Why You Need a Creative Resume

Via: Resources

Yesterday, Mr. Warburton (you read his blog, right) posted a post about resumes in which he absolutely nails the fact that some creative types have a very boring, traditional resume. He proclaims the need for a creative resume, and you know something? He’s right!

If you work in the creative arts, you would expect a portfolio/demo reel to do the hard work of showing off your creative talents, but why should you rely on just that? If you’re looking for a job, you should be using every single opportunity you have to try and grab that reviewers attention.

The resume is one area that is often forgotten about or neglected. Plenty of people think that it is simply a synopsis of your skills and nothing more and that’s the problem. The average resume gets a 10 second slot in which to impress the reviewer. A mediocre design will be glanced over and forgotten. One that stands out is more likely to be read which improves the chances of employment by a lot.

For starters, Resources has 70  creative resumes that you can use for inspiration. Sure, some are better than others but they are all much more than the minimum. Animators, you have some drawing skills, why not put them on your resume and let your reel do the heavy lifting for the actual animation.

Having a unique resume also does much more than make you stand out from the crowd, it also showcases your independent capabilities as well as a willingness and passion for your work. Which are all good signs potential employers like to see.

Creating a nice resume may take a little time, but won’t that be time well spent if you land a job?

Start An Animation Blog Now!

Via: XKCD

It was a year ago tomorrow that I wrote the first of what would become what I would consider a ‘daily’ post on the blog. Sure, it existed before that and I averaged about one post a week (although sometimes less) but on this day last year (April 1st), Gilligan over on the Retrospace blog posted some advice to bloggers. After I read that, I made up my mind that I needed to put in much more of an effort.

Before I knew it, a whole year had passed and here I am writing about it. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me to sustain a blog every day for an entire month let alone a year. Funnily enough, I’ve never run out of things to write about and I’ve barely repeated myself at all.

Yet it’s funny to look back and see that I’ve come a very long way with my blogging. I dare say my writing has improved, what I write about has become slightly more nuanced than simple reviews and my commentary has become more vocal instead of simply relaying the news.

All of this I still enjoy very much. Even though I normally have a gym session under me before I sit down at 6am to write the day’s post, I don’t feel any overbearing obligation when doing so. Oh, sure there are some days when inspiration can be a bit hard to come by, but those are relatively few and far between and I always resolve them in the end.

Why mention all of this? The answer is simple, you CAN do it too.

There are tons of people out there who have a blog (or tumblelog, twitter, etc.) and update it every now and again. For some of them, I am forever grateful for the invention of RSS, because without it, their blogs wouldn’t be getting a peep of a visit from me. I simply don’t have the time to check back and see if they’ve written something new or not.

I think the main reason is that you do have to schedule time for your blog, otherwise its just not going to work. I do it in the morning before work, perhaps you can do it before you go to bed. Either way, if you don’t specify a time to work on it, it’ll never get done.

For animation types, I simply cannot fathom why some of them don’t update at least once a day or at the bare minimum, once a week. As creative types, a blog can serve as a great output for your work, inspirations or even your non-animation hobbies.

Besides all that, blogs are stupidly easy to set up and maintain. This blog began on Blogger before it moved to WordPress.com (where it went daily) and before it moved to it’s own host using WordPress.org. Along the way, I’ve garnered some experience that continues to serve me well.

My point is that only you can make your blog the best it can be, no-one else will or want to. Put in the effort and you’ll be surprised what you get out of it. I sure am.

How The Online Video Revolution Could Signal A New Era for Animation

Yesterday, it was announced that YouTube/Google had acquired Next New Networks. While this may not be of huge interest to those of you who tend to skip the business pages, it is nonetheless significant and will likely have some bearing on entertainment for years to come.

The reason is outlined in Fred Seibert (the co-founder of NNN) in his blog post announcing the sale. In it, he draws a lot of similarities between the current state of internet broadcasting and the fledgling cable networks back in the early 80s.

The similarities are, in fact, eerily similar. Back then, no-one really know how to make money, the established players were (extremely) wary of the new medium and the content that’s being offered wasn’t all that great (at least back then it wasn’t).

What does all of this have to do with animation? The answer is plain to see. Without cable, it is highly unlikely (impossible even) that we would have seen the explosion in animation that we saw with the three original Nicktoons, followed by the proliferation of creator-driven shows with (I suppose) a bump in animation at the movies too.

The originial Nicktoons didn’t come around for about 10 years after MTV. The reason for this was basically the lack of cable customers, which has a direct effect on the revenue of a network and as we all know, animation ain’t cheap.

Fast forward to today, and there exists a similar situation. People are embracing the internet but overall penetration is still way below cable, content will be king even more so than in cable and last but not least, even more money will be made by those who get it right.

Next New Networks may not be focused solely on animation (although it does broadcast Channel Frederator) but I think it is extremely likely that within 10 years, we will see a channel devoted solely to animation. Joe Murray is off to a great, early start with KaboingTV, which launches next month.

As the optimistic type, I think animation will continue to be a part of the entertainment landscape long after Comcast has been de-throned.

How To Find Inspiration

Don’t ask me! Hahaha. No seriously, not today anyway, I’m coming up short!

While this morning might be a tough one for me to write a post, that’s just because I don’t have the time to spend hunting around for the necessary spark that will ignite the fire under my butt and get me to write something. The good news is, if you do have the time, inspiration can come from just about anywhere.

