The following is an excerpt from Professional Storyboarding by Sergio Paez and Anson Jew. This book offers highly illustrative examples of basic storyboarding concepts, as well as sound, career-oriented advice for the new artist. Now, we know you learned how to draw…but here, the authors discuss on getting a job.
Now that you have an awesome portfolio and résumé, you can venture out to find work. This actually might be one of the hardest parts of being a storyboard artist. Finding work is a difficult job in itself not to mention all the preparation it takes to become a storyboard artist. Do not fear competition. Just as writers are unique in their style and approach, so too are storyboard artists. Every artist has a unique approach to solving a visual problem. This is precisely what makes them valuable. The more well-trained story artists there are the better our lives will be from the rich stories they create. Learn from each other and be inspired not by your “competition,” but by your fellow brother in this artistic journey you’ve chosen to take. You may compete for the same jobs with other artists, but that’s no reason to be jealous or bitter. The goal of a “true” artist is growth. A job may offer this, but it’s up to us as individuals to continue our learning. A job may satisfy your bank account, but I have never had a job that satisfies my artistic soul. This is the reason why the brotherhood of artists should be one of support and nurturing. There is plenty of opportunity for us all if we continue to make the best stories possible.
There are a few preparatory things you can do before you begin your search for jobs. Your online presence is as important as your off-line presence. Make sure your social networking accounts are clean and clear of any random details that would discourage a potential employer. Employers do look and search for you online. Keep your online presence as professional and pristine as possible. Clean up those drunken pictures of yourself on Facebook and erase any flame wars you had on blogs and forums.
One thing you need to do, if you haven’t done so already, is to create a website. This should be an online version of your portfolio, with perhaps some expanded pages of other artwork you wouldn’t necessarily put in a storyboard portfolio. There are many low-cost and free alternatives to creating an art portfolio site. In this day and age, no storyboard artist should be without a website. In addition to your website you can create a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile to make connections. Having a website will be the basis of making connections to companies where you can easily email your website URL to potential employers. Be sure to print your email and website URL on your business cards as well. Here are some online resources to create a webpage:
-http://mosaicglobe.com—free artist websites.
-www.foliolink.com—low-cost artist websites.
-www.wordpress.org—free blogging platform.
STARTING THE SEARCH
Begin your search online, and research any animation company or film company you can think of who would use storyboard artists. Craigslist.org is a start, then dig deeper with any contacts you may have and start researching film and animation articles about upcoming projects. Research the companies and find a contact or email for the recruiter or art department. Once you have a contact start by sending an introductory email and ask about upcoming job openings. The next step would be to prepare your portfolio materials and mail a physical package to the company. Check out some of these websites as good resources for storyboard work:
www.StoryboardArt.org—an online community with a storyboard and educational focus.
www.Conceptart.org—a concept art website with a decent job board.
www.Cghub.com—an online community for digital artists.
www.AWN.com—the Animation World Network has great articles and a decent job board.
The single most important thing you can do when looking for storyboard work is networking. The majority of any seasoned artist’s jobs comes from word-of-mouth and past clients. Even if you’re just starting out it’s crucial to reach out and meet the artists and recruiters in the industry and show them your work in person. Start by sending them introductory emails and invite them for a coffee and a chat.
If that doesn’t work, go to the industry events where you know artists and other professionals will be around to ask questions. You may not live near any of the industry events, but if work is important to you save your travel money and plan to be at some of the major events throughout the year to network and meet people. Find a contact on the inside of the company where you want to work and keep in touch with them throughout the year. A word of warning—be cool. There is a fine line between contacting a recruiter and harassing the recruiter over a particular job. Make sure all of your contacts and emails are professional, and you come across as a person who would be a pleasure to work with and not a menace. Here are some common industry events in the United States:
-Comiccon—July in San Diego, California
-Wondercon—March in San Francisco, California or Anaheim, California
-Alternative Press Expo(APE)—October in San Francisco, California
-Creative Talent Expo (CTN)—November in Burbank, California
Also check out these industry groups for networking and industry events:
-ASIFA—the International Animated Film Association
– Directors Guild of America (DGA)
-Producers Guild of America (PGA)
-Visual Effects Society
Excerpt from Professional Storyboarding: Rules of Thumb by Sergio Paez and Anson Jew © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved. Professional Storyboarding can be bought on Amazon, BN.com, or your favorite online retailer.