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How do I Become a Movie Animator?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Movie animators work to bring stories to life through different forms of media such as drawing, computer-aided sketching, painting and sculpture. If you have an appreciation for art and a wish to see your drawings come to life, you might want to become a movie animator. Movie animators aren't just limited to the conventional ways of doing things — finding innovative ways to create movie scenes is just one of the jobs of a movie animator.

Movie animators can work on a film crew or television crew. The term “movie animator” refers to the media produced, not the output of that media, though it generally does not refer to smaller scale productions such as commercials or Internet features. Film animators take movie scripts and create storyboard sketches, or work with those sketches to realize the final concept. Many modern movies and television shows use computer animation to achieve their concepts, so a background in or willingness to learn about technology is a must.

One of the first steps required to become a movie animator is to obtain an education in the arts. All forms of art are used in movies, from traditional hand drawings to computer-created paintings and every combination in between. Art from all over the world, from the neo-classical European artists to modern Japanese anime creators, is used by movie animators. A strong, culturally diverse art education is crucial to anyone wishing to work within the field.

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It is also important for a person wishing to become a movie animator to build up a portfolio of work. A portfolio showcases your best work and shows potential employers that you're versatile, willing to learn and able to create your work and defend it when asked. Obtain references within the field by working on small projects or student films. These references lend credence to your professional image as you work to become a movie animator.

Your geographic location may affect your success within the field. Very few movie animation jobs exist in rural areas. Search out your nearest big city, or cities known for entertainment work, such as Hollywood and New York within the United States, Tokyo in Japan, or London in the United Kingdom. These areas have established movie distribution companies. Obtain an entry-level job within the field with one of these houses in order to learn the practical basics of the trade and gain valuable hands-on experience.

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