Posts Tagged “internship”

As the owner of an animation studio, I often get asked “What skills do I need to become an animator?”. The world of animation is forever evolving, of course most of it is computer based these days but core skill still comes from the traditional space. Basically if your drawing is a bit rusty, get back down to those life-drawing classes.

Be forever drawing

No matter how well you know a piece of software, drawing should always be number one on the list if you want to be an animator, if you can’t draw you can’t animate, if you can’t draw you can’t build models, if you can’t draw you can’t design backgrounds etc., etc.

To be a good animator you must understand shape and form, and you only get that from drawing. Make sure you ask people to critic you drawings too, and be willing to accept feedback, it can be hard to take on, but you always need to be practising and improving.


(side note: stay away from copying Manga style drawings!)

This book is great at showing you how to break down shapes that create (super) human form: How to Draw Comics the “Marvel” Way by Stan Lee

Acting up

One of the strangest things I had to do in my first proper animation job, was acting out my scenes, even though I had spent previous years studying drama and doing formal drama exams (LAMDA), it still felt weird. You don’t need to go that far, but understanding how humans and animals move is key to being a good animator.

You will hear a lot of talk about ‘timing’, that’s the bit where there maybe a pause then a fast piece of action, a stare and then a reaction, a recoil and then throw, all of these have been well observed by the animators that created them. I used to watch films and then view them back frame-by-frame, to see how it was all broken down. Have a look for yourself and see how far you can push your style.

The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams and Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair are great starter books.

Know what you want to do

In the world of animation there are many types of jobs, you may want to think about specialising, but also think about being a generalist. There is a place in the industry for both types, but if you specialise make sure that your job has longevity and always keep up with trends. You will also want to think about whether you prefer 2D or 3D animation, or indeed both. Go networking, talk to other animators about what they do to get a feel of the types of jobs there are.

I believe there is no ‘fast-track’ into the industry it’s all about, practice, and more practice! Trust me, by doing that you’ll get there.

Festivus over on Facebook, host regualr animator meet-ups in London:

Future thinking VR/ Unity

As mentioned above, future thinking is key. One of the biggest upsets in the animation in the last 10 years was the death of Flash. Many animators loved the application (and still do) but its place in the new online space was doomed. Flash was extremely vulnerable from a security perspective, and took up quite a lot of processing power it had to go.

The digital world is a wide open space now, and animation plays a key part in content creation, especially considering new channels such as virtual reality, augmented reality and holograms (watch this space!). If you are thinking about going into this area, do consider leaning more around coding, using apps such as Unity or Unreal.

I hope those little snippets help, feel free to contact me via the channels below…

Written by Jamie Denham
Managing Director of Sliced Bread Animation
@3djamie on Twitter
@slicedbreadanim on Twitter
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Sliced Bread Animation produces high-impact, bespoke immersive experiences for marketing, corporate communications and e-learning, including virtual reality and augmented reality projects. Our work has won many awards for both us, and our clients.

We have an unrivalled reputation for offering complete and seamless project management, partnering with clients to create innovative, original multi-platform digital content strategies. We transform messages into compelling stories that captivates target audiences. So whether clients are looking to increase sales, develop brand awareness, or reach out to employees, we work hard to get the results they want.

We create games, apps, animation, explainer, films, infographics and illustrated content for education, marketing and internal communications that push the boundaries of technology and design, whilst working seamlessly across all platforms.

To find more perfect gadgets and accessories for your virtual businesses, check out Instash

Many aspiring animators have found me online or have been sent my way by someone who knows me in hopes to offer some guidance for breaking into the animation industry. This includes snagging an internship. Before I share several tips and pointers, I would like to add one more piece of advice that might seem a little unrelated but can be life-saving. If you are still a college student looking for an internship, make sure you also have a professional and reliable essay writer online to go to. Delegating some of your less important assignments can save you a significant amount of time and energy, which you can dedicate to the internship instead. Recently, a student who was in this very position was sent my way by a professor of hers, who I’ve worked with here at Disney. The student sent me her portfolio, cover letter and resume, and asked for any help at all. (I love people like this because their ambition and openness will take them far!) Anyway, here are a few pointers I typically like to give for cover letters, as they are often over looked, or not considered at all:

The first thing is, make sure to do your research. Don’t start out this very important letter with something like “dear recruiter”. That’s not his/her name. Find out who the recruiter is, and address the letter properly. This will get you much further in your pursuit and put you ahead of other people who didn’t care to take the time for something so simple, but very powerful. Think about it: if you had to choose a few people to hire for your business out of HUNDREDS of applications, which ones seem to show that they have attention for detail and motivation to go the extra step or two?

Secondly, do your research and find out what the internship is all about. For example, a union studio internship is much different than a non-union studio internship. Interning at Titmouse will be a much different experience than interning at Nickelodeon. Do you know anything about either internship? Have you looked them up online, or asked past interns about their experience? Don’t applying for something that doesn’t exist — meaning if the internship you’re applying for is for production positions ONLY, do not apply asking for an artistic position! Your application may end up in the trash faster than it took you to write your cover letter. (**Side note: this is an excellent way of being transparent in your laziness. It will be painfully obvious you wrote one letter for multiple studios and just changed the studio name on each letter.)

Next, a good way to start usually is with something kind of personal and surprising. Maybe talk about why the internship is so important to you. Maybe talk about what it could do for you in your life. For example, maybe talk about how it’s important to you as a single mom to show your daughter how important it is to go after your dream no matter the circumstances. (The only thing there is to be careful not to word it in a way that feels like you’re shooting a guilt trip.) Here’s another completely different example of a cover letter I helped someone write, who did get her internship! Try to see how’s she’s making good points and making it personal:

“​My name is Courtney M_____ and I am very interested in your internship program.  The entertainment industry has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid, and I am actively looking to become more involved.  Though I’m mostly prominent in performing, casting has become a huge interest of mine.  I find it fascinating the way a casting director has the ability to put the right group of people together to create the right dynamic for a show, and I find this is especially true in the world of animation.”

My last suggestion is to add a little nugget or two to your letter so it feels more specific to the studio in which you are applying. You want to make them feel like you want that internship more than anything. Don’t simply just say that though. No one likes insincerity, and people can smell it a mile away. The way to do it, rather, is to make your letter feel like you’re writing it to your specific studio, rather than feeling like the word “Dreamworks” could be taken out and substituted with any other studio name. Maybe it’s not a huge deal, but when recruiters look through hundreds of applications, they’d rather choose you, who Disney (or whatever studio), specifically means something rather than being “just another internship”.

Hope this helps!


Disney Storyboard Artist

Creator/Host of The Animation Network podcast

The goal of The Animation Network podcast is to excite and inspire people interested in animation, answer burning questions specifically about TV animation, and share a colorful spectrum of experiences that lead industry pros to where they are today!

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