Thanks to the internet, there are literally millions of places you can go for inspiring ideas or topics without leaving your desk (or lap). I follow (literally) hundreds of blogs and they are always a source of thought. Be it straight out ideas or discussions on a topic that can lead me in another direction.

If you’re not too much into that, how about a book? If that doesn’t work, why not head to the mall, or down to the local park or whatever. I find that people watching can be a fascinating hobby. With so many people in the world, it can be fun to try and think up exciting stories for the stranger who walks past you (just don’t think aloud as they pass, they might start to form their own opinions).

Creativity is a skill that sometimes has to be honed. for me, I sometimes need to see what else is out there before I can get myself going, other times I already have something ready to go. You may have a totally different way of getting up and running and that’s fine, as long as you don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re doing good and you actually aren’t.

The point is, when people say they can’t find inspiration, that is often a way of saying that they haven’t really tried, or if they have, been looking in the wrong place. You can avoid this mistake by finding what it is that inspires you on a consistent basis and utilising it to the max.

What Everyone Ought To Know About Movie Promotion

A movie lobby card (an old form of promotion) via: Retrospace

Most people believe that the cost of a film is whatever the studio says it is. It might well be, but as I learned in my managerial accounting class, what counts towards that cost can  be hard to determine.

For example, what about the people processing the payroll for the set designers, does that count as a cost? The answer is no, it doesn’t because it is considered overhead, in other words, those people processing payroll would be doing it even if the film wasn’t being made.

How about the actors? Well clearly they are a large part of the cost of a film and if the project didn’t exist, they wouldn’t be paid. So, yes, they are a cost to the film.

What about promotion of a film?

You would figure that into the equation, right? I mean, if you make a movie, you have to sell it somehow, and you can’t turn a corner without seeing an advertisement for a film these days. Besides, if the film wasn’t made the cost wouldn’t be there, right? Yes, that’s right. So it would make sense to include the cost of promotion into the cost of a movie, wouldn’t it? Again, yes it would. Except herein lies one of the tricks of the movie business that the public at large is not familiar with or aware of.

For you see, promotion isn’t handled by the studio, it’s handled by the distributor. Never mind that they are usually one and the same (think Disney and Buena Vista), the fact is, for the vast majority of mainstream releases, the cost of promotion is handed off to the books of the distributor, for which they normally receive a 35% cut of the box office gross.

What is the effect of all this? To make costs appear lower of course! Most large movies have a promotional budget in the range of half to three times the film’s cost (how it makes sense to spend more promoting the film than it did to make it is beyond me). So basically, a $100 million movie could cost anywhere between $50 million and $300 million in promotion by the end of its theatrical run.

So when you hear about a film raking in more than it’s cost at the box office, that just covers the studio’s cost, not the promotion. The end result? Films appear much more successful than they really are. Huge box office grosses are often a facade that masks the real cost of a film.

The truth never hurts, and I believe that if studios were more upfront and honest about the cost of a film, i.e. acknowledging the promotion costs more clearly, then they would be in a better position to operate effectively. Sadly, in Hollywood, everyone wants their share of the pie, and will engage in shady tactics like those mentioned above to make themselves appear stronger than they really are. In the end though, the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, and he always get’s called out in the end.

Celebrity Voice Acting Part Deaux

This morning I was watching CBS Sunday morning. It’s a show I particularly like because, quite frankly, there aren’t many shows like it being broadcast, at least not in the US anyway. Long story short, they had a quick segment on voice-acting, focusing initially on Dora the Explorer followed by the world of commercials, etc.

During the course of the report, I learned even more about celebrity voice-acting than I knew when I previously wrote about it, surprisingly enough, in April 2009. As it turns out, celebrities do all sorts of voice-acting nowadays, not just for animation shows or films.

Just some examples from this morning include:

  • Morgan Freeman: CBS Nightly News
  • Michael Douglas (!): NBC Nightly News
  • Gene Hackman: Lowe’s Home Improvement

With the likes of Wanda Sykes, George Clooney, Tom Selleck (!!) and so forth doing various TV spots. What I find fascinating is that at least for a TV show or film, the producers can at least broadcast or notify the public as to who is in the production in question. For advertisements, there’s nothing of the sort!

If I hadn’t been told this morning, I would have no idea that it was such well known celebrities doing such voice-overs. Why on earth would you, as a company allow your advertising agency to engage in such behaviour?

For one, celebrities are expensive (hey, I’m sure George Clooney, as damn fine a voice as he has, doesn’t rent it for nothing), and unless it is clearly obvious that the person in question is in the advertisement, your basically wasting money.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of professional voice-actors out there that are more than capable of conveying the fact that Boniva isn’t for people with a heart condition or whatever.

Recently I’ve been reading the excellent book, Ogilvy on Advertising. Witten by David Ogilvy, a Scotsman who went from being a farmer in the Pennsylvania Amish country to the head of one of the most successful advertising agencies on Madison Avenue, it offers many lessons he has learned on the basics of advertising.

One thing he points out numerous times is that celebrities don’t improve your sales. Imagine that! People normally believe (and most of the time they are right) that when a celebrity appears in an ad, they are getting paid to do so, not just because head & Shoulders really does leave them dandruff free.

Ogilvy points out data that he believes proves that normal, unknown actors are more effective at selling stuff than celebrities. More so when it comes to voice-acting, which is a profession with a lot of skill. Any eejit can stand in front of a microphone, but to put emotion into a voice takes work and sadly, I think celebrities aren’t the best people to do that, real voice-actors are.