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Networking as a self-taught animator

Networking as a self-taught animator can be difficult. These strategies will keep you in the  loop…


Networking as a self-taught animator is tough. One of the downsides of being a self-taught or freelance animator is that you miss out on networking opportunities. For animators who learn at university, fellow students and teachers can form useful contacts for later on in their career. Animators who work for a studio, will connect with their colleagues. Here are our five tips for freelance or self-taught animators to build their network…

1. Online networking as a self-taught animator 


The internet is one of the most valuable resources when it comes to networking as a self-taught animator.
 
To use it effectively, you need to make yourself seen online. Create an easy-to-find, good looking website. Here, your contacts can find previous work, your show reel, and your contact details. Keep your social media up-to-date and relevant—there’s no point giving your Instagram handle if all you do is post pictures of your cat!
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2. In-person networking as a self-taught animator


This is the time to brush up your people skills!
 
Even if you’re an introvert by nature, meeting other animators in person will leave a stronger impression than connecting online. Look out for any events happening near you. When you turn up, make sure you ask others what they’re interested in before pushing what you can offer as a business contact. People are more likely to remember a pleasant conversation than someone repeatedly hinting they’d like a job.
How to find clients as a freelance animator
How to find clients as a freelance animator
This is the time to brush up your people skills!
 
Even if you’re an introvert by nature, meeting other animators in person will leave a stronger impression than connecting online. Look out for any events happening near you. When you turn up, make sure you ask others what they’re interested in before pushing what you can offer as a business contact. People are more likely to remember a pleasant conversation than someone repeatedly hinting they’d like a job.

3. Keeping in touch


Often, clients will ask you to collaborate with other freelance animators on a project.

This is a fantastic networking opportunity! While you’re working together, ask other animators about themselves. Once the project is over, try and stay in touch. Engage on social media and drop a message if you get any opportunities that would suit them. Establishing a friendly business connection could open up career connections in the future when they do the same in return.

If you want to know how to keep your clients happy and returning to your studio, check out our article here.

Can I study animation without going to university? Pro feedback

4. Joining a group of animators


Whether it’s online or in person, joining a group of like-minded artists is a great networking step for self-taught animators.

Regularly critiquing other’s work and receiving feedback on your own is an excellent way to improve your practice. Try searching for animation spaces on Reddit or Discord to find a group. If you feel unsure at first, you’ll still learn lots from watching other’s animation work. As you gain experience, it can also be rewarding to support animators who are just starting out.

How to avoid scope creep as an animator: open communication
How to avoid scope creep as an animator: open communication

Whether it’s online or in person, joining a group of like-minded artists is a great networking step for self-taught animators.

Regularly critiquing other’s work and receiving feedback on your own is an excellent way to improve your practice. Try searching for animation spaces on Reddit or Discord to find a group. If you feel unsure at first, you’ll still learn lots from watching other’s animation work. As you gain experience, it can also be rewarding to support animators who are just starting out.

5. Contacting local animators


If you live in a city, there will almost certainly be animation studios near you. If you’re feeling brave, you could try sending a demo reel to a local animator and politely ask for some feedback. You might not get a response, but all it takes is for one local animator to take a shine to your work and offer you a job recommendation. Another approach is to email studios and ask for work experience. If you’re a proficient animator, many studios will be more than happy to take you on for a couple of weeks experience. Bear in mind that you probably won’t be paid.
 
If you’re not in a position to take on unpaid work, check out our article for other ways to gain industry experience.
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Interested In Starting an Animation Studio?


Take The Animation Career Quiz

Are you best suited to a studio role, freelancing or ready to start a studio of your own?
Take the quiz and plan your next animation career steps.

Animation Career Community

Sign up for free to the Start A Studio Animator community & network with likeminded artists.


Animation Studio Startup Course

Checkout our award-winning online course on planning and launching a creative & viable animation studio.


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