How to Get and KEEP a Job in animation

For anybody interested in getting a job ( and KEEPING a job) in animation, this tell-it-like-it-is straight-talkin' article is must-reading. It's penned by Steve Hulett, biz rep for the cartoonists' union The Animation Guild, and it appears on the Guild's very informative blog.

Cartoonists Animators Animation Studio
The advice Steve gives is full of street-smart truth (and some salty language) that rings 100% true to my experience in the cartoon factories over the last fourteen years. If you wanna know how to draw cartoons for a living, this advice goes beyond the basics and talks about the stuff that's more important than what goes into your portfolio.

Now, don't skip the opening of Steve's "Getting Started"? article, but the REAL truth starts at about the halfway point with the words:

Assuming your talents are solid, and your work ethic is productive and energetic, there's another thing you need. That thing is not being an annoying a**hole.

...but Steve doesn't use the asterisks.

I used to be totally ignorant about the various goings-on around Cartoon Town, but since the rise of blogs and RSS readers like Google Reader, it's really easy to keep a bird's eye view of what's happening in the world of animation. For those who may care, here's a look at a few of the animation blogs I regularly read:

John K's Blog --
Cartoon Brew --
Animation Nation --
AWN Animation World Network --

It's a lot of stuff to keep track of, but I use the awesome Google Reader to throw most of these website feeds into one convenient bucket. They call it an RSS feed aggregator. Here's what Google Reader looks like on my computer screen each day:

I love the convenience of having all my favorite blogs in one window where I can read the headlines and expand the posts if I want, put stars next to the ones I want to remember, share links with friends, etc. Only one drawback: sometimes you start reading a few articles at lunchtime, and then next thing you know, it's dark out. (Or worse: it's daybreak!)

TAG Blog: "Getting Started"?


tina kugler said...

yes, but how do we get people to send us freelance after moving to wisconsin?
ps. lynda barry says she will be at comicon!

The Dream Hat: Gene Hamm's Musings said...

If you like Steve Hulett's article, you might like my book "How To Get A Job In Animation (And Keep It) published by Heinemann. (Steve was interviewed in my book). It is divided in two parts and covers finding work in Hollywood animation studios and the second part is how to be your own boss as a freelancer.
I have done both, working for big studios like Hanna-Barbera and animating my own feature The Dream Hat (available from
You can buy it from Amazon, directly from Heinemann, or if you buy it on my website, I can autograph it for you.