I'm a professional character designer for TV animation with 9+ years of experience. I'm also a "tradigital" animator with classical training. I've most recently worked on "Grojband" and the latest season of the Total Drama Island series. I'm currently Designer/Posing artist Fresh TV's "The Ridonculous Race".
I always read comments, but don't always get around to responding. If you really want to get in touch with me about anything at all, please feel free to send me a note. I don't bite.
You can check out some of my professional work at the link below:
Please keep in mind that this is all based on my own experience so far as an animator/character designer for tv animation. Different studios may have different policies. Other professionals may have other opinions on the points I’m making.
So, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and it’s always been contract to contract work. It’s actually not that big of a deal to me. I’m used to dealing with both the longer-term and short-term work, the times when studios just run out of projects, being laid off for a time, looking for work elsewhere… and I’ve learned a little something along the way. A few somethings, actually:
1) Sometimes work is work. You may hate the project and the pay might not be what you want, but you take what you can get when industry work is thin. As long as you can feasibly support yourself and live within your means, you’re golden. Something better will come along. You might want to try to work on your own projects on the side to keep things interesting. In fact, I encourage that! Also, bring a sketchbook with you to work and doodle your own things on your lunch breaks.
2) It’s kinda considered good work policy to honour the length of your contract. If you simply dislike the project and don’t see yourself enjoying any future work from the particular studio, just stick it out until the end before jumping ship to a new job/studio. There’s less chance of burning professional bridges that way!
3) What about when that job you’re doing just to make ends meet is making you unhealthy? What if it’s causing you severe depression, anxiety, dread? What if your employers make you feel like utter shit and it’s causing you to have emotional breakdowns every day? Hopefully this never happens to you, but it’s not uncommon. There are poisonous working situations out there. My advice to you here would be… LOOK FOR AND TAKE ANOTHER JOB IF YOU CAN ASAP! I’ve learned this the hard way. Breaking contract is better than breaking yourself for a job that only cares about your output, but not your happiness and well-being as an employee.
4) So, what happens if you’re cool with your current position and the studio and you get a REALLY AMAZING job offer from another studio? Well, I’ve done this before. I’ve thought about it. Weighed my options. If there’s more positive than negative (way better pay, longer contract, guaranteed future work after said contract is up, etc), I’ve gone for it. Good opportunities may not come every day, and if your employer is reasonable, they’ll understand. Make sure that if you do take another job, that you’re leaving on good terms. Talk to your supervisors. If there are loose ends to tie up, help them find a replacement for you or finish off your assigned work. Even offer continue working with your crew on a freelance basis on the side if you can.
5) Studios (if they’re run fairly and competently! Let’s face it, not everyone who owns/runs a studio knows what the hell they’re doing) generally appreciate your loyalty as an employee, so stick around for as long as work is available! BUT, don’t let a sense of obligation to stick around get in the way of your dreams for where you want your career to be headed. As mentioned in point #4, if you have yourself a brilliant opportunity that you’d be crazy not to seize, SEIZE IT!
I’m really sorry if I’ve repeated myself anywhere or if anything was confusing. I’d be happy to clear up any confusion by answering questions… I just thought it might be helpful to put this out there for anyone just starting out, or if they’re questioning their own choices about a job offer or leaving a bad work situation.