Employment / Working life

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Item

Links

Documentation / Tutorials

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Industry / Case-studies

  • ​School of Motion Podcast Episode 78: Gentleman Scholar, Will Johnson on Controversy and Creativity - Can you pay the price of effort and time to reach your ambitions?

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Cover letter templates

Books

How to get a job starter pack

Checklist

Essentials
Domain name
Website
A professional email address
Email signature β€” https://www.mail-signatures.com/signature-generator/#/user-social-media
a cover letter
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For the interview
your expected salary (hour/monthly/annual)
answer to "tell me about yourself" using Jodi Glickman's Pitching Yourself structure

Establishing your online presence

  1. Get a website and a domain name. Get a free domain name for students at nc.me.

  2. Choose your preferred website builder. There is no "best" website builder because everyone needs vary. Think of it as buying a car, you should test drive before committing to paying for the full cost. Try all the website builders you can. Here are the most commonly used options:

    1. ​Format​

    2. Squarespace

    3. Wix

    4. Cargo Collective

    5. Adobe Portfolio

    6. Wordpress + Elementor Plugin

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  3. Alternatively, you can establish your online presence via social media such as Instagram. It is definitely easier to get your work seen by people, and possibly develop a name for yourself. Such is the world today when everything is instantaneous.

Putting yourself out there

Sending job applications and applying on companies' job portal are the bare minimum you have to do; and we might just stop at that. The next step you need to take:

  1. Connect with employees from studios or companies you want to work for

  2. Visit their office with your portfolio or business cards

    1. Bring works that go along with their styles

    2. Showcase your works if asked, or politely show them

  3. Network with people around there

One observation I made after being employed is that: When a company has a opening, most of the time is spend waiting for the HR/Creative Director/Producer to review applicants and select potential candidates. They are often busy, and that task may not be their first priority. Hence, if you can find a shortcut (eg. visiting the studio), then do it. When I mentioned this revelation to my mentor, he told me that yes this is what you should have do before you graduate.

Template for reaching out to new connections

Hi [person of interest],

I am [name] looking for employment opportunities, and I am highly interested in working for your company as a [JOB POSITION]. I specialize in [SKILLS}

I was wondering if you can refer me to any open position in your company. I’m happy to provide you with any additional information you might need. Attached is my resume, and portfolio link:

Or one-pager detailing my fav projects , skills and my special skills

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,

[first name]

Tip:

Connect and talk to people on LinkedIn such as recruiters or senior level artists/designers. Introduce yourself and ask directly if there is any employment opportunities. If they do not, just thank them and tell them to stay in touch. The worst thing that could happen is that they do not respond which is just as possible as applying for jobs online. Also, establish a consistent presence on these social media platforms you frequent by posting your work-in-progress, things you learned or maybe an achievement or collaboration you did.

The future of resume / Cultivating a professional online presence

In order to be found you have to be findable I think is an easy way of putting work out there making discoverable why focus on getting really good at what you do. Almost all of the people look up to and try to stew from today, regardless of the profession, have built sharing into the routine. These people aren't schmoozing a cocktail party; the too busy for that. The cranking away in the studio's, the lavatories, or the cubicles, but instead of maintaining absolute secrecy and holding the work, they are open about what they are working on, and they are consistently posting bits and pieces of the work, ideas, and what you're learning online. Instead of wasting your time "networking," the taking advantage of the network. But generously sharing your ideas and knowledge, the often gain an audience that they can tend average when the need β€” for fellowship, feedback or patronage. – from the book Showcase your work by Austin Kleon

Do Not's

  • Put caricatures of yourself on your resume; most often it is not tastefully done

    • Instead, showcase a series of caricatures and illustrations of various characters in a look-book which can you bring to an interview

What to look for in your job hunting

Basics
wages
Contract duration
Benefits
Number of PTOs + holidays
Overtime pay
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Infrastructure
software provided
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Team
how big is the team?
who will I work with?
who is your supervisor / lead?
Culture
psychological safety
Creative
generalist or specialist?
Talent development
preparing you for your desired role
training opportutnies / mentorship
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remote working for how long?
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Responding to an offer

Employer: I just wanted to let you know it’s a busy week here, but I’m working on getting details together. I think the quick summary on our end would be to bring you on for a contracted period to help us work on this current project, it would likely be 4 weeks or so, at a rough guess β€” but I’ll get back to you on that soon. Beyond that, are you interested/looking for full-time opportunities? Thanks and chat soon β€”

Accepting it

Thanks for following up with me! Yes, I can and am excited to work on contracted basis and I am interested for any full-time opportunities. I’m sure you have a lot of details and information to cover. Shall we get on a 15-mins Zoom video call this Friday afternoon 2pm EST to get on the same page and clarify any information.

