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How Do I Get Started With Freelance Animation?

A flower drawn by an animation artist.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
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A freelance animator performs animation services for who ever has hired him or her for a particular project. After the project has been completed, the animator will go on to another project, working for someone else. Freelance animation is the perfect option for someone who enjoys animation but cannot decide what area of the field they want to specialize in. A freelance animator can spend part of the year working on a movie, a few weeks on a commercial or website, and then spend several months working with an animation team, putting together a new video game. There are always a lot of possibilities, and a successful freelancer can pick and choose his assignments.

Not everyone has the skills necessary to work in freelance animation. Besides having great artistic ability, animators must also be familiar with all of the main types of animation software. They must be able to work in a team, be able to communicate their ideas effectively, and be willing to both lead and follow the directions of others. It takes a lot of flexibility, and the ability to change gears, switching from one project to another, almost instantly.

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To get started in freelance animation, you should first attend college to get a degree or certificate in design and animation or a related area. Getting a professional education can teach you about the business of animation, how to use computers and animation software, and help you to get a lot of hands-on experience in animation. Any experience you can get while in college, through internship programs, labs, and other opportunities, will be a great help once you have started in your career.

Use college as an opportunity to improve your skills, in drawing, planning, and animating. Take part in any extra class projects, and take every chance you get to work together with other students on larger projects. Experiment, collaborate, and make the most of your education.

Before going out to start showcasing your work as a freelance animator, you will need to build a portfolio. Your portfolio should contain all of your very best work. This will be what prospective clients will look at before hiring you. If you can, purchase a domain name, and put your portfolio on your own professional website. This will allow people to find your work quickly and easily.

Make some professional contacts. Get involved in the animation industry. Go to trade shows, interact on websites, and get to know a few successful freelance animators. These contacts could become the key to your success as a freelancer. Let people know what services you can provide, and that you are looking for work.

Finding work is the most challenging part of starting a career in freelance animation. There are a lot of freelance animators also looking for work. There are several websites that help freelancers find clients looking for work, often for a fee. Another option is to directly contact companies, and offer them your services, a method that works best after you have some experience. Depending on your location, attending local business showcases may also help you to find clients.

Freelance animation is an exciting career, but it is risky. Even the best freelancers may go several months between jobs. It is important to keep promoting yourself, even when you are in the middle of another project, because eventually the project will end and you will need to have other work lined up. Someone who has a lot of determination, can self-motivate, and enjoys being his or her own boss has a very good chance of being successful in freelance animation.

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