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How to get in a Motion Design, Animation, or VFX Studio in the COVID Era

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

The pandemic has changed how studios hire their artists. Professionalism and empathy now hold importance in the new artistic workplace.

At the height of the dreadful pandemic that overtook 2020, artists from all disciplines were at the forefront of layoffs.

One source says that 2.7 million creative jobs were misplaced in the second quarter of last year alone, while another survey reveals that 95% of artists lost steady income streams due to the novel coronavirus.

With businesses closing, and the job market for creators getting tighter, how can an artist like you stand out?

The pandemic has redefined work as we know it, and employment is trailing after where the money is—which, at the moment, is in very specific sectors of the food and delivery industries. And although the art and entertainment scene is starting to regain its derailed economic shimmer, competition has never been stiffer.

How are you going to get in a studio amongst a sea of talents?

You can’t spell partnership without art

Many artists have the technical goods to produce fantastic output. Today’s creative pool is teeming with creators who animate, design, edit, draw, and perform well. Still, it takes so much more than inherent talent to land long-term and valuable roles in the art studio space. To thrive and last in the industry, one has to think like a business partner too.

These days, it is critical for a creative to factor in business purpose, production cost, and viability. Sure, your piece is nice to look at, but what purpose does it serve?

Designs are made to solve problems, and unless you know which ones you’re trying to remedy, you limit your viewpoint of a much larger picture. That mentioned, it is crucial for artists to learn how to share the vision of the studio to cultivate meaningful relationships.

Today’s economy leaves no room for artists to think only about completing projects. Compassion, grit, and the resolve to champion intentional narratives are what makes an artist an artist. After all, studios are going through rough times, too, so a creative’s ability to help improve their team’s storytelling abilities is called for.

In other words, it is professionalism and empathy that take you places.

Taking stock of your art career

Until you get a firm grasp of the business side, your understanding of what it means to be a professional creative will be variable.

But when exactly is an artist considered a professional?

Answers can differ, but there are pointers we can all take note of to better present ourselves to potential employers. Here are a few:

1. Know what you’re good at, and train tirelessly to be fast at it

It doesn’t matter which corner of the creative scene you belong to— illustrators, designers, typographers, animators, editors. You all matter and the world needs people like you. Each field demands regulation and discipline, and to produce great output, you have to put in the work.

If you’re not there yet, keep on working. The goal is progress, not perfection.

2. Make sure your portfolio communicates both your heart and skills

Your portfolio should show the best of your work. It should articulate that you are who the client needs and that you can help them brave the extra mile.

Furthermore, you earn extra points when the art you produce reflects the values you carry. The difference between an actual artist and someone who can complete a creative task is one’s capacity to understand the bigger message.

What do you hold a torch for and what is your art about?

3. Uphold work empathy

The pandemic has reminded us of many things, and one of them is this: we are all extensions of each other. No matter where you work and who you collaborate with, putting yourself in the shoes of your colleagues is imperative.

At the end of the day, we’re part of a team first, and a business second. It isn’t only about getting the job done anymore. It’s about acting accordingly within the context of your workplace.

4. Ace your job interviews and respect the process

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Knowing what you’re getting into is just as important and paramount to the projects you complete.

Be vigilant in checking your emails! You’ll want to know if your potential employer has reached out to you already. Make it a hobby to check your junk mail too. Sometimes our biggest surprises appear in the most unexpected places.

No matter how successful or disastrous your job interview was, always send a “thank you” email to your interviewer. This often leaves a favorable impression.

What’s next?

All in all, these are only a handful of ways you can land amazing opportunities as an artist.

If you want to know more about how professionalism and empathy can advance your career, catch our Co-Founders, Nico and Katwo Puertollano in Graphika Manila, the biggest design conference in Asia, as they talk about these and much more!

Also, one of our co-founders, Nico Puertollano, has started a community for aspiring artists to connect with fellow hopefuls AND WORKING STUDIO PROFESSIONALS! The Art Of Working seeks to help fresh graduates (and new artists) by arming you with the right knowledge and the best practices in the Animation, Motion Design, and VFX industry. So you, can find the best opportunities as an artist. Check it out right now!

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