Episode 11! Reaching out to studios for work

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December 11, 2014
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Episode 11! Reaching out to studios for work


Here is a link to visit in iTunes – please feel free to leave a rating or review – always grateful!


Crafting the ultimate job letter and how to position and qualify yourself

This episode dives into some of the core concepts of writing a strong cover letter or email to reach out to studios for work. This can make the difference between whether your email actually gets read and if your reel gets seen, and how to have invisible threads that help you promote yourself without sounding like you’re bragging.

Check out the show notes at http://www.allanmckay.com/11/ and leave a comment on any experience you’ve had or thoughts you have on this subject! I’d love to hear it and I promise to read every response!

Over the weekend I will start sending emails occasionally related to these episodes – for instance I will be sending a few exclusive email scripts – showing actual emails I use to reach out to studios for work. For those of you who do sign up for all this exclusive free content: I just ask that you keep it to yourself, as your private bag of tricks, and for example with the email scripts don’t just copy and paste these emails and reword them a little – that’s not what these are for and they will benefit noone doing this if everyone starts sending word for word identical emails. Learn the general concept of strong communication and positioning – and apply it to your own emails, deconstruct what I’ve written and learn from it. That’s all I ask! Enjoy guys!



  1. Roman says:

    Hey Allan,

    kudos on your podcast.
    Do I have to sign up once more for that special Email?

    keep up the good work.


    • amckay says:

      Thanks guys! Roman as long as you’re on the VIP list you should receive it, I’m going to be starting to send a lot more goodies out soon so keep an eye out!

      • Mark says:

        I’m loving the podcast! The info is really helpful at this point in my career. Sorry that I’m getting to this a bit late, but just recently found your podcast so I missed the mailers the first time around. I’ve signed up for the VIP list, but is there a way to get the email/PDFs for previous episodes I missed?

  2. Miloni says:

    Thanks Allan,
    The talk was helpful. I am a recent graduate and was dealing with issues like how to sell myself in email. I also have trouble in how much information to give in email about a job you did in the past. Like your role and every single bit? And another question is if you do multiple roles would you mention them all? Would people think you are indecisive?

    • amckay says:

      Miloni Thanks so much and as for saying too much in an email, I like to make it more a conversation, I think giving too much information, especially the things that you are more self conscious about (whether its visas or not enough experience, relocation or learning new software, whatever it might be) I prefer the first email to be more selling them on you, and getting the conversation going. From there people are more open to the fine details, but giving it all to them at once can be a bit overwhelming, as well as lose your key message – coming in full swing with “here’s who I am, this is what I can do” and from there once they say “ok cool you sound great!” you can then drip feed in more information and paint more of a picture.

      As for covering a lot of specialties, I always say own one of them, have a strong definition of who you are as one discipline, and then tape the others onto that. So “I’m a character animator – but I can also light, model and do fx too..” defines your key strength but it also gives more opportunity if for instance they don’t need an animator right ‘now’ but they do have a lighting position available, or they see it as great that person can animate.. plus they can also model if we don’t have animation work, this person sounds like a better candidate than the other animators who just animate. That definitely brings value to the smaller studios where artists typically will need to juggle various roles.

  3. Nathalie Zamora says:

    Hi Allan,

    Thank you for the great podcast, what I gem I’ve found!

    I hear your advice is alway to mention in an email the number of years of experience, and commercial projects that one has been involved with. I have a question though. I am a recent graduate too, and I don’t have any real studio experience on my back. So I wonder what is the best way to approach a hiring manager, or producer? How can I present myself without ringing the alarms of “lacking experience, so this person is not capable to do the job” kind of thing?

    It would be nice if you do a podcast giving advice to recent graduates, or people who lack experience, but who are more than willing to land their first job in the industry.

    Thank you,


    • amckay says:

      Hi Nathalie! thank you! And it’s more about highlighting your qualities. If you don’t have the experience, look at maybe what other qualities you have that you can approach with, and it might sound silly – but ask the people around you that know you and your strengths. Both your personality but also the work you do. People might say you’re really fast, dedicated and pick things up quick, or you might have had an opportunity to work on a recent short or intern somewhere. Whatever you think is your strongest foot to lead with.

      Depending on the area of 3D you’re in or vfx etc. Proving you can do the job is the big one. It is always a gamble bringing people in who haven’t got industry experience because there’s a big difference between typically industry work and what you do leading up to it, so for instance being able to demonstrate you can integrate your shots into live action footage – so you understand the entire process (if you are looking to get into film or tv) I personally would be more confident hiring you because I can see that you get it, and you understand the process and you can do it. So that is really important.

      You will need to think about the type of emails they typically get, and obviously there’ll be a lot of recent graduates, so setting yourself aside from the others is always important.

      I’m not sure what your strengths are or if there are some big achievements you’ve made, but transparency cab sometimes be a good approach too- by sending them an email and say that you’re interested in working for their company, you want to know what are the areas that they really look for in a good candidate, you’re hungry and eager and you really want to work for them! It’s not the best approach, but if you don’t have too many strengths just yet to fall back on in terms of experience etc. By asking them questions rather than just saying ‘yo, hire me!’ it starts a conversation, which already gets you some of their time, and the more time they invest in you the more they’re going to let their guard down and both actually want to look at your work as well as think of you when opportunities come up. Plus you’re saying you really want to work for them and you are willing to do whatever it takes, sometimes that initiative is very powerful as people firing out resumes to every company is one thing, but by reaching out that you want to be a part of ‘their’ company is a lot more personable and shows a lot of incentive to go the extra step.

      I’ve had a few people recently have a lot of success with actually reaching out to people at the company and not directly applying for work, however then through asking questions and building that relationship suddenly when jobs come up (this has happened to three people I know in the past month) they’ve found a great opportunity to get into the company before anybody else. So finding a way to not fall into the same category as the others applying with you – is very powerful.

      When it comes down to it – networking and marketing yourself is just as important and if sending emails isn’t working, try seeing if there is any CG meet up places or events coming up, anywhere where you can network and find others in the industry, it’s very valuable and it’s the best way to really build those contacts.

      Lastly – breaking into the industry takes time, it’s definitely hard at first and we all have those moments of ‘this is never going to happen’ so use your time carefully – network everywhere, and get on forums, if you hear of people working on a short film or doing something cool you can be a part of, jump on it – the more experience you get and the more material you get that shows you can work with a team and do great stuff, you’re just strengthening your toolkit.

      Good luck!

  4. Dav says:

    Hi Allan,

    I’ve not been receiving any calls from any studio despite of sending tons of mails.After i heard your podcast,i wrote up a new mail and sent again to studios.Since then i’ve been receiving calls from almost every studio i sent the mail to.Your podcasts are great.

    Thank You

    • amckay says:

      That is awesome! I have heard so many great success stories from people getting promotions to big jobs, that is so great man congratulations! Cheers to 2015, and happy new years! I will return in the NY with more of those episodes and hopefully more PDF’s and other great stuff! Thanks Dav!

  5. OM says:

    Thank you so much for sharing it. Expecting more later

  6. Fumi says:

    I just graduated and in school honestly you aren’t really taught how to actually apply for work, make contacts and just network. I know I can’t expect to learn everything from school and even professors probably just don’t know that conversations like this is actually more useful then another animation class . This is just an “Oh” moment every time I hear it. Never heard such useful information this awesome and great! I felt lost after graduating and received alot of turn downs or no response at all. My response is that I just got to work harder and kick out better pieces and sleep less. However that is not quite the response though all that may be true, the response is what you are answering in this podcast. Thanks!

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