How To Hire Professional Animators In The US?

Animation is a hugely popular creative medium that can be used across various industries like film, television, gaming, marketing, and more. Whether you’re creating an animated commercial, developing a new cartoon series, or designing animated social media content, professional animators are essential to bringing your visions and stories to life.

However, how to hire an animator with the right and talented one can often feel like an overwhelming process. With numerous artistic styles, technical skills, and portfolio platforms to consider, it’s easy to become lost navigating the expansive pool of animators available domestically.

By following a strategic step-by-step approach, you can efficiently identify qualified candidates that are perfectly aligned with your project needs and work culture. Let’s break down a full methodology for hiring top animators in the United States.

Define Your Animation Requirements and Desired Aesthetic

The process of hire an animator begins by defining exactly what type of animation is required and envisioning the desired visual style. This provides crucial context for candidates to understand your vision. Some aspects to determine upfront include:

  • Type Of Animation – Will it require traditional 2D hand-drawn skills, digital 2D animation talents, 3D computer graphics expertise, or motion graphics experience? Defining the techniques needed helps identify artists with matching portfolios.
  • Project Duration And Complexity – Is it a short 30-second explainer video or a feature-length animated film? The scale dramatically impacts the time commitment and skills required.
  • Artistic Aesthetics – Develop clear style frames, mood boards, or a graphics style guide showcasing preferred colors, character designs, environmental looks, and more. This communicates the look and feel.
  • Key Deliverables And Timeline – Outline precisely what animation assets must be produced, such as animated sequences, characters, environments, or full episodes. Include estimated delivery deadlines.

Taking time at the start to thoroughly understand your animation specifications pays dividends later in evaluating qualified candidates and ensuring a smooth production process.

Search for Experienced Animators

With over 30,000 professional members, the Animation Guild is a valuable first stop for locating highly skilled TV, film, and commercial animators primarily based in North America. Beyond this, popular sites like Upwork and LinkedIn allow the filtering of relevant portfolios from self-employed animators nationwide.

Additional Searching Avenues Could Involve:

  • Check animation job boards and studio websites for aligned open roles.
  • Searching social networks and profiles containing keywords like “animator” paired with targeted location filters like “California” or “New York City.”
  • Asking for referrals from animation schools, industry colleagues, or past hiring managers.

While large talent hubs exist in Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver, animation skills can vary greatly between regions. Location filters help source local artists when required for ease of collaboration.

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Evaluate Technical Talents and Portfolio Fit

Carefully reviewing resumes, showreels, and online portfolios is paramount to evaluating if candidates possess the aesthetic style and technical skills specifically needed. Some aspects to examine include:

  • Sample animation clips directly demonstrating relevant techniques such as hand-drawn, 3D modeling, or motion design abilities.
  • Variety of past projects, clients, and subject matter experience, weighing prominence to your type of content.
  • Formal education backgrounds and depth of self-taught experience. Animation degrees alone don’t dictate skills.
  • Total years within the animation industry, prior roles, and notable past clients for reputational validation.
  • Clear proficiency with specialized software like Toon Boom, Photoshop, Maya, After Effects, or Unreal Engine as needed.

Well-rounded portfolios that most closely match your defined requirements are prioritized. An in-depth examination eliminates unqualified applicants early.

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Conduct Interviewer Screenings

While portfolios indicate technical merits, video interviews prove invaluable for assessing interpersonal soft skills necessary for collaboration. Questions should aim to:

1. Confirm understanding of the described animation vision, deliverables, and style of tonal goals.

2. Measure estimated timelines while balancing quality expectations based on complexity.

3. Evaluate communication approach and comfort levels, providing work samples or mock assets on demand.

4. Gauge organizational abilities essential for managing art assets and workflow.

5. Discuss payment terms upfront and align rates reasonably within project budgets.

Personal chemistry matters just as much as skills when teaming creatively over extended periods. Interviews identify personality compatibility.

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Check References and Request Supplemental Portfolio Assets

  • Validating a candidate’s references and work experience claims is an important part of the hiring process before making a formal job offer. For the shortlisted candidates, we request the following information to conduct a thorough evaluation.
  • Provide two to three recent, directly contactable professional references who were directly involved with and can speak to the quality of the candidate’s work on past animation projects. The references should be able to corroborate the candidate’s role and responsibilities on the projects.
  • Supply supplementary portfolio work samples and assets that are specifically relevant to demonstrating the animation techniques and skills required for the roles. This will allow us to assess the depth and breadth of the candidate’s technical talents as they apply to the requirements of the position.
  • Willingly consent to a basic background and reference check being performed if any issues or inconsistencies are discovered during the initial screening process. We seek to verify the information provided and address any areas that require further clarity or validation by speaking to past clients and managers.
  • The objective is to collect input from past professional associations to confirm positive working relationships while also obtaining additional recent work samples to enable a deeper analysis of the technical competencies and artistic abilities that are most directly applicable to successfully delivering the project at hand. With consent for checks, it also provides an opportunity to clear up minor inconsistencies to make an informed hiring decision.
  • Weighing all accumulated factors of how to hire the animators, including portfolios, demonstrated skills, client feedback, personality-fit assessments, estimated timelines, rates, and reference checks, lets you identify the absolute best animator match to spearhead your production. Extend formal written offers and get the team in place to start animating.

By methodically planning searches, thoroughly vetting candidates, and ensuring cultural alignment, following this hiring process optimizes the chances of selecting exceptionally qualified US-based animation talent suited to deliver exceptional results. Professional animators serve as the lifeblood of visual storytelling – getting these hires right sets any animated project up for success.

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