Networking at Animation Festivals

*Excerpt from 2000 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market by Brooke Comer.

Aspiring artists can maximize their chances of getting work, according to Kat Fair, head of recruitment for Nickelodeon Animation Studio, by taking advantage of recruiting opportunities at animation festivals. Fair, who makes the rounds of art schools to recruit new talent, always tells students two things: to keep drawing, and to keep attending festivals. “There are several reasons to go to festivals,” says Fair, “but make sure you go to the right festivals, that is, the ones set up for recruitment. The most important reason to go is to get your work seen by recruiters who are out there looking for you.” She advises artists to make sure the festival they plan to attend has recruitment center and is not just a trade show focusing on selling.

networkingAnimation festivals also give attendees a chance to meet their peers, who are in similar situations and who can share with them tips on the job market, find out who’s hiring, and learn what kind of work different animation studios are doing. Exhibitors can also give artists valuable information on how and when they recruit. “Recruitment centers usually offer a one-on-one meeting which gives artists a chance to make personal contact with a studio and talk about themselves and their work. It’s like a job interview,” says Fair.

There are a variety of festivals around the country, including the World Animation Festival in Pasadena, California, in early January, and the Ottawa Festival in Canada held in September. But dates are subject to change, and Fair recommends getting a complete updated festival list from ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation), which has branches in major cities, or through the animation departments of local art schools. “These festivals are an important resource for anyone interested in breaking into the animation industry.”

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