Lonely animator on cartoon island with single palm tree...
November 1, 2012 11:49 AM   Subscribe

How do I network as an artist/animator without having gone to art school or worked in a studio setting?

I'm passionate about hand-drawn animation, but none of the jobs in that industry appeal to me enough to make me want to drop everything and move to California. Jobs in animation are rare and competitive in my area. I'd prefer just a day-job for making a living, and to work on art as a dedicated amateur/hobbyist.

Here's the problem -- I feel very isolated. I didn't go to art school so I don't have networking connections there. I haven't worked in a studio, so I don't have any professional connections. Hand-drawn animation is largely a team effort, but most artists who are well-trained in that medium are either busy with full-time jobs, or busy working on their own side projects with people they know well from work and school. It can be a bit cliquey in that respect.

It's really tough and limiting to work alone, and I'm stumped as to how to find collaborators for artsy non-commercial animation projects. What the heck do I do?

Note--here's what I use already:
- participation in online art forums
- blog/Tumblr which tweets every post
- LinkedIn (no Facebook, because of reasons)
- YouTube channel (this has gotten me the most responses)
posted by overeducated_alligator to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in the same boat, you should meMail me.
posted by hellojed at 12:26 PM on November 1, 2012

Your best bet, I think, is to keep making your own stuff. There's not a ton of work for hand-drawn, as so much is computer animated stuff. But writing your own scripts and designing the characters and making the films and putting them up on YouTube gets you an audience. Do you have a feature-length script? You could try to raise funds via Kickstarter, etc., and if nothing else, you'll have made more people aware of your work.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:28 PM on November 1, 2012

Where are you? ASIFA (the animation film society) has a couple branches (ASIFA East, ASIFA Central) which often has networking events, but this is I think more helpful if you are in a major city- ASIFA East mostly has events in NYC, I am not sure about ASIFA Central. There is also ASIFA Hollywood but from your question they aren't relevant.
posted by matcha action at 12:54 PM on November 1, 2012

The 11 Second Club has a collaborations/shorts forum and is a pretty great resource... They're not very artsy, but it might be fun to play with the challenges if you do character stuff.

There's also Mefi projects if you have something specific!

I think getting the most out of your blog is your best bet. Are you putting up just your own stuff once in a while, or regularly posting general animation resources, finds, musings, etc that you find interesting? Are you sharing your own journey and process? Do you have a project that people can follow and offer help on?

I'm sure there's a lot of people in your position .. I'd find a 'one journeyman animators journey' blog really interesting (I'm one of the too-busy professionals myself!). Good luck!
posted by Erasmouse at 1:04 PM on November 1, 2012

Thanks for the responses so far. matcha action, I'm in Boston.

Erasmouse, it's interesting that you mention it, because I write a huge amount about the process in my paper journal, but almost never blog those observations. Maybe I should be bolder about making those struggles more transparent, even if it means being more vulnerable as a result.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:58 PM on November 1, 2012

Have you checked out hitRECord? They are always looking for contributors - it's a great way to meet other artistic folks.
posted by jacindahb at 1:46 PM on November 2, 2012

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