Insights for Non Artists:
The Show's Over: Now What?
the news. The show's not meeting its target demographic. The merchandise
isn't selling. Or the company hasn't decided to renew for additional
episodes. Whatever the reason, the outcome's the same. The show
you've worked on for months, maybe years, has reached the end
of its run.
So where do
you go from here?
on how and when the news comes down, you may have days, weeks,
or months to spring into action. First off, make sure your resume
is up-to-date and error-free. Competition's tight and you don't
want bad appearance bringing you down. Secondly, don't fear picking
up the phone or talking to your co-workers and finding out what
shows they know about.
I came to know this firsthand.
of 2001, I came onboard Invader Zim at Nickelodeon as a Production
Coordinator. In January 2002, our order was cut back and I was
given three weeks left to work. Some people, because of the stage
the production was at, were given more and others less because
their roles on the show (on the new timetable) were coming to
an end. I've built up a fair amount of contacts over the past
five years, but what amazed me most was talking to people, hearing
people talk to other people, and realizing how many people in
the industry I don't yet know. People do cross paths over and
over, but don't fool yourself into thinking you know everyone.
it before and will again -- network, network, network. It's times
like this that are the reason why. Also, if you know of openings
on a show that aren't right for you but are for others, share
the news. People do remember that and may do the same for you
in the future.
If your savings
or severance is adequate enough, definitely take a break. Getting
away to reassess and let it all out, if need be, can be very healthy.
Admittedly, though, this is a luxury and one I myself have not
really had. I went months without work, but I actively pounded
the pavement at every step.
you have to take an entertainment industry job that isn't animation
because that's what's available. Depending on your career stage,
this isn't necessarily a step backwards. For someone who's spent
years being in timing, or worked his or her way up the producer
ranks, it might be more problematic. Personally, I had a four
year gap between one animated series and the next. Though largely
I made that choice in order to go to school, many of the things
I learned still apply. In those years, I worked as an Administrative
Assistant for a store that specializes for writers and filmmakers,
as well as at Michael Ovitz's now-folded Artists Television Group
(a live-action production company). Things I learned seeing the
industry from different points of view I can apply to understanding
how animation companies work. So if the animation work isn't there,
don't fear spending time in marketing, public relations, live-action
production or any other area if they'll take you.
had my share of non-industry jobs. After I left Sony, I did temporary
employment for that next year. This exposed me to many types of
business, and if nothing else helped me earn money while building
up my appreciation for knowing animation was where I wanted to
be. It's also great as a writer to be able to learn about industries
I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to.
of the above scenarios happen, keep in touch with your animation
contacts. You never know when opportunity will come. Sometimes,
though, it does take a bit of patience.
of Invader Zim made me realize that all of my articles prior to
this, while accurate, may have presented the industry with rose-colored
glasses. Don't be fooled, it's harsh and ugly and you never know
what may happen. That said, if it's in your blood, don't ignore
the call. I can tell you by experience that if you're prepared
to roll with the punches, the rewards are well worth it. I felt
happier with my four months at Invader Zim than I've been in the
four years I was out of the industry.
here to discuss this column (and share your
ideas) in the dFX Forums.
is known in the animation industry for her work as a production
coordinator for Nickelodeon's Invader Zim. She also served as
a Production Coordinator for Extreme Ghostbusters and a Production
Assistant for Jumanji: The Animated Series. Muir is an accomplished
writer and often participates on panels or as a guest speaker
at conventions like Comic Con International.
to Los Angeles in 1996 from Cheney, WA (population approximately
8,000), knowing she wanted to be part of the animation business.
Since then, she's never strayed far from making that dream reality,
whether it be actively working on a production or writing articles
about the industry.
You can email
Shannon Muir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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