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Getting Started in Storyboarding


This question came in from Twitter today: "How would I go about getting a first storyboarding gig?" I thought I'd put my answer on the blog so others can read it too. Here it is:

When I was starting out I had absolutely no idea how to look for work myself. It ends up being different for everybody. The big thing when I was starting out was to make sure LOTS of people saw my work. This was before the Internet got started, so I was working on my college newspaper, making comics and showing them off at conventions. It was meeting a Ren & Stimpy director at a convention that helped me get my start. He liked my comics, and he told me all about how storyboarding for TV works.

The main thing that helped me get started was that I got my work OUT THERE where people could see it. That's a million times easier to do now than ever before; no publishing costs too get your work see by countless people through blogs and Facebook and Twitter, etc.

Here's a crazy story: last year I came across a guy on Twitter. Never heard of him, never met him, nothing. His avatar looked cool so I clicked on his link. The art on his website was KILLER. So I tweeted and Facebooked about how much I liked this guy's stuff. Just one time. Just as an admirer…nothing to do with work. BTW: the guy is Matias Hannecke and his website is http://mhannecke.blogspot.com/ he's @MatiasHannecke on Twitter

A couple weeks later Matias emailed me out of the blue to thank me for helping him get a job (!). Apparently one of my bosses here at Disney follows my Twitter/Facebook posts, he must have liked what he saw on Matias' website and hired him for a freelance development project. I didn't even know about it. My boss never even mentioned it to me. But because Matias had his (killer) artwork out there, easily accessible, and because he had a social web presence, a huge door was opened up for him.

Some of my local students have found work – lots of work, in fact – by constantly checking listings in craigslist.You can also find out about animation opportunities by having a Twitter account and following users that specialize in talking about animation job listings like http://twitter.com/#!/animationjobs and of course following the storyboarding job announcements on my http://StoryboardSecrets.com/blog blog

Check out this video class that talks a bit more about how to get started putting a storyboard sample together: http://storyboardclass.com/q-and-a/qabonus.html You can build up a portfolio of storyboard work by volunteering to storyboard student films or by finding short-term (probably low-paying) gigs through facebook and local job boards.

It's definitely not easy… You have to be very determined and somewhat thick-skinned to persevere through the storyboarding job-hunting maze. But I've noticed that perseverance and a constant dedication to improving your work goes a long way.

I hope that helps!
–Sherm

4 comments:

Rick Lucey said...

Great info and yes twitter is a great thing to use in this area. I also think I will check out this artist you mentioned. Keep on keeping with your great work and thanks for sharing the great insights. Cheers!

Alejandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alejandra said...

I just got turned down for a gig, feeling super bummed but this easily picked me up. Thanks for being so positive, sir. It honestly helps. Back to the drawing board with new determination!

Sherm Cohen said...

Hi Alejandra -- sorry to hear about the gig, but congrats on picking yourself up again. You're a million miles ahead of everybody else who never even applied or took a test. Press on and enjoy the ride :)