#76 09-07-2010 7:44 pm

robcat2075
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Re: Too many animators?

Frankie V wrote:

Take away the hardware and software we have no means to apply our art form with in that media unlike the other occupations that were mentioned where technology is only a means to an end and extension of their craft.

CG animation isn't unique that way.

Take away the movie camera and how far does the movie actor get?  He can't apply that art without the camera technology.

He'd adjust and become a stage actor, you say?

OK, but then we have to admit that a CG animator sans computer could adjust to 2D hand drawn animation (as many 2D animators have done the opposite.)   That technology is not the sole basis of that art.

The CG animation paradigm hasn't changed much in the last 15 years.  You pose your poses and you key your keyframes.

There is nothing about CG animation that naturally makes someone who has been doing it for 5 years less able than someone who's just started.

The only reason we're seeing this distortion of new animators being scooped up over older ones is that a surplus of them has been created and they willingly work for less than the older ones can.

Animation may be the "Logan's Run" of careers.  Free pizza when you're 20, off to the incinerator when you're 30?


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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#77 09-07-2010 10:38 pm

Bugaloo
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Re: Too many animators?

aja wrote:

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not super-bleak, there are lots of great jobs in this industry, and a lot of the "best job ever!" stuff is true.  This totally beats all the jobs I had before animation, and that's including a summer internship at Apple.  However, there's definitely a trend towards younger, cheaper hires, and we all need to remember that we're not going to be 24 years old for our entire lives, and hopefully also not single and transient.  We need to make sure that we make this an industry that we can all grow into, that there are jobs for the 40 year old family guys just as much as there are for the fresh out of school guys.  It can be hard to see things that way when you're young, but it's worth the effort if you want to have a career that lasts more than 5 years.

blah blah blah, don't I have work to do?  ooh, and it's hot dog party day!  wooooo, free hot dogs!  big_smile

This is sooooo true...especially in the game industry! I worked in that industry for 7 years and the quality life really became an issue. My current wife left twice when we were just dating to other cities cause I could not put in the time for her due to my job. Did I love animating in the game industry? Hell yes! Did I like the low pay, long hours, and constant poor time management? No! I still crave to go back into the industry cause I love games and animation but now I have a son, wife, and house to worry about. I can't be that talented 20 year old animator with no responsibilities these days. My current job allows me to work in 3D but not in animation. I do the regular 9-5 day and get home to spend time with the family. I don't have to worry about what the next job will be and I can focus on 11 second club since I have more personal time smile

But Aja has a big point and it's one that really annoys me and I don't see the cycle breaking anytime soon.

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#78 09-07-2010 10:53 pm

aja
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Re: Too many animators?

Well, one good start to turning this trend around (and it's not like it's 100%, there are studios out there that have a good work/life balance and a broad range of ages) is for the fresh-out-of-school no-responsibilities animators to be aware of it as an issue.  It's pretty common for guys to come in with the attitude that they're such hot stuff, they could probably just animate the whole darn film/ad/game if the director would just give them more work, and that the older family guys who want to leave at 6 are lazy and old-fashioned.  If these younger guys could be more aware of the fact that they're going to be 10 years older before they know it, it would help them approach the pay/time issues from a perspective that'd be more helpful to them as they get older and take on more responsibilities outside work.

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#79 09-08-2010 7:42 am

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Re: Too many animators?

Well there's still one thing the youngsters will never have compared to the old timers is experience. I mean animation isn't only about raw animating talent, it's also about teamwork and HUMILITY. An animator who can't cope with critic and retakes is a pain in the *%$§!. And that's often gained with experience.

So I guess the studios just have to realize (and some have, thank god), that it's not just about getting the best possible at the cheapest price. What seems like a money saver in the short term can end up sinking the whole project...

