General Question

alyssaerin's avatar

Should I move to California to become an animator?

Asked by alyssaerin (96 points ) October 27th, 2009

I’m thinking about going to graduate school for animation. I’d love to get into 3d animation, storyboarding, or concept art of some sort.

I’ve heard from several people that you pretty much have to live in California to work in animation, but are there other hotbeds of animated creativity elsewhere in the U.S. I could consider moving to?

Winter is my favorite season, and I don’t personally care for summer or enormous cities but I can deal if it lands me a great job. California sounds alright and all but I’d love to have some options. Some places where I can be employed and living comfortably, maybe someplace that gets colorful fall leaves and fluffy white snow during the year.

Thanks :)

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20 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

portland or seattle

Ria777's avatar

you want to ask this on a messageboard where 3D animators congregate.

alyssaerin's avatar

Thanks for the input, everyone :)

jackm's avatar

L.A. is definitely the place for animators. I am sure there are other cities where you could find a job, maybe even easier because of the lack of competition, but LA is the place to be.

delirium's avatar

I’m forwarding this Q to my best friend, who is in school for animation. Perhaps she’ll poke her head in and say something.

delirium's avatar

Sara
10:53
http://www.fluther.com/disc/59432/should-i-move-to-california-to-become-an-animator/

Nat
10:56
that sounds like me. : P
10:56
Catroonnetwork is in Atlanta
10:56
and new york is pretty good for… stuff
10:56
Animation in Canada is booming at the moment
10:57
Sheridan college in canada is like wow super awesome
10:57
it;s liek teh Gobelins of North maerica

Sara
10:57
hahahahahahaha
10:57
Are you going to make me quote you in an answer?

Nat
10:57
?
10:57
you want me to answer?

Sara
10:57
Scroll down to the bottom
10:57
Delirium = me.

Nat
10:57
no, go ahead and quote me
10:57
i’m animating.

Sara
10:57
....facepalm

Nat
10:58
: P
10:58
Also, SCAD has a grad program
10:58
and ACCAD
10:58
Calarts is failing lately i hear

Sara
10:58
That’s depressing

Nat
10:58
yeah. again, it’s rumors
11:01
but the main area is california, yes.

alyssaerin's avatar

a good friend of mine applied for sheridan and was accepted (the tuition was too much for him at the moment so he’s working until next year to raise some funds.) That sounds great, and I’d have a friend to spend time with. I’ve heard great things about SCAD and I have family around Savannah, didn’t think of that when I typed my question… thanks for the great suggestions and wish your friend good luck for me! :D

Response moderated
efritz's avatar

I’m going to school at Minneapolis College of Art and Design at the moment for animation. (it’s Minneapolis, Minnesota.) I don’t think the business is exactly booming, but it’s an option, and Minneapolis is a great place for the arts in general.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have a blog contact who lives in a cabin in the Sierras, and makes a good living as a freelance animator. Perhaps you could look into something like that.

filmfann's avatar

Everyone in California wants to be in the movie business. A lot of 20-somethings want to be animators.
The best way to get in is to make something yourself, and get it seen by someone here. If they like it, they will bring you here.

FutureMemory's avatar

In the 90’s I worked for a company that represented commercial illustrators. Since the artists had us representing them, it didn’t matter where they lived, as long as they could get to a Federal Express office or drop off point.

CMaz's avatar

Do not stereotype the best place to become an animator.
Right where you are is a good start and just might be more lucrative then you think.

Develop and refine your craft. You will find a need for animation no matter where you are or educate people as to why they need it.
Unless you just want to work on high budget projects movies. Then take a number.
You will get your shot in the lime light eventually, but it will be earned, you better be good and you must be mature.
It is about being all you can be, and hopefully making money doing it.

I have worked all over this country in the biz. Made money every where I have been. Have met some of the most talented people in the business from Hollywood California to South Bend Indiana to West Palm Beach Florida.
You just have to look.

alyssaerin's avatar

Thanks ChazMaz for the encouragement and everyone else for their input.

Michigan might not be the worst place, but jobs here are pretty scarce for everyone and I was thinking animation and art would be pretty difficult as well… I’ll just work my hardest and see what I can do about overcoming my location or changing it :)

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

A new movie studio just opened up in Plymouth, MA, and they’ve been hiring a lot of new talent, especially from the area (MassArt, UMass Dartmouth’s art program, etc). So there are definitely more places than California to go for animation. Plus, since so many animators are already in California, you’ll have a lot more competition there. I think everyone here have made some great other suggestions of where to go and what to do.

Vertexgod's avatar

Hey Alyssaerin,
One of the guys who runs this site is a friend and asked me to respond. I’ll say out front that my experience is in the Video Game industry and I haven’t worked at dedicated animation studios, but there’s alot of animation production in games and my degree is in 3D animation, pluss alot of my friends/classmates have gone on to work at IMD, ILM, Dreamworks, Rythm and Hues, etc. so I’ve got a fair sense of the industry.

First off, and this applys to any art job, your only going to have as many options as your portfolio can earn for you. The better the portfolio the more opportunities will open up. When I was applying I looked at lots of schools and checked out the portfolios of the graduating students, at the time the best I could find was Ringling School of Art and Design, so I went there. There are other good schools, just check out the student work, it tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

As for location, not all art jobs are in CA. A lot of them are, but there are lots of game and animation studios in other parts of the country, I’ve worked in Texas, Wisconsin, Boston, and now last I’m in CA. My dedicated animator friends work in other parts of the country as well, Blue Sky is a big one outside CA.

That said I think the biggest thing to keep in mind, if you want to work at a big studio, is that competition is FIERCE. The best jobs get lots of uber-talented people applying and you’ll probably have to work in the industry a few years before you can compete, or go to a really good school and work like crazy on your portfolio. What I mean to say is, you probably don’t get much work as an animator without paying your dues first, for me that meant moving out to anyplace I could get a job for the first 4–5 years (and that after going to art school for 4 years), now with that experience under my belt I have actual options, and I’m in CA because I like CA. But before this it was just “who will hire me? OK I’ll move there”. At least that was my experience trying to work with the best talent I could, if you want to do advertisements or court room visualizations you’ll have alot more options, but wont’ get to do the really cool stuff like character acting in a Digital Movie.

OK there’s my rant, hope it helps, and best of luck :)

YARNLADY's avatar

@Vertexgod Lurve to you and welcome to Fluther

SamIAm's avatar

you should move somewhere because it’s where you want to be.

Bastion's avatar

Don’t move there until you’ve definitely got a place to live, a way to pay for it, and a school to attend. The cost of living in California is truly intimidating and has put many an aspiring artist out on the street. Just something to keep in mind.

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