New Year's Resolutions for Animators

What should an animator's new year's resolutions be? Animation is a huge and growing business, a far cry from the cottage industry it used to be even twenty years ago. But it is a competitive world, and good animators need to work smart to stay on top of their game. So here's a checklist for some simple ways to maintain your edge.

1. Polish and re-edit your demo reel.

Your demo reel is your shop front, your calling card. It needs to be good, and it should be up to date. Potential clients will judge you on the quality of your reel, so take a hard look at it, weed out mistakes, and polish what is left.

2. Learn a new piece of software.

New software is coming out all the time, and you can never know too much. Whether it's Maya, Max, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Premiere or Final Cut, clients will expect you to know the basics of these packages, or else be able to pick it up fast. The good news is there are free tutorials all over the web to help you get started and learn the basics.

3. Start a website or blog

If you haven't done this already, you need to do it right away. Your reel and any associated art work should be hosted online, at a website or blog, It doesn't really matter which. You can build a free website at Blogger or Wix - try it. You'll be surprised how easy it is.

4. Do a new piece of animation, just for fun

Start something new, perhaps a short piece of dialogue, or a bit of creature work. You could enter the online 11 Second Club competition; it's a great way to get noticed and to polish your skills. We encourage all our students at Animation Apprentice to keep in touch even after they have finished the course, and send us their work for review. We are always happy to take a look and give a critique. We're here to help.

5. Send your reel in to ten studios.

The only way to find work is to keep sending out your reel, and apply for jobs. Keep an eye on the jobs page at, and call your friends in the business. Do they know of anything coming up? Recommendations are the life blood of the industry. Your friends and former colleages can be your best chance of getting a job.