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#80 09-11-2010 10:56 am

Tartaros
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Re: Too many animators?

to add on to toutouffe's post,

animation is a continuous learning process. However long you work in animation be it 10 years or 50 years, there is always something new to learn. Therefore, it makes sense that the older, more experienced animators will be better than the inexperienced 20 year olds (myself included). There is a reason why pixar makes blockbuster after blockbuster. They keep basically the same team on every project that they do.


Portfolio: jamesdemoreel.blogspot.com

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#81 09-16-2010 12:30 am

franko
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Re: Too many animators?

Too many animators? No.

There will never be enough explorers to make all the discoveries of the human imagination.

Animation is interesting. It gives so much, if it is studied and performed well, and the animator maintains a sense of curiosity. Veteran animators I hear from always say they are still learning.

Then I see that the discussion in this thread is about jobs and work anf "life". That is life as stipulated by some messed up reality.

I am a recent animation school graduate. My experience is that I have a job that is not in the animation industry. The same one I had while I was a student. I enjoy that job. It feeds my life experience and makes me a better animator, I hope. I have 2 jobs actually. And I animate. And I've just started to study animation again (iAnimate). One job is not animation related. The other, lower paying job is animation related and is very important because it means I have a fingernail hold in the "industry". The importance is that I feel I am an animator and animators congegrate in the animation industry. When I am among animators it feels like the correct place for my being to be. I am married (not to an animator, and not to a merchant banker (see later comments), just to someone who doesn't mind that I am an animator), have a shared mortgage, medical insurance, a surfboard and a vegetable garden. Ideally the being paid well to animate would fulfil the time management requirements better for my life. However, being an animator, is not directly linked to having a job as an animator. In my view. You can be an animator without being paid as one.

In terms of supporting oneself as an animator and if one wishes to marry, if that is a life goal, I would suggest to marry an independently wealthy partner, who doesn't have to rely on your animation income. Let's face it, animators are extremely attractive and funny people. There are merchant bankers all over the place just waiting for us to propose marriage.

Maybe the initial question should be phrased, "Animation career expectation levels set too high?"

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#82 09-16-2010 1:21 am

TonyChau
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Re: Too many animators?

Haha franko.  So basically what should be in an animator's planning book:  Get a Sugar momma / daddy.

smile

I found this thread to be a very interesting read and I'd probably put myself in that "about to come out of school and eager to animate" pool.  I mean I've only just started AM, but judging by how fast this last term has flown by I'll be tackling these issues probably sooner than I'm prepared for.  Just wanna extend my thanks for the really great insight.

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#83 09-18-2010 5:30 am

jm82792
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Re: Too many animators?

I have been perplexed the prospect of being an animator for about a year or so.
I've fiddled with 3D for about 4 years on and off, now I'm 18 and almost(3 months) have my associates of business degree.
So far I don't have much to show since it's been messing around.
(I've experimented and learned, improved etc most 3D "skills" to some point).
However I am hoping to enter into this months challenge and to continue to keep the idea of being an animator on the back burner since I could theoretically get by bachelors by the time I'm 20 or so,
another degree for what I "truly" want won't kill me.
The prospective that I see from reading/skimming this thread and some research is that pay,
job availability and such are not very good, and the career of an animator doesn't seem to easily develop in the area of a stable job or better pay.

I really like the idea of being an animator,
I enjoy 3D work in general. However I am not good enough to be a modeler.
I'm not good at texturing or image manipulation(like GIMP),
coding isn't my thing, rigging isn't what I want..........
You get the idea smile

So I'm continuing the idea of going for business and seeing what other options I have.

Last edited by jm82792 (09-18-2010 5:31 am)

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#84 09-19-2010 12:25 am

robcat2075
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Re: Too many animators?

On a related note, it appears several companies may have been colluding to suppress competition for workers

http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/ … usion.html


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
I'm a 2D Wannabe...  drawings and 2D animation tests

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#85 09-19-2010 12:55 am

TonyChau
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Re: Too many animators?

