Do I need a degree to get into the animation industry?

  • @carlianne Thanks! I just applied!

  • @Michael-Angelo-Go I worked on a couple of student films, but other than that went right into teaching. Like I said, plans changed for me, I sort of re-prioritized my life.

  • Try looking on the studio websites to see what jobs they have open and what they require. Most want some work experience and portfolio.

  • Maybe you can start out by drawing buildings as background art. Animation has a lot of little specialties in it. None of it is done by one person or one skill. Pixar used to have a lot of behind the scenes info on their site.

  • SVS OG

    Hi! Have you considered being a visual developer instead of being an actual animator. Tho the competition might actually be tougher.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Hmm... do you think it would be less exhausting, but more competitive in order for me to create my own kids show?

  • SVS OG

    @Michael-Angelo-Go i canโ€™t really say. Iโ€™ve never experienced it for myself. Lolz ๐Ÿ˜‚ But one of the illustrators I follow, Anoosha Syed, does character design for animation while also working as an illustrator. Perhaps you can shoot her a message.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz OMG! I've been watching Anoosha Syed too recently! I heard that she's been really BUSY because of her workload and how popular she's become, so I haven't thought of messaging her because she's likely overwhelmed by all her fanmail. But sure. I don't recall her being a showrunner or producer, but I will ask her anyways. It's worth a shot.

    Her style inspired me to make this latest piece in my portfolio!


    I made this a couple of weeks ago. I've been trying to find a style that doesn't require you know a whole lot of detail and shading to make it look a lot more simpler, and focusing on using brushes and textures to compensate for detail. It's pretty flat, but I think it looks pretty industry standard, which is what I was going for.

  • Moderator

    Listen to this: Bancroft brothers podcast, interviewing Netflix animation recruiter, Robin Linn. No you don't, a good portfolio can be enough now a days, and they are actively looking at Instagram and twitter to recruit people. He has also worked for much more than Netflix, it's worth the listen.

  • @Jfbray Oh that's very cool. I did some research on the people that I was talking about, based on @NessIllustration's advice, and while okay a lot of them have worked as writers, a lot of them have also started their careers as animators or storyboard artists before becoming showrunners.

    I'm talking about people like Stephen Hillenburg (Spongebob Squarepants) who first had a degree in Marine Biology and taught at a college. He created Intertidal Zone which later became SponegeBob Squarepants. What I read from his bio is that he went to Cal Arts (a school I'm strongly considering), got his Master's in experimental animation 5 years later, worked with another well known showrunner Joe Murray (then Rocko's Modern Life, also Camp Lazlo) as a storyboard artist, shared his comic with Murray and organized a pitch that became Spongebob.

    Gennedy Tartakovsky is also an alumni of Cal Arts, but only before he moved Chicago to study animation. He made a student film that would become 'Dexter's Laborartory'. Gennedy has a big resume, he not only made Dexter's Laboratory, but also Samurai Jack, the animated version of Clone Wars, and works for (or at least recently) Sony Picture's Animation, and he's still making animation and showrunning.

    He was also one of three very notable alumni studying animation together at Cal Arts together with Craig McCracken who created 'Whoopass Stew' that later would become 'The Powerpuff Girls' and Lauren Faust. McCracken started work as an art director for 2 Stupid Dogs, before he pitched his student film when he worked for Hanna-Barbera.

    Lauren Faust according to my research studied at Cal Arts with Tartakovsky and McCracken. Her bio says she was animator for Turner Feature Animation, then worked as a storyboard artist then screenwriter for Cartoon Network then was promoted to supervising producer and story supervisor. So @carlianne when I said that I thought I might work as a storyboard artist before becoming an animator/showrunner, I made that assumption based on a lot of the fact that the big-name people I am familiar with started out storyboarding before becoming showrunners. I remembered an ad featuring Butch Hartman (showrunner of Fairly Odd Parents) when I was younger trying to explain how an episode is written using storyboards, as a presentation, so I came to the conclusion that's part of a showrunner's job when creating an episode.

    Then there's John L. Dilworth (Courage the Cowardly Dog) who graduated from SVA in New York. Based on my research his background is much different compared to the other animators. So he doesn't have a degree in some variation of animation, but he became a showrunner after he worked on several personal films, one of them was called 'The Chicken from Outer Space'. He didn't pitch it directly to CN, but apparently what happened was Cartoon Network commissioned him to turn the short into a full series. He still does animation, but doesn't seem to be collaborating with any big network at the moment.

    Danny Antonucci went to Sheridan College of Visual Arts but quit to start working as an animator, so Idk if he has a degree, an assocaite's degree, it doesn't say. But he worked for Hanna-Barbera to animate several properties, then he went to MTV to produce his short 'Lupo the Butcher' and short-lived series 'The Brother's Grunt' before creating Ed, Edd n Eddy. It says he wanted to sell it Nickelodeon, but they wanted to obtain all his rights. So Danny went to Cartoon Network and settled on a deal where he was 'commissioned' to make 'Ed, Edd n Eddy' and retained all his rights ๐Ÿ˜ doesn't that make you happy @NessIllustration?

    There's a lot more animators/show producers that I admire and want to breakdown, but I know this is TL;DR.

    So yeah to a degree I agree that writing is very important when pitching a show that you are going to be responsible for running. Good thing I have some decent writing skills, and studying things about story structures like (hero's journey, story archs, rules of thirds, irony, foils, visual irony, etc.) Does that mean I need a degree in film/writing?

    Based on the people I have collected what they mostly have in common is:

    1. They have a degree in animation or went to an art college.
    2. Made a lot of there most well-known work while still in college studying.
    3. Worked for other shows that were generally successful.
    4. Had connections in the industry during college or while working for their respectivenetworks.
    5. Created pitches with Networks they were already affiliated and the rest became history.

    My research could be too simplified, as most of their biographies regarding education is pretty skimmed out. It doesn't really elaborate if there were any serious trials or tribulations (except maybe with Danny Antonucci) but yeah maybe that's the formula to success??? Or part of it?

    Let me know what you all think. I hope this really added to the conversation.

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