Low stress jobs for art school grad
July 17, 2013 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I just graduated from Bath School of Art and Design with a BA in Graphic Communication (mainly graphic design and illustration with some film and animation) and I'm not sure what to do next. I'm not really interested in becoming a graphic designer which is what most of my uni friends are doing. My favourite thing is film and I've been thinking about pursuing film editing or animation, but I'm worried that the film industry might be too high pressure. I'm bipolar and I have social anxiety so I can't handle a lot of stress. What are some relatively low stress careers for an introverted art school grad?
posted by Chenko to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The film industry can be high stress, but there is one caveat related to editing.

Editors and the entire post-production universe live in kind of a different world from the rest of film. Most post stuff happens at actual ongoing companies that are separate from either the studio/production company world or the ad hoc world of principle photography. So you'd be working in an office, hired long-term by a company, and you would have your own whole little environment that you would report to every day. It's not like being, say, a PA on a film set, where you're in a different place every day, surrounded by angry people who are all in a rush.

Post-production also happens on a 24 hour schedule, which means there are people who work the night shift. Those people are usually alone in the office for long hours, mostly doing low-level tasks and minding the shop until that night's footage comes in. At which point I suppose they spring into action, but my only knowledge of this aspect is by being the person delivering the footage. So it all seemed laid back and stress-free from my angle as the harried assistant to the assistant to so-and-so.

If you are thinking more of being a freelance editor for smaller projects, that's another area where things are a little more laid back than the rest of film production. You'd be working on your own, on a freelance basis, probably from home. Editing is still a sought-after skill, so if you're any good you can probably make decent money at it and be somewhat flexible. It's only as high-stress as you make it, because you're the one doing the work. You'd have to be OK at client relations, but assuming you don't work for people who are gigantic assholes it probably wouldn't be that stressful.

If you're the editor of a big project, it's sort of the same, but on a much grander scale. The editor on a feature film is one of the people whose whims you have to cater to. They work weird hours. They ask for strange things. Nobody really bothers them. That would be the top end of the field, but again, it's somewhat a different world than what most people think of when they think of High Pressure Film Industry type stuff.

(Note: I don't know enough about editing -- especially in Britain -- to know if there are jobs, or if you could make a living, or what it takes to get in.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:19 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

The most introverted, stress-averse art school grad I know does design work for an educational publishing company, but it's mostly graphic design, as a contractor.

Educational publishing these days will also likely involve making interactive online activities, which would often require animation skills (which could be something as simple as "Look at the bear! 2+2 = ?" or as difficult as animating chemical reactions). This would probably also require some programming, though you might be able to swing handling the art side while someone else does that.

Come to that, the line between graphic design and animation is growing pretty thin on the web, as everything is expected to have some kind of woo-hoo jQuery animation, even if it's pointless. So you could also get into UI/UX design.
posted by seemoreglass at 11:05 AM on July 17, 2013

I'd recommend editing too. I haven't done it myself but know and have worked with a few. The job is all about being a good, focused communicator in a one-on-one dynamic.

You can try animation but I've found that socially awkward people are at a disadvantage over the long term, especially in bigger workplaces. Still, a big studio is a good place to make friends - there'll be lots of people roughly your age.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:38 PM on July 17, 2013

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