Freshman in college Steven wrote to me to express his apprehension to going into animation as a career. His parents are afraid he might end up homeless. I tried writing him back, but there was a mail delivery failure. So hopefully Steven, you are reading this reply.
Like I said in my last post, Available jobs in animation go in cycles. But I know many many artists who have made a very good living at it for a long time now. And I don’t know any who are homeless.
If you are good at what you do, are a hard worker, and don’t get caught up in the office gossip or politics, you will do fine. Being as well rounded as possible always helps your chances. Knowing how to write, do gags,, design,, and a knowledge of computer animation will be helpful. But remember that computers only do what you tell them to
do. You still need a drawing and animation skill set, and you will do fine.
The jobs at times are not consistent, but they usually pay well enough that if you save, you will be fine during the breaks. I always stress frugality in a life in the arts. Those of us who choose a life in art over all of the latest gadgets and fads. Just be smart and make conscious choices.
I also want to pass along this optimistic bit I found in December’s Entrepreneur Magazine about how the economy and lay offs have sparked more artists to leave the non-passion jobs ( by choice or asked to leave) and pursue the artist life they have been waiting to do. But also that business has opened up more room for more creative jobs.
“According to Auburn Associates, there are 6 million creative jobs in the US, including self employed and salaried. Independent artists, writers and performers account for more than a million jobs, a figure that has increased 15% in the “great recession”. A 26 percent lift in photography, 29,000 more graphic designers and an 11 percent increase in filmmakers,, all proof that the 2000′s have been a decade of living creatively.”
And yes they are making money. The average creative salary in the US is $51,488. a year, not including benefits for those jobs that include them ( Like most animation jobs).
As in all life, there is an impermanence to a life in art, and one must remain flexible while placing unwavering focus on your passion.
If I have made a life in art since the 70′s, weathering many different cycles in illustration, media and economies, then I feel anyone can. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It’s been the most incredible journey anyone could take.
Hope that helps.