Saturday, June 20, 2015

Animation Tests and Rejection advice.

 Hi , 

Thank you for sending us your information, meeting with us and perform the test. 
We enjoyed reviewing your portfolio and appreciate what you have accomplished in your career.

Upon consideration, we do not think you are a fit for our 3D Animator position at this time. 

We will keep your portfolio in our database for future projects, if you are ok with this. 
And please do not hesitate in contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Sometimes opportunities find you. An animation studio might be in need of help and contact you from a posting you answered years ago. They might have come across your online portfolio and spotted something that is in the same style that they are working on. You might have recently sent a link to your portfolio, they respond and love your work.

Whatever the case, when contacted by a studio, they might ask you to do a test using a character they created to see how well you can animate it. Another studio really love your reel and then requests a test where they want you to create a 30 second piece using elements that they will provide.

The first studio's request is fair, because they want to see how you can animate their character without a lot of direction. The other studio test is a lot more work. If they loved your reel so much, why do they want you to do an entire 30 second commercial as a test? 

When a test is involved, it should benefit both parties and not take a lot of time to accomplish. Here's a test I did using Studio Max, a program I haven't worked with in a long, long time. I was given a rig, downloaded the 30 day version of Studio Max 2016, read the instructions: Animate guy on phone. I loaded up the sound file and off I went.

I wasn't given any advice or guidance how the rig was put together and so, the first half of the day was spent figuring out where everything was. Clicking on the face of the character opened up an area where I found the lip sync and face controls. I did a few tests for myself to see how to animate and move the character. The next part of the day was dealt with listening to the soundtrack and figuring out how to move this character based on his voice.

Its a good idea to mimic and memorize the way the character's speaks. It allows you to take on the persona you are trying to animate and discover the best way to have the character act. This guy sounds like bored teenager who thinks the person on the phone is so stupid and wasting his time. And so, that attitude is in my head as I am blocking out the actions

If this next part sounds a little odd, its because I have had to remove the video which I am referring to...

Its rough and a little too quick in the beginning, but its a start. I notice some extra noises just before he hangs up the phone. I adjust the timing of motions and work on facial expressions...

Again, sorry you can't see what I'm talking about...

And now for something completely different. I had a little idea which I started to work on as a test. I had a rough idea of the action and as I continued with it, I began to add more and more poses. Here's what I came up with which has too many things going on and the joke gets lost. This is where I should have thumbnailed out my idea more and stuck with simplifying the poses. So here's the first test along with the leaner version below...

After viewing this a few times, something was not right. I told an actor friend the idea and he suggested that I get right to the point by having the Caveman pick up the rock, slams it into his face and smile because he has invented the first...

I think I came up with this idea after I got the rejection letter to keep my mind off of it. Looking for a job in Animation, takes a lot of work and determination. Its easy to get down when you can't seem to get the job that you have applied to either online or through a connection.

When a client contacts you, asking your availability and your rate, you need to ask them how long they think the job will be. You also have to give them your rate, but that you are open to negotiation. You need to be a professional and not under bid or over bid your services.

The worst is when they thank you for your info and say they will get back to you and then... Nothing. No text, no email, no phone call...Nothing. At this point, a simple "sorry, we can use you this time, " is better than complete silence. As if the conservation never occurred.

You now are on the tightrope between being a professional or a desperate psycho.
Its ok to give them some time to get back to you, but then you only have one time to contact them to find out if you are still in the running for the job. If you call them and have to leave a message, try calling them back later when they answer their phone. Once you leave that phone message, you can't call them back again. Why? You are entering the psycho zone. If you don't hear anything back, chances are they aren't interested or the job went away. Just don't bug them anymore, its over. If you do, you are now a desperate psycho and chances are you won't be called again if you bug them too much.

Got any Animation job search stories? Want some?

Leave a comment, Follow this blog, Send feedback if any of this helps you. 
Thanks, Jimr

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