Have you ever thought about potentially working with a studio to produce anime? Perhaps you’re wondering what it’s like to work at a studio and how you can start preparing yourself for that future. This week’s aninspire will hopefully serve as a useful guide in giving you some background information as well as what you can expect about anime studios.
We had to move to Japan to achieve [our] dream
The first thing you’ll have to keep in mind is that making a show on your own (or even with a few others) will be very expensive. Thomas Romain, a 39-year-old born in France but living in Tokyo to pursue his dream, spent several million Euros to sustain himself as he helped produce a anime titled “Oban Star-Racers”. A majority of his funding came from loans which left him in a precarious situation because if this anime failed, he would be trapped in a life-long debt. Luck was on Romains side and his show became a hit. In later years he would become the Art Director for a wide variety of shows.
For most people, there is simply no way for them to get a hold of that kind of funding and they may lack the proper partners to bring such a project to life. However, you do have another option; applying for a job in a studio.
How competitive is it to join an art studio? Very competitive. As mentioned in an article by Onegai Kaeru, you’ll find that there are at least “50-100 applicants for one opening at a popular anime studio”. While this may seem like a daunting number, there are around 700 anime studios in Japan and they recruit all around the year. By starting at a smaller company, you can build your portfolio and potentially work your way up to a more well-known studio. Here are a few steps you can follow that will help you to find a job.
Not all studios will be able to host a website, making to harder to find out if they’re hiring. However, you may be able to find an email by searching their name or by looking in newspapers.
Check the end credits of an anime that you enjoy. The names of the production companies (studios) involved are always listed. This is a great starting point for finding studios.
And most importantly, keep honing your skills! If you’re curious about how good the other artists are, check out https://www.pixiv.net (You will need to create a profile, and everything is in Japanese, so you’ll have to translate). Be aware that drawing skills are not required to work in a studio. There are various positions that include: Editor, Production Assistant, Director and Composing Artist. Don’t give up on your dream and keep applying.
Getting into a studio can be considered the “easy part”, once you find out that the average work day consists of 18 hours and 160-250 USD per month; noted from an article by Onegai Kaeru. Make sure to bring enough income to sustain you for the first few years that you will spend making a name for yourself. Studios are open 24/7, meetings are held day or night and you have to work just as hard (of not harder) as everyone else to earn their respect. You may also encounter poor management, which can break a studio.
You will, of course, have to learn Japanese. There are very few production staff that understand English and you won’t be hired if you can’t communicate with them.
Keep in mind that this job is one you do to follow your passion. Stay true to yourself and you’ll make a great living out of it. As with anything, it’ll be hard at the beginning but if your push through; you will prevail.
Staying dedicated, quickly acclimating to the studio’s environment and using your cultural background to provide original approaches to problems will almost guarantee your success. By following those three things you will not only succeed in the anime industry but also other endeavors. Don’t give up on your dreams and in turn, they won’t give up on you.
The following articles provide more information about what you already read. If you have the time please check them out!
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