Thank you, and talk soon!

or

Thank you for getting back to me so soon, I appreciate the communication. I'm excited to pursue this further! It'll be an exciting time and process. Thank you and the team for taking the time to reach out to me! I hope our work together will lead to great things.

Skipping the art test

Prerequisites:

  • creative confidence and expertise, accountability, knowing your worth and how to spend your time.

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Communicating disappointment

Bringing up on how your efforts have not result to anything

I want to bring your attention to how we manage talent in Studios / DVFX team. As much as I love the company, the team, the work, it still bothers me significantly that my efforts are being overlooked, and that I .

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I like to believe that too, and I say that because I spend a lot of time and effort to do my best work at company. Over the past year I felt that I brought a lot of value to the team such as consistently delivering quality work to department , my knowledge in subject that allows me to reasons.

Potential reasons: build toolkits for the team, advising our peers on how to operate them, running workshops, representing the company at ..., recruiting potential new hire, setting up ..., working with departments to ...

Following up

Hey person , I like to follow up with on that matter regarding elevating my role.

what do you think of the proposal?
Is there anything you can do to support my request?
Do you know who are the decision makers in this process?
Can you reach out them to support me?

Networking

If recruiter seeks you out

Tell me about yourself - use keywords they demonstrate the work and your process

  • Motion Design at WarnerMedia Studios working on broadcast graphics. I very much serve as a generalist that does design, animation, 3D, coding and scripting and automation, video editing

  • heavy After Effects usage, low C4D, work alot with typography animation and working with photos, open sequencing

where is your office based in?
what are you looking for?
how can I help you
share some contacts who might be looking for new opportunities
share your job with my community

Exiting a company

Resignation notice

Dear [BOSS/SUPERVISOR],

I am writing to announce my resignation from WarnerMedia Studios, and my last day of work will be [LAST DAY]. [STATE REASON]I am returning to Savannah College of Art & Design (Atlanta campus) for graduate studies in the fall quarter as they have awarded me a full-tuition scholarship.

The past year have been very rewarding, and I am sure it will be for the remaining months I have with the team. I learned a lot at [COMPANY] and I am grateful to have worked with you and with a very bonded team dedicated to making consistent amazing works. Thank you for the opportunities for growth that you have provided me. I wish you and the company all the best.

If I can be of any help during the transition, such as recruitment, please don't hesitate to ask.

Sincerely, [NAME]

For close colleague

Great working with you previously with Dorothy Dandridge piece, I hope everything went well in the past week.

I would love to see the final video if it is done!

Anyway, I’m not sure if you heard from Jin or anybody else but I am leaving the company on September 11 to pursue graduate studies at the Savanah College of Art and Design Atlanta campus. It has been a pleasure working with you and great meeting you at the gym every morning before the pandemic (I sure miss that hahahaha). Thank you for making part of my journey at WarnerMedia Studios an enjoyable one!

FAQs

Is it normal not to have a job / internship before graduation?

F*CK YES. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. Focus on your school work first before worrying about employment. With your college training, you should be able to easily produce new portfolio work after graduation to increase your chance of employment.

Is it normal to not feel okay about not getting hired before graduation.

Yes. Most often this is caused by pressure from your peers getting hired, and societal/school conditioning of employment before graduation has imbued fear into you on a psychological level which you cannot undo until you graduate. The point is: you will have that innate anxiety in you till you get your job; you just need to learn to accept that, and keep hoping for the best.

Some questions you need to ask yourself or discuss with your peers are:

  • Who said or decided that employment should be followed immediately before graduation?

  • Who planted that idea in your mind?

  • Who defined normal as getting a job straight out of college?

That is a saying in the Singapore army when we are given the order to fire at the practice range and that is

Own time own target

If you reach out to a few studios, and then one gets back to you but you've already decided on another option, what's the best and most polite way to let the other companies know you're no longer interested?

