Another ‘Work for Free’ P.O.V.

Here’s Adrien’s take on whole ‘working for free’ thing. I’m in Hell Week, (so thanks for the post Adrien) and I’ll be back next week after I come up for air. – KJL

(click image to enlarge)

After reading through Karen’s posts on the “Should you work for free?” topic, I feel compelled to give my two cents worth. I agree with what Karen says about this. Don’t get me wrong.

This is just another point of view.

I’ve worked for free many times. The reasons vary. I’ll run through a few of the scenarios.


I love them. But they’re harder to break into than movies, let me tell you. It was my first love. If there’s a club that you’re not allowed to belong to, this would be it. And when I was 8, I was dead set on being a comic book artist, much to my parents chagrin.

I did many, many sample pages ‘on spec’ in order to receive a pile of rejection letters with Spiderman or Superman on the letterhead. But it’s what you have to do in order to break in. I got frustrated by it very quickly and published my own books myself.

When I started at one animation studio in Vancouver, I began as a designer.

My comic book work in the early 90’s (the ones I published myself) got me the job. One thing I like drawing (and most comic artists don’t) is backgrounds, and I like to make them as researched and accurate as possible. So it was the backgrounds in the panels that got me the job.

Read moreAnother ‘Work for Free’ P.O.V.

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on the Right Attitude

This is Adrien’s final post for the series “Getting the J-O-B”. He gives the view for the live-action film industry to follow up my article on The Right Attitude in animation. We’ve covered training, portfolios, professionalism and contacts in the industry. You’ll find the rest of the articles by myself and Adrien at the end of the post. – KJL


Sometimes, it’s really hard to keep up the brave face on a project. Even when it’s a great project, the production can take a real toll on you. Things get behind, you work stupid hours, and you’re not seeing your family. When your little one complains that you aren’t home much, it can be really hard to show up to work with a smile on your face.

There is no quick solution to this one.

And that’s just one example. There are so many things that can go wrong on a movie that can make your life a pure living hell.

I have never really run into anyone who had a particularly bad attitude on a movie. There are so much politics involved in making one, most of us realize that if we spout off crap all day, (especially about how the script sucks) we just won’t be workin’ on it very long.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on the Right Attitude

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry – Part 2: Unions and Film Commissions

Here is Adrien’s follow-up-to-his-follow-up article about contacts in the film industry. Which followed up my article for the animation industry. This is part 4 of a 5 part series of articles about “Getting the J-O-B”. You can find the rest of the articles at the end of this post. – KJL


Don’t take this the wrong way everyone, but if you want to seriously work on Hollywood productions, you have to be where the action is. (Editor’s note: There’s an AWN article on that very thing here. – KJL)

At least for a little bit (I’ll talk more on that later). Unless you’re in LA, Vancouver, New York or Toronto the only way to get on Hollywood productions is to have them come to your city. Of course, to get on them you have to be in the Union.

Here are some steps to take in that direction:

Every community has a film commission. These are the organizations that productions use in order to facilitate a location shoot. All of the resources (and budget needs) that a production requires can be obtained through them. The first thing you need to learn from the film commission is the list of the Film and Technicians Unions that serve in your community.

As a storyboard artist, you need to know this. Once you learn this, go to the Union office (don’t phone) and inquire as to whether the Union includes storyboard artists or illustrators. Don’t be surprised to find they don’t. Sometimes this is the case. If they do represent storyboard artists, then inquire about the process of applying for membership.

Remember, you must be a permittee to work on a Union shoot no matter what city you’re in.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry – Part 2: Unions and Film Commissions

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry

Here’s Adrien’s post to compliment mine on contacts in the industry. He gives the point of view for the live-action film industry. You can find the rest of the articles in this series of “Getting the J-O-B” at the end of the post. – KJL


Contacts in the film industry are indispensable.

Networking is the key. That said, my start in the film business came by being in the right place at the right time. Once I got my foot in the door, having that one film on my resume really opened the rest of the doors for me.

There was still a few years where animation and film overlapped for me, and during those years I pounded the film industry hard to get my name out there. A job only lasts as long as the phone call to you (I can’t even count how many jobs I lost because I was in a movie theatre). I never went to school of any kind, so I never had the jump start on contacts that Karen is talking about.

If you don’t go to school, then you’re on your own. This is where your mettle is truly tested. Your level of success depends 100% on how much you desire the work and how hard you pound that proverbial pavement.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism

Here is Adrien’s final catch-up post for the “Getting the J-O-B” series, adding to my article on Professionalism. You can find our posts on Training here and here. And the posts on Portfolios here and here. (And the pictures have nothing to do with professionalism really…it’s just Adrien’s cool stuff.) – KJL


Storyboarding for film is 80% communication and 20% drawing.

Storyboarding for animation is a lonely, isolating, mentally devastating job, where you can easily lose the charming, amiable personality you once had ‘cuz you haven’t eaten or slept properly in days (especially the last ones at the end of a show).
Editor’s note
: this is currently my life. 🙂 – KJL

In film, you can’t do that. In most cases, you’re working from a studio with 1-5 other storyboard artists. You have to get along for the long 12 hour days that you’ll be there. Most importantly you have be charming and personable when you have impromptu meetings with the director.

Let him direct you. In other words, you are a monkey with a pencil and if he/she could do it herself, they would. Do what you’re told. If they direct you to “cross the line” in the action, point it out politely. There are times when it is OK to do it and it might be a style thing they’re doing. Then again…it might not.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Portfolios

Here’s Adrien’s second post in the series of ‘Getting the J-O-B’. This time he’s adding to my post on Building a Storyboard Portfolio.

It’s a short one, so enjoy his drawings! – KJL


Karen is correct…never have animation boards in your portfolio when showing to a live action client. I’ve tried and it just gets embarrassing.

So, live action storyboards is all that should be in there. Only your latest work. As they say, you’re only as good as your last job. But…maybe your last job was top secret (usually is).

You may show them, but never leave behind a copy and never leave them unattended. Sounds crazy, but a small mistake like this can ruin your career.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Portfolios

The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Training

This is Adrien Van Viersen’s premiere guest post! He’s going to expand on my first article in the series of “Getting the J-O-B” about Training. (In case you don’t know, P.O.V. means point of view.) -KJL

SCC Storyboard Panel 1

I completely agree with Karen on the training aspect. You simply can’t go into animation storyboarding without some training in the field, or at school. I learned storyboarding on the job at an animation studio, first as a clean up artist and then as a revisionist. Only after a year of doing these things was I allowed to tackle a show.

And even then, I wasn’t given a whole show. I was given an act. This way, if I screwed up, the show wouldn’t be in in trouble ‘cuz they’d have my act done at the same time the other acts were being done.

If you want to get into storyboarding animation, but you don’t want to go to school ‘cuz yer a really good drawer, you can do it the way I did and get in by designing backgrounds. Not a bad way to start.

You can then learn all the other aspects of the field through osmosis and study the boards being produced in the office. Then you volunteer to revise them. Nobody WANTS to do this job, so people will look at you like you’re insane.

Read moreThe Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Training