In 2009 I graduated from UCA Farnham with a degree in Animation, and now I’m lucky enough to be working in the video and animation industry at Napoleon Creative.  But looking back, was it all luck?

Essentially it took a little bit of initiative and A LOT of listening.

The first freelance work I got was a compositing at th1ng in Soho. Technical skills aside, I think there were two main reasons that led to me getting this work.

1. Around January 2009 a trip was organised by one of our tutors for a group of students to visit animation studios in London, including th1ng. The producer showed us around, told us about how the studio runs and showed us some of the different projects that they were working on.

2. On the week that we handed in our final project, I decided to take a trip to London to visit some animation studios and hand deliver my CV and showreel. It was a stab in the dark, but it paid off. When I walked into th1ng I happened to bump into the same producer. We spoke briefly about a project they needed help with, she remembered our visit with Andy and I started working for them a week later!

If the producer hadn’t been around, I’m pretty sure my CV and showreel would have ended up in a pile somewhere and wouldn’t have been seen. However if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to visit the studios and deliver my CV and showreel then I wouldn’t have been in a scenario where the luck could have happened.

So, if I was to give advice to any students or recent graduates…

Take your opportunities. If trips are being organised for you, please make the effort to go. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

Take some initiative.  Admittedly it’s a little demoralising walking into 20 animation studios and getting ignored, but if you get to speak to just one producer or production manager then it will be worth it. Do something that sets you apart from the rest.

Make your own luck. If you don’t take your opportunities and you don’t take any initiative then you won’t create a situation where you might get that lucky break.

Over the past year at Napoleon Creative I’ve worked on many projects and learnt huge amounts about the industry. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be involved in the running of the cv4tv site. All the further advice I would be able to offer can be found on here.

Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with over twenty year's experience. His courses on finding work in the creative industries has helped hundreds of Film and TV Crew win more work.

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