Animation Guild

Winter 2018

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WINTER 2018 29 TIPS O N C R O S S I N G T H E D I V I D E Artists who have successfully worked in adult and children's animation say that moving between the two demographics is workable. Here are some tips for navigating the dual landscape. Do your homework. Extensively study episodes of the show you're trying to join. Practice that style and incorporate that work into your portfolio. While the Guild opposes tests, prime time shows often require them. When you take the test, make sure your characters are on model. Don't try to draw facial expressions that are not on the model sheet. Tests for daytime shows tend to be less dependent on the model. Strive for appealing character expressions and strong acting poses within the show style. When a daytime show is an outline show instead of a script show, the producers are looking for understanding of story structure, sense of entertainment, tone, and the ability to write jokes and dialogue. For portfolio submissions, group your samples by genre. Consider separate portfolios, one exclusively for kids animation, the other for adult. A storyboard sample should have something short, simple and sweet that shows a situation or conflict a character needs to overcome. It should show understanding of story structure (beginning, middle and end) as well as knowledge of shot choices and of perspective. If your portfolio already shows something similar to a production's needs, you can sometimes bypass the testing process. Courtesy of Nickelodeon and American Dad!/Fox Animation WINTER 2018 29 "I created a series for Amazon called Little Big Awesome," says Gruber. "Because it was me running the whole thing, I got to scratch every single itch of silliness. Pushing love and friendship and positivity to an almost absurd level so it becomes dark, that's been funny for me." Although they acknowledge cases where they or their peers have encountered roadblocks, artists insist that a good artist should be able to transition between different mediums without difficulty, particularly given the number of new content popping up everywhere. They also acknowledge that the competition is fierce. An artist won't end up employed on the staff of The Simpsons or SpongeBob SquarePants just because she can draw. Writers and artists alike will need samples, according to Gruber. "Especially if you're a children's artist trying to move into adult content, " says Gruber. "Some shows are more visual than others and you're going to have to be able to show them that you can play with animation." According to Aoshima, it has become something of a standard procedure for producers to give auditioning artists storyboard tests to see whether they can handle the creative demands of the show they are trying to join. The Animation Guild has been working with a testing committee of members to promote fair practices. Following a lengthy stint as a layout artist on The Simpsons and Futurama, Aoshima moved over to Avatar: The Last Airbender, only to have it brought to his attention that his Avatar drawings were drawn with the proportions of The Simpsons. "I didn't see that until my director pointed it out," Aoshima says. In animation, as in other segments of the entertainment industry, Sagadraca admires people who can be chameleons. "When I look at some of my heroes, a lot of the people I admire are people who can do everything," said Sagadraca. "Someone like Ang Lee can do a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and then Life of Pi. Every success in movies he has had is different from the one he finished. Part of me wants to model my career after someone like that, and not just be typecast as one thing.

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