Episode 301 — How to Land Your Dream Job
Episode 301 — How to Land Your Dream Job
How do you land your dream job at your dream studio? You start by having a killer reel. The more you look at the history of the studio, the more you can understand who they’re looking to hire. If you look at what this studio does a lot of, that’s going to dictate what their needs may be. Your reel needs to reflect that.
Be the one person that’s 100% aligned with the type of work that your dream studio does, so you can stand out. When you put yourself in the shoes of the person hiring, you make yourself memorable. So research the place you want to work for. If this is your dream job — you have to align your work with them 100%.
In this Podcast, Allan McKay breaks down the science behind a great reel that can land you your dream job, at your dream studio.
[03:17] Allan Talks About the Inspiration for This Podcast
[05:29] Research Your Dream Studio
[10:55] Research the Staff at Your Dream Studio
[16:10] Research the Dream Studio’s Current Projects
[20:37] Contact Current Artists
EPISODE 301 — HOW TO LAND YOUR DREAM JOB
Hello, everyone! This is Allan McKay.
Welcome to Episode 301! I want to talk to you about landing your dream job, which is a subject a lot of us get wrong! I hope you enjoyed the last Episode with Mike Janda (www.allanmckay.com/300).
I also have a free course on How to Be Profitable as an Artist: www.Branding10X.com. Check it out!
In this Episode, we address the legwork it takes to land your dream job.
Let’s dive in!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
[01:02] Have you ever sent in your reel and wondered why you didn’t get the callback or what the reason was that you didn’t get the job? Over the past 20 years of working for studios like ILM, Blur Studio, Ubisoft, I’ve built hundreds of teams and hired hundreds of artists — and reviewed thousands of reels! That’s why I decided to write The Ultimate Demo Reel Guide from the perspective of someone who actually does the hiring. You can get this book for free right now at www.allanmckay.com/myreel!
[24:19] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com!
HOW TO LAND YOUR DREAM JOB
[03:17] How do you land your dream job at a big studio? I’m looking at a lot of reels right now and none of them are resonating. You want to have a reel that stands out. So let’s solve this problem. This is a big topic that a lot of us get wrong. You want to create “the best reel ever” but most of you just show up. If you are trying to resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one. Why would you spend weeks / months on a reel? You’re doing that without ever thinking about to whom this reel is going.
[04:46] The way I want to do this — is break it down to a science. I want to look at the data. This isn’t something complex.
RESEARCH YOUR DREAM STUDIO
[05:29] Let start with your dream studio:
- What are the needs of that studio?
- Who are they?
- What kind of work do they do?
- What do they do a lot of? And what do they don’t do?
The more you look at the history of the studio, the more you can understand who they’re looking to hire. The first thing to do is do your research. Who is your reel aimed for? A lot of you overlook this even though this is so simple. Instead, you end up making a reel for yourself.
[05:02] If you look at what this studio does a lot of, that’s going to dictate what their need may be. If they do building destruction, most likely they don’t do cute Pixar animations. The studio will often get hired to do the same type of work: It’s their niche, their brand! If you want to work for Scanline VFX, you will see that they do a lot of pyro effects, building destructions and crowd simulations. They don’t do Pixar animation or music videos, or game cinematics. So this gives you the lists of what to do and what not to do on your reel.
[09:29] Your reel has to reflect that. Avoid having a reel with mixed messaging. Be the one person that’s 100% aligned with what they do, so you can stand out. When you put yourself in the shoes of the person hiring, you make yourself memorable. If they’re looking to hire, that’s what they’ll be looking for on reels.
[10:35] So research the place you want to work for. If this is your dream job, you have to align your work with them.
RESEARCH THE STAFF AT THE STUDIO
[10:55] Look at this studio’s previous staff. History tells all. Look at the employees that work for the company (or that used to work there). You can research their resumes on LinkedIn and find out the key words that appear on their resumes. Also, look at their work experience and the places where they’ve worked. Look at their demo reel (which is pretty easy to track) and find what kind of stuff is on it. That reel has done the work for you: This is the type the studio is looking for, both in terms of reel content and employees.
[13:29] Don’t forget to take a look at the specialties that these people have. What are their skills? Then you can start crafting out the profile of their ideal employee. Sometimes, job listings will list things that are just used to weed people out. Even if you don’t meet that qualification, you can still apply if your list of skills matches the skills of their current or former employees. The more you can build those commonalities, the more you can align yourself with their needs. And if there is a skill that you’re missing, you can address that when you send in your reel.
RESEARCH THE DREAM STUDIO’S CURRENT PROJECTS
[16:10] The final thing you need to consider is current projects.
- Look at the projects they’re currently working on.
- Look at their IMDb.
- Look at the company website.
If you’re applying for a job at Scanline, you can see that they worked on Godzilla vs Kong. If that’s what they’re working on, they will be looking for large scale water effects and destruction effects, or creature effects. If they’re working on The Matrix 4, they may be working on sci fi stuff.
[18:29] Look at their website. A lot of studios will list what is “Currently in Production” because that’s their own promotion.
[19:11] Finally, look at their job posts. The studio may not always mention which projects they’re hiring for, but they may mention the skills and effects they’re looking for. All of that gives you better understanding. This gives you specific information. All of this stuff starts to come together.
CONTACT CURRENT ARTISTS
[20:37] You can also contact the artists that are already at that dream studio. You don’t need to be deceitful. You can just ask them for some hints about what that studio may be looking for. You never know — you might actually befriend some of these artists. This is a chance for you to get in on the inside.
[22:08] This sounds so obvious but no one seems to be doing it. Make the demo reel that aligns with what they typically do at your dream studio. Look at the data and eliminate the guesswork.
[22:59] If you really want to work at that studio, why haven’t you done your homework? Why haven’t you created a reel that resonates with them? I want you to really think about this strategically. Do the research and align with the dream studio 100%!
[23:35] If you want to learn more about demo reel, check out the free guide that I’ve published before The Ultimate Demo Reel Guide: www.allanmckay.com/myreel. This book is entirely free in which you’ll learn everything you need to know about reels. It’s my gift to you!
I hope you enjoyed this Episode. Please take a second to share it with others!
Next week, I’m sitting down with Matt Encina who was the Chief Content Officer at The Futur and a Creative Director at Blind. We talk about leaving a job to look for growth and new opportunities.
Until then —
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Money, negotiating, probably two words that build the most tension just at the thought of, other than public speaking.
This guide was designed for Artists – whether you’re a Designer, Illustrator, Matte Painter, Animator, FX, whatever! We all need to get hired for productions, and we all need to get what we’re worth.
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