Interesting article and the Pixar name tagged there was shocking to begin with.  But after reading the actual article it seemed (at least for some of the companies) less like "Bwuahaha we're gonna get rich off their hardwork" and more like "We have to agree not to blatantly lure workers from one side to the other".  It has it's side effects too and I'm sure it's contributed to folks not getting extra pay they might deserve.  I'm sure there's truths to it but it might also not be as bad as the blogs make it out to be.   I may be too green and hopeful at this stage though... smile

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#86 09-19-2010 2:13 am

robcat2075
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Re: Too many animators?

TonyChau wrote:

But after reading the actual article it seemed (at least for some of the companies) less like "Bwuahaha we're gonna get rich off their hardwork" and more like "We have to agree not to blatantly lure workers from one side to the other".

I suspect it is completely about money and zero about one company wishing to not breach unwritten rules of etiquette with another.

I'm surprised they have to agree to not poach.  I'm surprised there are still positions that they don't have a surplus of candidates for.


But it's not clear this is truly illegal.   What would an analogy be for non-labor resource that businesses compete for?


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
I'm a 2D Wannabe...  drawings and 2D animation tests

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#87 09-19-2010 2:24 am

franko
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Re: Too many animators?

TonyChau wrote:

Haha franko.  So basically what should be in an animator's planning book:  Get a Sugar momma / daddy.

smile

...

Yes

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#88 09-19-2010 2:39 am

TonyChau
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Re: Too many animators?

Well as I'm sure some of those cases are all about the cash, some have already been dropped so at least on some level not all of them are trying to cheat their workers.  Again I could be wrong about this - I'm not a working animator by any means - but I think when someone stays at a studio for a decade and grows with it, having them snatched or "cold-called" by another company doesn't feel really great. 

The argument here is that cold-calling is totally fine.  I don't see why being upfront about it would be much different.  If being upfront causes the worker in question to be stuck in limbo because the companies are in cahoots then that's a different story.

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#89 09-19-2010 6:46 am

jason108
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Re: Too many animators?

Before this big 3d craze things were different. It was harder to get in to animation schools because you had to be able to draw well to get in. I went to sheridan college for Illustration(14 years ago) and I saw the competition for my program and the animation program. 3000 applicates and 150 get in. There was really only one school for animation then in Canada.

Then when graduates did get animation jobs like at Disney they started at the bottom doing inbetweens or some clean up. Then years later then may get to animate a scene. Getting paid and learning.

Now as fair as I can tell it's about the demo reel. Companies get hundreds of demo reels sent to them. You good you start animating at the company, no real work through the ranks kinda thing like with 2d because 3d animators do all the work they don't have assistance. They expect you to start animating right away.

Animation takes 10 years to get good. If someone does get a job out of college as an animator they're probably older with 5 or six years of experience before college.

Before with 2d you got paid to learn animation by doing clean up of good animators. Now you don't get paid to learn.

Volunteer or do want ever you can to animate full time. Even if you get no money you get experience and an opportunity to learn from pros, build relationships etc.

You skills are more valuable then some paper then keeps losing value.

No one sees it from the employers view. Employing someone is a pain in the ass. They have to train you and carry all the burden. If an employer is willing to support you with food, shelter, shower do it, and feel dam lucky cause you ain't worth it. They're taking a big risk with you and usually they lose money on guys like you, newbies.

The person who said they'd work for a place to stay and food is smart he'll make it. He's getting skills and experience that's worth more then money. The Dumb people don't get that.

Don't expect to make much money until you've been working full time for 5 years at least. You learn and develop real skills on the job not at school. Start working for free or what ever it takes to be able to animate full time or you'll never make it.

If not enough money scares you away, good, it's called trimming the fat. Sink or swim.

Good animators are employed, bad ones aren't. Good animators have been doing it for 10 years bad ones less then 10 years. Pay your dos, don't be a spoiled brat demanding more or telling mommy  . . .

