Asking a teacher who has been in the industry for 10 years is like asking your 50 year old dad for dating advice! In today's dating atmosphere of texting, snapchat and Facebook - a lot of his tips are dated. The same thing can be said for today's job atmosphere, in today's job culture where Social Media such as Facebook, Linked-In are now job finding tools - students need to stay relevant to the newest job finding tactics - many of those tactics I wish to reveal.
There are some things that change, and some fundamental principles that will stay the same. Business Principles will stay the same. Everyone likes a quality product, personalized service and the feeling of a good customer experience. I want to show you how to leverage these business principles and use that to propel your career to greater heights.
Art Eduction can be time consuming and expensive.
I've spent over 11+ years of my life on formal art education. $200,000 for college tuition + expenses. And another ~$15,000 for post college classes. I'm grateful for my professors who have made me into the artist that I am today, but not everyone has the time nor money to pay for that kind of education,
In January 2013, I wrote a blogpost declaring my intention to work in the theme park industry. I only created THREE new portfolio pieces. In July - 7 months LATER - I was already working on my first assignment for one of the largest theme park design firms int he world. And today... in the short time span of LESS THAN 2 years - I've had 8 clients and worked on 16 different projects for waterparks, themes parks, museums and exhibits located in countries of the world including US, Japan, China, Abu Dabi, Canada and Dubai.
What's my secret?
A lot of teachers say that you need to work really hard and spend 12-14 hours a day practicing art. They preach the 10,000 hour rule and just accumulating mileage. I did that - it didn't work for me. I definitely think that there is a simpler and more DIRECT method. Working hard is good, but try combining that work ethic with what I'm about to tell you next...
Art Tuition is not a problem anymore. If you've done your research, you know that you can take classes at CGMW, Animation mentor, schoolism, gum road, free youtube video. - for a FRACTION of what students used to pay for art education. You only spend to spend $500 on an art class (Concept Design Academy), for a class that would normally cost $10,000 (Art Center). You only need to spend $5 on gum road video that would've normally cost $500 for an art class.
The problem students face now is staying focused on their goals. Students need to set out a SPECIFIC goal, and do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal without getting sidetracked.
|Quote from Harold Speed - The practice and science of drawing|
Artists shy away from learning business principles. Here are some negative beliefs about money many artists have (many of my art teachers have directly and/or implicitly taught these things to their students).
Limiting Starving Artists Beliefs
1) Money is bad. The desire to be rich is bad.
2) Businessmen are evil.
3) My purpose is to protect myself and be safe. The world is dangerous and clients try to take advantage of me.
While some art professionals have formed those beliefs from their experiences - it's not really productive to have those beliefs. Very wealthy and successful people see the world differently. I will now provide you with a different perspective on money and business.
Positive Business and Wealth Beliefs
1) Money is good. It's healthy mindset to believe that you can be an artist and also be rich.
2) Businessmen provide value and help people get what they need.
3) My purpose is to help people in the world - and provide good service and products for my customers and clients.
Students who have trouble finding a job, or professional artists who have trouble finding work are often asking the WRONG questions. They are really barking up the wrong tree.
Artist Centric Questions
1) How can I improve MY artistic ability?
2) How can more people see MY work?
While those questions are good for developing your identity as an artist - those questions are more ego-centric and about yourself. These are the questions you should be asking if you want a JOB.
Client Centric Questions
1) Who is THE CLIENT/ MY CUSTOMER?
2) What are THEIR needs?
3) How can I solve THEIR problems, and provide better service?
Once you artist asking business minded
1) Know thy customer
- Your customer - IS your clients or employer. Instead of thinking of thinking of companies such as "Disney" as a potential employer - think of them as your potential customer.
Be a Detective: Companies like Facebook, Target, spend millions of dollars research the identity of their customer/ user demographic. Detectives spend endless night scouring crimes scenes looking for clues of the murder. High school students spend countless hours (and their parents spend $$$) on researching colleges and prepping for SATs. That is the same amount of effort and dedication you need to spend research your company.
Biggest mistake I see artists students make is that they don't bother spending time or effort to know their company and/ industry.
a) You should fully understand the industry you are getting into - whether it is animation, film, games, mobile games, theme parks, comics or illustration. Each of these industry is it's own "country" - you will need to spend time exploring the geography and job climate of each field.
b) Know it's competitors. If your first pick is not hiring (they just don't need talent at the time) - you can also go to their competitors who make a very similar film, games theme park. Some times their lesser known competitors will be more willing to hire.
2) Understand the client's needs
3) Fulfill their needs
In order for you to get where you want to be - you need to know exactly where you are going.
Now before you read this article, I must make a disclaimer what this article does NOT teach. I do not discuss how to...
