Or: the importance of networking
I am heading off next week to the Game Developers Conference. I hope to be able to post some things from there but I thought that sharing some of the reasons for going would be fun!
I am generalizing here but something about the animation industry seems to attract a large number of socially awkward people. I of course include myself in this. Folks who have a hard time mingling at parties or functions where we know next to no one. Those that do know each other tend to gravitate together like Cheerios in milk, circling around the room to find a place to attach themselves to and stay put. While this is a kind of networking and is fun we all must try, once in a while, to get out of our comfort zone. Meeting new people can be very rewarding and life enriching.
Of course as you stand there in that room of a thousand unknown faces all seemingly more comfortable in their bodies than you are it can be difficult taking that first step. We have things like Facebook and Twitter and while these are great tools for keeping in touch nothing beats face-to-face interaction.
Find out if there are any organizations in your town where like-minded people can get together. I know that not all cities have things like the Quicdraw Animation Society but they should! If there isn’t one around use the web as much as you can. If you can afford it get to festivals like the OIAF. You never know whom you will meet at these things. I know that I have made fiends there over the years that I cherish. Of course it is expensive to go to these events, trust me I know, but if you are like me and rely on freelance contracts to keep going it is an expense that can be claimed.
The animation world is really a very small one. The 6-degree rule does work. I know that in the past, when a resume has come across my desk and I didn’t know the person but I noticed they worked at studio “X”, I would call the person I knew there to get their opinion of the individual. That happens all the time.
Jobs can pop out of nowhere simply because you are on someone’s mind. That isn’t to say become annoying and constantly bug someone for work but if you are able to connect with people that have shared interests then you will be able to help each other over the years. You hear that a studio is looking for a certain type of talent, you don’t have it but you know someone who does so you pass on the info to that person. We help those we like.
My confession to you, while I love meeting new people I am terrified of crowds. So here I go off to one of the largest collection of like-minded people you can find in the entertainment world. Some 17 thousand attended last year. Why you ask? Because while I may want to run and hide when there are crowds around me if I get to meet one person whom I have shared interests with and we can create a wonderful dialogue that lasts over the years then it was all worth it.
Updates will be here and here