Wednesday, 25 January 2017

8 Steps To Find An Animation Internship

Cinesite is one of many Soho VFX houses which offer internships
Finding internships is not easy. And yet, in an increasingly competitive world for graduates trying to break into the creative industries, it is an important step on the ladder to a successful career.

A successful internship brings experience, contacts, and direct understanding of what is needed to get a job with an animation company. So how do you go about finding an internship in the animation industry?

The answer, of course, is hard work and commitment. Expect to send a lot of letters and emails, and expect a lot of rejection. You need rhinoceros hide in this business. So, forget about internships coming to you - it's time to roll up your sleeves and get down to work.

Always a good place to start
1. Start Making Lists
Start by Googling "Animation internshipship" and see what comes up.  Make a list of of all the companies you can find that offer internships, and what their requirements are. Search out the companies you would like to work for, and see if they have an internship program.

What do they want from you? Most likely they will want to see a demo reel, a CV, and samples of your work. So, your first job is going to be making lists, and figuring out where to apply. Your second job will be to start polishing your demo reel.

2. Polish your demo reel
Lots of students just like you want to get internships. Companies tend to get lots of offers, and they can afford to be picky. So, you need to put your best foot forward. Polish your demo reel and make sure your work stands out from the crowd.

Remember that the secret of a great demo reel is - no mistakes. For our complete guide to making a great demo reel, read this post. Also, check out this post on what the Disney studio looks for in a great reel, and see what Sony Pictures has to say on the same subject.

Time to start blogging
3. Get your work online
Got yourself a blog or website? If not, why not? These days, employers won't wait for you to send them a reel - they want to click on your work.

So make sure your demo reel and artwork is hosted online at your blog or website. If you don't have one, do it now. 

free websites!
A blog is quick, easy and free to start. You can also build your own website at, which might take a little longer to create.

Which one you choose doesn't really matter, as long as it looks crisp and clean and is a good shopfront for your talent. For more on how to put together a free website or blog, see this post.

4. Polish your CV
The next thing you need is an up-to-date, short, and easily readable CV. For more on how to put together a great CV, read this post.

Insert your name here.
5. Start sending letters
Now it's time to start applying. You will need to draft a good cover letter to send to each company you are applying for. Draft a standard letter, save it, and then start adapting it. Each letter must be tailored to suit the company you are applying for, so it doesn't read like a form letter.

What are your skills, and how are they relevant to the position you are applying for? Employers like to see that applicants have done their homework and can explain why they are interested in a career with their company. Be enthusiastic, and show that you know what that company does for a living.

6. Get ready for interview
Company recruiters want to know that you are enthusiastic and motivated for the industry and the job role you are applying for.  You must research the company, and find out what your likely job will be.
Recruiters often ask questions like: "What do you think this job involves?" or "what do you expect an average day to be like?".

They may also ask what your career goals are. This is a good opportunity to explain your career ambitions, but don't be too ambitious. Everyone wants to direct Hollywood movies and win Oscars, but the reality of most careers will likely be rather different.

Being aware of what a realistic career in the visual effects industry looks like will win you the respect of the person interviewing you. Saying you want to be Stephen Spielberg will not.

Be the Rhino - develop a tough hide
7. Exploit your connections
Personal connections count. If you know people who work in the creative industries, ask them about internships. There is no shame in this - many of the jobs you get in industry will be thanks to the sort of loose connections that make up what we call networking.

Employers want to be comfortable with the person they are hiring, and if someone within the company can personally vouch for the applicant, that counts for a lot.

8. Finally, don't give up
Be the rhino. Expect rejection.  Keep at it and you will be rewarded.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2017, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here.

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