Types of Jobs in Animation and Related Fields

Have you ever wondered how the world’s top animators got their start? While there are some people who are natural animators, so they never felt the need to pursue formal education, most animators have at least some formal training be it a workshop or diploma, or they have a degree. It’s programs such as these that led many of today’s top animators to coveted internships at celebrated studios such as Pixar and Disney, or straight to paid production positons at some of the world’s most renowned animation studios. Others graduated and went on to start their own studios that are still up and running today.

Take a look at where this year's Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film went to school and some of the top grossing films they’ve worked on.

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Animation Careers in Idaho Overview

Idaho is home to a small film office that attracts a fair number of filmmakers looking stunning scenery, nice incentives, and hassle-free access to sites. According to the Idaho Film Office, most cities in the state do not require film permits. This saves filmmakers time and money. Crews are available too and “they’ve got a broad range of production skills and friendly, can-do attitudes,” says the Office. What all of this means is, the state just might be a good place for aspiring directors and producers of all kinds—including those that specialize in animation. 

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Animation Careers in Vermont Overview 

Vermont is home to a population of 5,250 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. The ADESM group consists of animators and multimedia artists, art directors, illustrators, commercial designers, public relations directors, film and video, interior designers, or photographers and more. Aspiring animators may find Vermont appealing thanks to film festivals such as the Sevincer/Brattleboro Animation Festival, the Green Mountain Film Festival, and the Vermont International Film Festival. The state is also home to a very active arts council—the Vermont Arts Council, and a variety of creative agencies and studios such as Dreamlike Pictures, FUSE and Shadow Productions. 

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Animation Careers in Hawaii Overview 

Hawaii is famous for stunning scenery, breathtaking sunsets, historic sites and natural wonders you just won’t find anywhere else. These are just a few reasons why filmmakers have flocked to Hawaii to shoot blockbuster films such as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, The Descendants, Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Survivor, Hawaii Five-0, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Because Hollywood makes frequent trips to Hawaii and the Hawaii Film Office welcomes it with open arms, the film scene here is a healthy one. This means there are opportunities for people that work in all areas of film and video, this includes animation.

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Animation Careers in Missouri Overview

Missouri is home to the Missouri Film Office, which is dedicated to the promotion and development of film production and facilities. So far so good. Through incentives, easy access to more than 1,100 locations, and help hiring talent and crew, the Film Office has attracted more than 122 productions since 2000 and the industry is growing. In fact, just 43 films were shot in Missouri in the 1990s.

Other promising developments over the years include a six Missouri cities that now hold a total of 26 film festivals annually, around 30 colleges and universities that offer degree specialties in film studies and/or production skills, with more than 75 teaching professionals involved in the instruction, and more than 36 production and post-production companies throughout the state, one-fourth of which are full-service facilities offering animation, special effects and sound effects.

Further, 11 percent of the state’s motion media industry is made up of occupations that are high-tech—this includes digital animation and other types of Computer Graphic Images (CGI) creation. 

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Animation Careers in Minnesota Overview

The folks at the Minnesota Film and Television Board are always busy. This bustling film office has its hands full managing more than 10,000 filming locations, the “Snowbate” program, which allows filmmakers to apply for reimbursement of 20 to 25 percent cash back on production expenditures, a hotline for cast and crew, and a large production directory. Thanks to all of its hard work, the Board attracts productions of all kinds to the state—including animated productions. 

In addition to the film industry, aspiring animators in Minnesota will find ample opportunities to work at literally hundreds of creative agencies, design companies, PR firms, and more. Technology is another active industry here, Minnesota is home to more than 1,000 computer design and information technology firms), as well as game design and development. Interested in teaching part-time? Minnesota is home to around 113 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities (including several dozen community colleges) and nearly 2,500 elementary and secondary institutions.

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Rhode Island is home to around 6,150 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations (ADESM). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has not released estimates for animators in Rhode Island, but judging by the number of production studios, creative agencies, and technology firms in the state, it’s safe to assume that Rhode Island has its fair share of animators. The state also has an active film office, the Rhode Island Film & TV Office, which helps attract productions of all kinds to the area.

So far, the RI Film & TV office has welcomed Hollywood productions such as Hall Pass (2011), Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), 27 Dresses (2008), Dan in Real Life (2007), Dumb and Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), There’s Something About Mary (1998) and most recently, Woody Allen’s Irrational Man (2015). These films and many others help create opportunities for animators to work on movie trailers, advertising, and in other areas of film promotion, as well as production. 

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Film Wisconsin is an innovative non-profit organization and public-private partnership that was created to assist the state’s film, TV, and video game industries. The organization helps attract a variety of major productions, post-production studios, and professionals by offering incentives, easy access to locations, and a hassle-free approval process. Films such as Transformers 3 (2011) and Public Enemies (2009) have filmed here as well as The Amityville Horror (2005) American Movie (1999), The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) and A Simple Plan (1998). Productions such as these have helped put Wisconsin on the map in the film and video industry

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Animation Careers in West Virginia Overview

West Virginia is home to some of America’s most beautiful locations. Blackwater Falls State Park, Highland Scenic Highway (Route 150) in Pocahontas County and Cass Scenic Railroad State Park are just a few. Not only does the state offer beautiful backdrops for just about any film, thanks to the West Virginia Film Industry Investment Act, filmmakers can receive up to 31 percent transferable tax credits. This competitive tool is used to recruit film industry business to the state and it applies to other projects as well including TV films and series, commercials, music videos, and commercial still photography. West Virginia is also home to at least 10 respected film festivals such as Carnegie Film Series & On Screen/In Person, West Virginia International Film Festival, and Cut to the Chase Film Festival.

While the Act, the West Virginia Film Commission, and film festivals attract filmmakers and film productions from across the country, they also promote the growth of production facilities throughout the state. As a result, there are a number of opportunities for animators with a film and video background as well. In addition to the film and video industries, West Virginia animators may find opportunities in advertising, technology, game design, graphic design, and even education. Aspiring animation instructors may find art and design programs at a number of the state’s 25 four-year or 21 two-year colleges and universities. The state is also home to hundreds of secondary schools filled with budding artists.

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Animation Careers in Alaska Overview 

Alaska is home to nearly 3,500 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. Some are craft artists and floral designers, while others are producers and directors or graphic designers. To date, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has not determined the exact number of animators working in Alaska. However, there are quite a few animation and production studios located in main cities such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.  

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