Here is a sample answer you can use:

" Thank you very much for the offer! Unfortunately, I am currently booked so I am unable to take on this position. However, I do look forward to future opportunities with working with your company"Something like thatI worded it better previously but I can't remember

The key word is " booked ". Personally, I see that word as a professional euphemism that does not reveal much, and you can use it for saying:

  • "I am busy with other projects"

  • "I have really important event to attend"

  • "I don't want to do it"

Of course, use the word with caution.

When do know you should leave a company?

  1. To increase your standard of living at your new job (eg. pay, location, benefits, culture)

  2. To bring more value to people or a business

    • Eg. Ziye Liu mentioned going the Mill to Microsoft, and mentioned how he could become a senior lighting artist if he stayed longer, and I believe you feels that your role at commercial shop is just being a gear in fine-tune machine. Whereas working for Microsoft with in smaller team and different disciplines, there is a humanizing element where you are just doing more than what your role asked for. You are bringing value as a thoughtful human being, not a technician. β€” Apr 2021

    • Another way to at this is "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.” Personally, I felt a sense of stagnation when I finished my one year at WarnerMedia studios. I learned a lot at that studio but it got to the point where there was not much new things to learn. This prompted me to go Graduate School and I never regretted my decision but happy for it instead.

How to grow within a large organization or company

Getting new types of projects

  1. Tell your supervisor about your goals (eg. learning Houdini) even if it is out of your job scope, and have him/her link up with the right person to talk

  2. Establish contact with the said person (Houdini artist/supervisor), and explain your plan

  3. Start training yourself or work towards your goals; and send weekly updates to this person

  4. With enough time and dedication, you should have built a rapport that allows said person to trust and work with you on projects

[tested and proven]

Getting new projects in general; establishing yourself

When I was employed in WarnerMedia Studios , an art director from Turner Classic Movies reviewed my portfolio and found interest in some of work specifically:

  • Houdini proficiency

  • Cowboy Bebop process video

  • Experimental

Getting promoted

There comes a point when you have gained enough experience, skills and presence within your team that makes you think that you are ready for the next big thing. However, life does not work out like that. A company is in the end a business that operates on a financial engine. Here are some hypothetical situations why you won't get hired:

  • If your contract is 2 years, and you have not make your way to the end of it, why should a company pay more when they have you for two years?

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Factors that helps you get a promotion

  • Timing

    • If you left a job when there were not lots of projects going on, a company would not think so much your absence

    • If somehow you are about to leave before a crunch time and you are very much needed, wouldn't a company be more likely to keep you?

  • Urgency: Did you find and accept a job elsewhere that was offering better pay or benefits?

    • If so, your current company is obliged to make a decision quickly on keeping you through a promotion or a pay raise or benefits (overtime, bonus).

  • Dispensability & irreplaceability

    • You know you are awesome and great at what you do but do people know that? Especially in a big corporation or company where you have many teams such as design, edit, vfx/cg, production,etc.

    • 5 tier of rapport (adapted from the Korenman's Freelance Manifesto)

      • Know > like > trust > worked with > need

      • Your endgame is obviously become a need for a company or within a team

Just because you got a job does not mean you stop hustling.

Being industrious is a given, and you need to let people know that you are awesome at what you do and dependable to the point where you are an integral part of team that is IRREPLACEABLE.

Possible questions and discussions:

  1. Not feeling good enough you are at the workplace; and thinking that everyone is better than thus hindering your growth and potential

  2. How to get better at what you do?

    1. You completed your training at college. Now it is time to choose your adventure and craft your journey to improve your skills. Tutorials work great when you are learning something new but when it comes to improving existing skillsets, you will have to analyze works of masters or the professionals by copying the design or the animation. Review the video frame by frame and breakdown how a shot is done. Read Steal like an Artist to get a better idea about how copying improves your skills.

  3. Staying within the comfort zone

    1. Getting a job after a long period of waiting seems like a big break for you; it is possible take once you will grow stagnant after settling into a job or your comfort zone.

    2. The key is to be self-aware of this fact and yourself. Plan to personal creative projects by using a Mathematical approach so you can balance work, life, self-care, and personal projects.