animators. Plus they have an advantage of allowing you to showcase your skills, gain experience, get familiar with software in a ‘real time’ environment and if you show yourself to be dedicated, a team player, good ideas and capable, chances are you will be offered a position.
Prior to Google Caffeine coming out, you could have a link from a hair care page, despite owning a recruiting firm, which had a high “PR ranking” or “Page Rank” (a numerical value the search engine gives to websites to determine how powerful links are from that page) and you would jump up in the SERPs. Sometimes, this jump could happen within the course of a few hours.
This brought upon a new challenge for Google as sites which boasted a high page ranking began selling what are known as “text links.” Then, the need for an intermediary broker between the site and the link buyer skyrocketed. Since, this has become a big business. Depending on the PR of a site, a single link can cost up to $4,000 per year. I know of colleges who actually sell them.
I won’t say the name, but their football helmets are yellow and dark blue. Though, these links do not work anymore thanks to the introduction of Caffeine. The problem is that a site which has random, unrelated links is no longer taken seriously by the search engine. Therefore, a link from a job related site for my organization which also, for example, boasts a link to an online casino, has no effect on our rankings. As a matter of fact, it could hurt our rankings as this is a telltale sign to the search engine that we are engaging in text-link buying which is heavily frowned upon.
Then, how does one acquire good, reputable links? You have to acquire links the old-fashioned way in which anybody acquires something of worth: sales and subsequent, cold-calling. To rank highly in Google, aside from fresh, updated and relevant content on your site, you need to tirelessly cold-call for links. That is why, when asked to discuss social media, I can lay down a platform which will work, but to execute, you must be good at sales.