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Starting out - short film or stick to animation tests

I have been interested in stop motion since a very young age and have been experimenting at home with Dragonframe. I am now 21 and after studying model making for 3 years at college, I want to follow a path which will hopefully lead to a career in stop motion animation. I have already applied to two animation courses in the past two years, both of which I didn't get into unfortunately. I think what is key to getting a job is a good showreel, however I don't know if I should just focus on animation tests or embark on a short film project. I have actually had many ideas for short films (most of which I have actually posted on here), but I get demotivated really easily as it is a huge undertaking for one animator. My ideas seem to be very elaborate with more than one set (which of course has to be constructed) and I find myself having a huge list of things to tick off. Does anyone else find starting out a bit daunting and also is there anyone on the same boat as me that has any tips for what steps to take? I would appreciate any advice from the pro's too, any advice at all!

Thanks 

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What?!! Wasted good years, and you are only 21!? If you are serious, then play the long game, take a look at what you intend to be doing in 5 or 10 years from now and work towards it. Improve the things you are poor at, hone the stuff you do well. 

If your aim is a job, then you need to do the things that get you hired for that role, so animate if you want to be an animator, build sets and puppets if you want to fabricate.

And if your motivation is to tell stories in your own way, then you have to accept that it will be in your own time and expense, but maybe you get noticed at a film festival, 5 million views on youtube etc...or maybe it is a story that just has to be told, and by you.

Yes, don't think about it, start!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Attributed to Goethe, but only the last part of it is. Who cares!


Angus Lamont said:

Thanks Dennis. That's the worry, even now I feel like I have wasted some good years when I could have been actually making something instead of thinking about it and worrying if I'll be able to do it.

Dennis Heinzeroth said:

Hey Angus, follow you're dreams and don't let anyone tell you differently. Otherwise, you'll end up regretting that you didn't "go for it" when you had the chance. Do one thing on that list and it will get shorter each time. Eventually, you'll accomplish your goal.

The alternative is that you'll find yourself 30 years down the road, kicking yourself for not pursuing your passion and trying to play catch-up with nowhere to go but a dead end street.

Go! Fight! Win!

Never give up! Never surrender!

Dennis

If you want to find a job as a writer or storyboard artist, finished films would make more sense, but if your focus is animation and puppets, definitely go for them.

Most of the scenes in my demo reel are from unfinished projects and weekend tests. When people are looking for animators, they want to see your animation, period. If they need to hire a puppet master, they will want to see some puppets. And so on.

Like Nick said: pick one cool scene and make just that, very very well. Focus!

Thanks Daniel. I think I'll take that advice and stick to a particular scene -  now to think of something interesting!

Daniel Wernëck said:

If you want to find a job as a writer or storyboard artist, finished films would make more sense, but if your focus is animation and puppets, definitely go for them.

Most of the scenes in my demo reel are from unfinished projects and weekend tests. When people are looking for animators, they want to see your animation, period. If they need to hire a puppet master, they will want to see some puppets. And so on.

Like Nick said: pick one cool scene and make just that, very very well. Focus!

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