I get emails all the time by aspiring animation producers asking me how to ‘break-in’ so they can take advantage of this tidal wave of content coming along and work in a flourishing industry.
The most common open jobs that I always see being posted by Titmouse, Bento Box, etc are typically background designers, and if a studio is big enough, prop designers. To get jobs like this, I always recommend artists (even the really talented caricaturists) to send portfolios filled with your drawings of every-day things like chairs, stop signs, your street, cars, etc, because it gets your foot in the door and, in a lot of cases, affluent careers.
Two examples of this came across my desk today. For starters, Adult Swim has posted a video on what it’s like to be prop designers for Rick and Morty. A bunch of these props not only are important, but become the benchmark of numerous merchandise lines which you can see with the creation of such items as Rick’s ship or the plumbus. Animated series thrive on this and is where they can increase their already stout value whence compared to live-action with productions that are usually costlier and less likely to be merchandised.
Case in point, the producers of Netflix’s The Midnight Gospel are teaming up with the Shoe Surgeon to giveaway a pair of Clancy’s shoes! You can go here to see details on how to get your hands on them, but it’s another example of how simple items, swirled with your imagination, can take on a life of their own.
If you’re an aspiring animator, trust me, take this relatively unknown sage piece of advice and RUN to your next gig!