On the off-chance you might want to read something not about sad celebrity deaths, I bring you this.
It’s an interview I did with the fabulous and lovely Anne Denman of Studio B Productions here in Vancouver. We talked about resumes, portfolios and getting hired at an animation studio.
No ‘questions and answers’ really. I just let her go on a roll, so it’s written from her point of view.
I may add a few of my own comments along the way though.
So let’s get to know Anne a little bit, shall we?
I started at International Rocketship as a receptionist for three years which evolved into Production Coordinator. Then after taking a three year hiatus to be a mom, I worked at Vancouver Film School as the program manager in the 2D animation department for eight years.
I was then approached to become the Director of the Student Program of the Platform International Animation Festival, in 2007, for Cartoon Network.
In 2008 I decided to get back into the studio system. After sending a timely email to Studio B’s Blair Peters and Chris Bartleman, I was asked to Head the Recruitment/HR at Studio B Productions. So here I am at a studio I L-O-V-E.
The Resume Stuff: What do you look for in a good resume?
One sheet. Don’t make it difficult to read. No crazy fonts or tiny type. Twelve point type is good because the person reading may be over 40! *ahem*
At the top, put your name and what you do. Or vise versa. Almost better to put the title, then your name because that’s what the recruiter is looking for first…the position. We’re going to be looking for an ‘animator’ or a ‘storyboard artist’ or a ‘character designer’ but rarely a ‘John Smith’.
(Karen’s note: This is really good advice. I recently updated my resume and I think it works great having what I do right at the top.)
At the top should also be your complete contact information.
- Your phone numbers. Make it easy to get hold of you.
- Your email address. It should not be something totally ridiculous. Use your real name whenever possible (or something close to it). In this business your name is your BRAND. Use it.
- Your website (if you have one). And try to use your real name here as well. I don’t know anyone in animation who doesn’t use their name as their website if they are worth any salt. We think it’s obvious, but apparently it’s not.
- Your home address. Don’t be afraid about putting your address. The studio needs to know where you live because for the most part, they want to hire local talent first. If you live here, they want to know that!
Then have a summary section which could include your skills (bullet form is a good idea), objective of what position you want to fill in at the studio and maybe your short term goals for your career. Simple and direct is okay.
The smaller the studio, the more general you can be with your objections. The larger the studio, the more specific you should be with what position you want to fill. They are rarely looking for anyone who “will do anything”. That can work against you.
Then put what you have done in the form of work experience and school experience. The school you attended will not indicate whether you ‘have the goods’ or not. It’s all up to you and your skills, but it’s not a deal breaker.
For the most part, going to a reputable school helps you. But I’ve seen very talented people come out of less reputable schools and vise versa.
It’s possible to be self taught for certain positions, but for animators, school is usually necessary. If you have mentored or studied with someone respected in the industry, tell us. It can help you (so can getting mentored by someone who knows their stuff).
(Karen’s note: Don’t include jobs that have nothing to do with art or the industry. Nobody cares. I briefly mention my graphic design experience at this point because it’s somewhat relevant. But I don’t put that one year I worked at the movie theatre when I was 19. Get my drift?)
References are a good idea too. Include what studio or school, the name of your supervisor/instructor and their phone number or email address if possible (but ask permission from this person first!).
Notify your references by email when you send out your resumes so they are prepared for any inquiries. It will look bad for you if they are caught racking their brain trying to remember who you are.
If you can do a filmography, that’s great. This can be on a separate page. As you gain more experience, the more relevant this will become. This is where a website can also be of benefit.
(Karen’s note: As you can see, I’ve used a two column layout on my resume so everything fits neatly on one page. )
If you don’t have much experience, indicate your student film. Any awards? Festival entries? Other accomplishments that are relevant to the industry? Put it on there.
So here’s a quick resume check list:
- Keep it clean, readable and to one page
- Include your NAME and all contact information
- Be clear on what position you are applying for
- All relevant work experience
- All relevant education
- Filmography (if you have one)
- References with contact information
- Any other relevant info (films, awards, accomplishments etc.)
Thanks for all the great info Anne!
We’ll continue this series next week with some portfolio advice from Anne. Then some good stuff on applying to studios the week after that. Stay tuned!
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