This young chap wrote the following (edited for brevity and to keep him anonymous).
- Some how I stumbled onto your blog and your writing caught my attention. I enjoy reading what you have to say and the way you present it in a no b.s. manner. I found myself reading from post to post wanting to hear more. I’m not trying to kiss your ass it just seems like to me you have a good grasp of what the animation industry is about. I myself pretend to be in the animation industry with the hope of someday attaining a job at an animation house. I graduated from XYZ SCHOOL in SOME STATE IN THE US with an Associate's degree in animation. Although good at animation I know I’m not great… I’ve came to three realizations since graduation: 1. As much as I would love to be I will probably never be an artist at a major production house. It’s not that I’m a negative person it’s that I’m honest and want to be realistic with myself. 2. I am willing to do anything of any capacity as long as it has something to do with the animation industry. I’d take out the garbage cans of animators if it meant getting a quick glimpse of their screens. And 3. I feel my strengths lye in the project management/production side of things. [specific school information deleted] I have absolutely no idea how these [organizational] skills could relate to the industry, I am not too savvy when it comes to the inner workings of a major production house, so I was hoping you could point me in the direction of a job title that might accommodate my skills.
Dear Young Chap,
It sounds like you might be a candidate for a producing job. However, in order to become a producer, you must first be good at kissing client and boss ass and have no problem with the notion that animators are the bottom of the barrel in society. You have to be slick, a fast talker that controls a conversation to such a degree that the other people cannot get a word in edgewise. Think your typical political personality.
In all seriousness. That is my definition of a bad producer. A good producer understands animation and appreciates the animators and works with them and not against them. They back the team up and are honest about it, never being two faced. I've seen some really great producers in my time that I would be happy to have as friends. But, I've also seen producers that make me sick to my stomach and I curse their name. Unfortunately, those dishonest fast talkers seem to make it farther in the production world. Maybe you could set a new standard.
Your first step may be to get into an animation shop as an assistant to a producer or as a coordinator. But, I really don't have much to offer in the way of suggestions since this is not familiar territory for me. It will take a lot of door knocking and scrubbing toilets to get started. As far as job titles... Coordinator, manager, producing assistant... There are many that you could be a fit for. Take a look at the credits of any major motion picture for some ideas. Another option is to look at help wanted ads on AWN.COM or VFXPRO.COM.
Possible angles for a job... Check with local post production facilities for internship opportunities. If you offer to work for free, someone will probably like to have an extra assistant around.
Being a producer can get you far. You'd be suprised at how producers are treated differently from studio to studio. At DreamWorks for instance, the films are basically creatively run by the producer. They are "producer-driven" films there, instead of "director-driven" films at most other shops.