Last edited by jason108 (09-19-2010 7:37 am)

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#90 09-19-2010 3:01 pm

robcat2075
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Re: Too many animators?

Is there any other occupation where employers being able to contact you and offer you a higher paying job makes you a "spoiled brat"?

Besides professional basketball?

I agree that the old "work your way up" scenario seems to be gone but I don't think it's the animators who destroyed that.  The film makers have devised a pipeline that thrives on fairly disposable novices.


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
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#91 09-19-2010 5:36 pm

aja
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Re: Too many animators?

Jason, I strongly disagree.  If people entering the industry today do it with that sort of masochistic "I'm lucky to be abused by these companies" attitude, all they're going to find at the end of their 5 years is a pink slip and a replacement, not a suddenly high-paying, non-abusive career.  Young animators don't need to come in demanding fantastic pay and CEO-level benefits, there still has to be a ladder to climb, but the "work for free for years if that's what it takes" attitude doesn't help ANYONE but the handful of people at the top profiting from that sort of thinking.

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#92 09-19-2010 6:18 pm

jason108
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Re: Too many animators?

$$$$ is all you guys are seeing. Not the big picture. Your skills are worth more then money. "abuse" give me a break. That's what I mean by "spoiled". Lazy Westerns. Go to the Philipeans for a week and you'll have a whole new perspective mate.

There's false High self-esteem plague in American thanks to our so-called education system. False worth. Employees are forced to be tougher with the newbies because no one has disciplined these kids. If you don't have profressional skills that the company can use then you ain't worth anything to the company. To get professional skills you need experience. You only get experience by working for a company. So feel very fortunate that these companies are willing to let you inside even though you're not worth anything to the company.

I'm talking real world stuff here not, oh it should be like this because that's what I think. I don't think this, I've observed this, it's not my opinion it's reality.

You think you can run a better company the do it. You'll see what I'm talking about.

Boohoo there's no work. Boohoo my job doesn't pay me enough. Boohoo I'm not getting the respect I deserve.

School is fantasy land. Employment is reality.

Employers pay with more then money, they pay with experience, time, energy and food, shelter etc. But all you see is $$$$$. It's like the kid that complains that he has to cut the lawn once a week, as he cutting the grass murmuring "gotta cut the grass he doesn't respect me, what's my dad given me, nothing, I'm going to sue him for child abuse . . . ."

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#93 09-19-2010 6:38 pm

Cyrael
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Re: Too many animators?

Wanting to provide for yourself and your family because you have a skill which is worth something is being spoiled and lazy?

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#94 09-19-2010 7:25 pm

TonyChau
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Re: Too many animators?

It's a mixed bag though really.  You have some people finding work who demand a bit too much, but there's also situations like the animators working on the Naruto series in Japan.  Widely popular franchise and their animators get paid 10k US a year working roughly 90-100 hours a week via this article:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-j … 6983.story

This particular animator had that mindset of just work hard and get the experience no matter the pay and look where they ended up.  If you're working 90-100 hours a week you can't possibly have time to work another job just to survive, quantity over quality means you aren't improving, all energy is sapped, all pay is put towards food / shelter (and it isn't even enough), and if you get injured on the job they toss you out.  That seems like the right situation to use the word abuse.

That's an extreme case of course and there's a lot of middle ground, but it does exist!

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#95 09-19-2010 7:28 pm

aja
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Re: Too many animators?

I call shenanigans!  I think you're just trying to stir up the pot here, Mr. Jason.  smile

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#96 09-19-2010 11:32 pm

Frankie V
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Re: Too many animators?

Back to the idea of the person who gets replaced by someone willing to work cheaper after ten years I have to ask why after ten years is this person not more valuable to the company they are working for?

Should someone expect to make more based on a skill level that can be preformed by a first year animator based on the only reasoning that they been doing it for ten years?

It’s a sad fact that there are no patrons of the art in business and if all you can do or willing to do over the past ten years is animate then that’s a choice made to put one self in harms way considering the nature of the beast.