- become a talented artist
- create good artwork
- develop a great portfolio
- lead a happy lifestyle doing what you love
- make lots of money as an artist
While I have some knowledge about those topics - this article does not address those issues. There are actually plenty of people who are working art jobs - but have very mediocre artwork. While a great portfolio is helpful to getting an art job - that is not the only requirement. This article is about getting your foot in the door. That's it. Ok
1) What is it you exact JOB you want? BE SPECIFIC
You need to be as specific as possible. Right down to the job description. This needs to be a "realistic" job. I'm not saying to "aim low." I'm saying you need to know EXACTLY what the job description is, about how much it pays, who/ when they are hiring, and people are have had the job you desired.
It is not enough to say you want to work in comic books, films, or games. It is not enough to say that you want to work at a specific company - such as "Disney." There are many Disney divisions - such as Media, Parks and Resorts, Walt Disney Studios, Disney Consumer Products, Disney Interactive. And it is not enough to say you want to work as an artist at "Disney Animation." For example, there are many types of artists such as... "Story Artist, Layout, Editorial, Visual Development, Production and Management."
You should be able to find a job description for the job title. For example, here is the job description for a Production Supervisor. Ultimately you want a "realistic" job - which means that you have the job description in your hands and you know the job is real. Also this job should be a job you actually WANT. If you don't actually want the job - your efforts will be wasted. Just shoot high and work towards a job than settling for something that doesn't satisfy you.
2) RESEARCH! Contact people to ask for advice!
Now it's time to find out everything you can about the job position you seek. Do you have the necessary qualifications/ skills about that job? How can you get them? Imagine you a CIA/ detective - and you want to find out everything and anything. Pretend you a jealous ex-boyfriend/ girlfriend - stalking your ex. Or pretend your Batman trying to find out where is the Joker. You should be able to go through all information necessary to make yourself an expert.
- "Research" people on Linked In. You can use Linked In to see people who currently work/ have worked at that company. Contact them directly via Linked In, Facebook or their personal websites. If you google their name - sometimes you can find ways to contact them.
- Use books, movies, online articles, associations, tradeshows, networking events to gather intel.
Based on your research - and the people you talked to is this job what you are looking for? Is it feasible? If not - repeat Step 1 as many times as you need to. Research a different company or job description. The more research you do - the more knowledgable you will be able this industry.
Most artists go through job hunts kind of aimlessly. I'm telling you to fill all your eggs in one basket - and watch that basket. Of course - sometimes it might be good to have 2-3 baskets. But it's always better to have a couple of baskets - than NO baskets at all.
3) Contact people to ask for advice!
- first - you should contact the company to ask for advice. Ask the company/ employees what they are looking for - and what you need to to be apart of their team.
- Based on your research - you should have a handful of people who are working the job you want. Ask them how they got the job! The point here is to be as focused as much as you can. For the moment - stop listening to the advice of youtube channels, teachers, parents, friends, students, colleagues - and directly go to the SOURCE of what you want.
- Meet artist/ professionals at conventions such as WonderCon, Anime Expo, Comic Con, CTN. Follow their blogs/ tumblr/ instagram/ twitter.
- One special tip is to email them directly. You can usually find their emails/ phone numbers on their resumes if they have it. You can even try to friend them on Facebook. You can message people you don't know on Facebook for just $1 (super cheap when you think about it). I've used Facebook messaging to contact the Creative Director of a theme park company to get portfolio feedback before.
- Call them after leaving an email. When people hear your voice - they know you are a real person and not a robot.
- Be professional and develop good relationships with these people. Be courteous and respectful - tell them that you genuinely admire your work before you pick their brain. But also be forward in telling people in what you exactly want. However - be genuine about it. Don't be too fake - know what I'm saying?
- When you email these people, I recommend saying 1) that they are awesome. You like their work. 2) Introduce yourself. 3) What does it take to get a job in that industry? In their opinion - what does the ideal job candidate look like? (You can/ and SHOULD attach your portfolio. But the whole point is not to get a portfolio review. It's to ask them how to get their job - basically. They might look at your portfolio - if it's relevant.)
4) Understand what they need and provide value!
- Earl nightinggale
- Brian tracy
understand their problems/ issues/ deadlines. be able to solve their problems!
Make their days easier. That's the attitude you should have when you go get a job.
Watch these youtube clips.
5) Ask for the job! And ask again - repeatedly!
After you know the exact job you want, you know what exactly what the requirements apply for it! keep creating new work. repeatedly contact the employees. Solicit. Market yourself.
I bought one thing from Banana Republic - and now they email me 5 times a week say they have clothes 40% off. Now emailing 5 times a week is too much - but if you email once 1-2 months with new products, new artwork - and you have the attitude and that you are there to HELP them - your perseverance will be appreciated.