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Animation Director - Career Profile

Written by Michelle BurtonOctober 5, 2011
Animation Director
Did you know.... In 2013 every movie nominated for an Oscar Award in the Best Visual Effects category had graduates from The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School at Universal Studios Orlando) in the credits. This year (2014), four of the five nominated films - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Into Darkness- included DAVE School graduates. Those 4 films alone employed nearly 70 DAVE School graduates last year.
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What does a Animation Director do? Where does a Animation Director work? ACR takes a look:

About Animation Directors

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Animation directors have a tremendous amount of experience in the industry. They are also among the most well respected artists in the industry. Animation directors have proven management and leadership skills, which is why they have a large amount of responsibility for any given production. Animation directors are responsible for recruiting and coordinating animation teams based on what the project dictates, and they lead teams from the beginning to the end of a production.

Animation Director Jobs

Animation directors recruit and coordinate animation teams. They manage teams from the beginning to the end of productions. They work with the director (the person that manages the production overall) by interpreting briefs and communicating them to the animation team. During the production process, animation directors review all work produced by animators and assistants. They answer to the production department on longer projects regarding schedule, budget, and output. It is the animator director’s job to make sure the creative desires and production requirements are met, which means, the animation director must be able to negotiate with both departments to reach the best agreement for the good of the production.

Animation directors work in a variety of settings including animation studios, television production studios, film production studios, gaming companies, and advertising agencies. Some animation directors work on a project to project basis as independent contractors.

Animation Schools to Consider:

Animation Director Salaries

Animation director salaries vary greatly based on experience, the size and type of company, location, production, and other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages of directors were $64,430 in 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,890 and $105,070. Median annual wages were $85,940 in the motion picture and video industry and $55,380 television.

Becoming a Animation Director

Animation director is one of the top positions in the field. Talent, creativity, and management ability are essential, as well as a bachelor’s degree in animation and/or film. Some animation directors may have an advanced degree in film or animation. A degree, talent, and management ability are just the beginning. Animation directors usually have  a minimum of 5-7 years’ experience in the industry before advancing to this position. Because they must be familiar with how all departments work, animators on the path to becoming animation directors will likely perform tasks in all departments from in-betweener to entry-level animator and up.

Job Trends for Animation Directors

Employment for directors (and producers) is expected to grow by 10 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. The workforce consists of more than 98,600 artists. By 2018, this figure is expected expand to 108,300. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, expanding cable and satellite television operations and increasing box-office receipts of major studio and independent films will increase the need for workers. Additionally, a rising demand for U.S. films in other countries should create more employment opportunities for directors.