They may only want a job animating but there is always someone else who’s job it is to trim the bottom line.

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#97 09-20-2010 12:53 am

robcat2075
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Re: Too many animators?

Jason, if your theory of how it works is correct your attitude will put you ahead of the rest of us.  When you hit the big time, let us know so we can follow how it works.


Frankie V wrote:

Back to the idea of the person who gets replaced by someone willing to work cheaper after ten years I have to ask why after ten years is this person not more valuable to the company they are working for?

My theory... the product is easy enough to make that 10 years of experience doesn't bring much that the producer needs.

Consider that after a year and  half (most) AnimationMentor students can do credible character animation if they have adequate supervision.  That's really about all an animation pipeline needs.  Why pay more for a 10 year veteran when there's nothing extra he does that you really need?  The supervision cost won't be much less because even veterans need to be watched just to make sure the project isn't going off the rails somewhere.

Now, story department... layout... lighting... 10 year veterans may be more valuable in those endeavors but in-the-trenches-do-the-shot-you're-assigned CG character animators... the schools have figured out how to make those in great quantities.


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
The world's most beloved Heavy Push
This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
I'm a 2D Wannabe...  drawings and 2D animation tests

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#98 09-20-2010 1:19 am

Steve Orsini
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Re: Too many animators?

aja wrote:

I call shenanigans!  I think you're just trying to stir up the pot here, Mr. Jason.  smile

not to kiss the admin's feet or anything, but you are patient beyond your years, aja. hahah

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#99 09-20-2010 7:14 am

jason108
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Re: Too many animators?

Sorry if I've offended anyone. I'm not attacking you personally just your attitude. The attitude of I deserve more. It's a bottomless pit, "I deserve more". It doesn't do anyone any good.

My point of writing is to encourage the attitude of I'll work for free to get experience. Experience is money for those of you that don't respond to much else but money. First we get paid with experience and time from superiors in exchange for our service. We serve them they serve us. The more an employer has to deal with us, which is usually because we don't have experience, the more he paying us with his time. When he can give us and scene and only has to deal with us a little if any then we're not taking his time so he can give us money cause we didn't spend much doing the shot, money, time, energy it's all the same thing.

I'd rather get amazing experience then amazing $$$. If I wanted amazing money I'd be a business man not an artist.

Whats school? We pay someone to give us time and energy.

Couldn't a company be a school too? It is. We pay them with our time and energy, experience, skills etc. They pay us with money or time. Less time means more money, more money means less time.

Am I making any sense? Do you see why I see nothing wrong with "working for free"? It's not free really, just in terms of $$$.

You'll get your money when you're worth it. You'll be worth it when you have experience.

Focus on your skills not starting unions to gain power. Your power is your skill. Unions come and go your skills won't.

Pay your dos not the Mafia . . . stirring . . . haha come on it's fun to argue it helps us define our arguments.

Thanks your comments it's nice to read your fellow artists thoughts. I appreciate your association and this forum. It's hard to communicate with words that's why I'm an animator. When will the video forums come out? Oh yeah youtube. Maybe I like typing cause I can be an jerk more easily? I am the meanest on forums, hmm . . . reflecting.

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#100 09-20-2010 7:14 am

keithlango
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Re: Too many animators?

I have no idea if this is interesting to folks, but I've never read this process described anywhere else so I'll offer it up here....

