Industry advice: Getting a motion-graphics job
I could do with some insider knowledge into how best to approach getting a job as a motion designer.
(@mods sorry if this is an inappropriate forum for this, I wasn't sure where to post. feel free to move)
Just a bit of background: I'm a London based multi-disciplined digital designer, for want of a better title. I've been working in a mixture of advertising and digital design studios for the past 4.5 years now, my work spanning digital design, art-direction, illustration, and animation. I've done a fair bit of motion with After Effects for a little while now and frequently do minor bits and pieces for my job, however I've never fully pursued it as a specialism. However I feel I definitely have a greater potential for it and would like to get serious. Here are my main questions:
1. Is this a realistic strategy?
I believe I have strong visual and conceptual skills, art-direction and very good eye for composition. These have all been learned through design. However will such a background be recognised when I don't have experience in a production-type environment? Furthermore, I'm on the verge of turning 27. I haven't got such an age advantage any more, compared to 21-y/o juniors and grads, is it unrealistic or too late?
2. What sort of work should I focus on doing?
So the time has come to try and make the jump. How might it be possible for someone like me to break into more of a motion role? All the motion work I've done in design studios has been pretty minor, and not to the scale or level that would really get you noticed. I'm looking to freelance for a bit and I'm prepared to invest some personal time in developing a more motion-based portfolio, perhaps through self-initiated projects. I don't have a very extensive reel currently. What sort of thing would a potential employer like to see?
3. How broad should I aim to be?
I know little about the breadth and depth of a typical motion designer's specialisms. Is it expected to be fluent in all aspects of After Effects, alongside Trapcode suite, even Cinema 4D, VRay... etc? 2D, 3D or both? Motion graphics, live action, compositing? Or do you tend to get designers who focus on very particular strains? I can imagine that it varies per individual, but what would be the best tactic for someone like me, at least initially?
4. What's the job market like currently?
At the moment in London it seems to be a prosperous time to be in digital design, especially in the mobile sphere thanks to the rise of smartphone and tablet technology. I can't imagine it's the same for being a motion designer—How does the jobs market compare? How competitive is it?
Any advice that you could give to someone like me, even if it's just pointing out the obvious, would be greatly appreciated! :)
I'm not sure where in England Angie Taylor is located, but she would be an excellent resource for you, I think. I would seek her out and ask for her advice.
The Good Ms. Taylor is a very talented, knowledgeable, kind and helpful lady... and she's on your side of The Pond! I'm certain a google search of "angie taylor" and "after effects" will tun up her contact information.
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
Having worked on both sides of "the pond" (as Dave put it), I can share a few things:
1- If you like what you do people will notice
2- Spend nights on a couch in a studio where a senior is working trying to replicate at night what you "steal" from him/her during the day.
3- research the web for tutorials and tips from pros- the information available now is amazing.
Take it from a guy who learned AE with only the manual in the beginning.
Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist
Thank you for your replies!
I have always been very much of the mindset that you can achieve anything in the creative industries with enough passion, so I'm prepared to work at building my skills and portfolio on my own, either by creating new work or doing tutorials on the web.
Learning from a senior is an interesting point because it's something I've never had the chance to do and I can imagine that it is by far the most valuable way of learning.
I will check out Angie Taylor too! Thanks for the recommendation
In response to question 4, generally speaking the job markets vary on your location.
Over the last 30 years I have been an editor/motion graphics person at 2 large facilities in the Western US. The economy has shut down lots of large facilities. Also there is much more competition since now you can own NLE and Effects software relatively cheaply.
Who you know and the skills you develop are probably the best ways to get a job doing what you love.Living in an urban area will probably help as well.
The last facility I worked at for 9 years has just about shut down here in Las Vegas and after being layed off I am still looking for a full time position. Times are tougher for editors now then when I started many years ago.
PrP / After Effects Editor
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