I've had to assemble an animation crew on more than one occasion. Here's how I (and many others who've shared this responsibility) approach it:
No budget exists that will allow you to build a team of 100% 15yr+ pros to get your film done. Every animator on a film needs to contribute footage, but not all footage is created equal. Many shots frankly don't need a superstar, and other shots can't be done by anybody less than amazing. You build your team in sections accordingly. The percentages may fluctuate some, but in general here's how you build a team, going from most expensive to least expensive team members--

First you try to find a few top of the line killer animators (most lower budget films can't afford or attract these guys, though). These are not necessarily famous or well known animators, either. A lot of amazing animators aren't internet superstars. But these people are so good they need no hand holding and next to zero creative supervision. Almost every shot they do comes back beyond good- it's fantastic. Their choices and execution are sterling. These guys often have 15 or more years, but not always. If you can get two or three of these kinds of animators you're in good shape because the toughest, most important scenes can get done for your film. It's terrible feeling to have a scene in your project and to look at your roster and not know if anybody could nail it 100%. Next, you get your solid senior level people. Try to build at least 20-30% of your team out of these guys if you can afford it. Some of these will end up being your team's leads and supervisors. These are pro's pros. Good footage, decent quality, low headaches. They know their jobs and do them. They're not superstars, but they don't drop the ball either. No bad shots, lots of good shots and occasionally they nail a shot so sweetly that you just smile. Typically 7-10+ years experience, but a lot of career animators with 15-20 years or more live in this space, too. (they've settled into their careers and survived even if they never rise to the level of an Eric Goldberg). If in this senior level group you can find one or two footage beasts then you're very happy. A footage beast is an animator who can literally go twice as fast as the average animator on the team and give you footage that is still equal in quality to your average team member. Guys like that are a Godsend, especially toward the end of production. When you can get 9-10 seconds of film quality animation per week out of a guy you are a happy, happy anim director. Then you try to get about 30-35% of your team made up from young pros. Often they'll have 3-5 years of character anim experience with at least one film-like project under their belt.  Even if they've been in CG or the anim biz for longer they've only got these 3-5 yrs doing character animation fulltime. They are experienced enough to rely on (mostly), but not experienced enough to always give you top rate performances or full footage quotas. If you're lucky in general they will be decent, but they are still developing their skills and workflow. Occasionally you'll get one who is dropping the ball on a shot and the shot needs to be re-assigned. Sometimes they'll miss a deadline or deliver a merely acceptable shot. On the rare occasion they give you something inspired, but they have a hard time repeating that success regularly. These are your meat and potatoes guys- a big portion of a film's footage gets done with these guys. Sadly this is often the highest point a LOT of animators reach in their careers. They end up with a few credits to their name but as time goes by they can't compete and they filter out of the animation biz. This is the group that churns the most. Some stick and make it to the senior level, a lot of others don't. OK, then to fill in the remainder of your staff you look for junior level people. Fresh graduates, people making their first jump into film from games or commercials, background or technical animators (people to do things like prop or set animation, crowd scenes, etc.). These people do the stuff that don't require top level talent or skill. It's a waste of resources to put a superstar animator doing a shot of a cart rolling down a hill or an object falling over (for example).

Just as no professional sports team can afford to hire only all-pro superstars, no animation team can, either. Plus the typical film has 1200-1400 shots. Only a few of those need superstars. A lot of them need good senior pros. The bulk of them need only adequate work and the rest are so rudimentary in nature that it's a waste to have anybody but a junior level person doing the work. And yes, this is the way it works everywhere. The only significant difference between one studio or the next is the percentages and the relative skills of the juniors.

So what does this mean for you and your career? Pretty simple: climb the ladder I've just described. If you want to have a decent career for longer than a few projects then you'll need to rise into that senior level group at the minimum. If you can be a footage beast that's a huge bonus. If you can expand your skillset into other disciplines like rigging that's even better. If you can handle complex action scenes and subtle action scenes with equal ability then you're good to go. Once in that senior group you can decide if you want to move into more managerial positions like lead, supervisor, animation director, etc. Those managerial positions can be fairly fluid, too. Move into and out of them as you or the studio needs/desires. The occasional few move on to superstar animator status or become directors (but being a director is often more a political skill than an animation one). Of course many people cross over into other aspects of the biz, but by then they're not really animators anymore- they used animation as a bridge to something else. Which is also completely viable. Competition is always fiercest at the bottom levels, but that doesn't mean it gets easy later on.

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