In order to prepare you for how a typical production environment operates, here is a basic outline on how we'll run the class. At the start of each class you let the production staff (which may just be your instructor) if you need help, need more work, need some feedback or don't need anything.


Brad understood that nothing is more destructive
than a very entitled person who doesn't get exactly
what they want, right when they want it.
    H/W/F/A (help/work/feedback/all good)

A quick way to triage artists at the start of the day to improve productivity. (please: in order of urgency)

"I need..."

1. HELP. I'm stuck and cannot proceed due technical issues or need of instruction. (not feedback) 
2. WORK: I have completed all assigned tasks and have literally nothing to work on.
3. FEEDBACK: I have completed all my notes and want a review of my work.
4. ALL GOOD. I'm 5x5 and am working on something cool to show you soon.

    The expectation within production is that you will show your work regularly,

Artist Responsibilities and Expectations

  • Log changes in Shotgrid or SyncSketch
  • Respond promptly* to emails, IMs and Shotgrid or SyncSketch notes.
  • Be clear, concise and thorough in your written messages.

    "You're part of a team"
  • Help your fellow artists: answer their questions, direct them to useful resources.
  • Use Discord to stay in contact (Shotgrid = task specific note keeping)
  • At all times be professional and courteous with your teammates.
  • Share suggestions with your teammates where appropriate (see "Stay in your lane")

    "Pay attention, take notes"
  • There will be documentation to read, tutorials to watch, emails and chats. Please read everything thoroughly.
  • When you receive feedback, write it down. Use doodles where helpful.

    "Show regular progress"
  • Show work at all times, not just "when it's ready'.
  • When you're unable to show work, be sure to let the team know. (see meet your deadlines)

    "Ask questions"
  • Be sure you understand what you're doing and what your objectives are.
  • If you don't know your deadline, ask.
  • Know what's happening before your shot and afterward.
  • Let the leads know what you'd like to work on.
  • If you're having trouble, seek help and guidance
  • When you're ready for feedback, submit your work.

    "Always have stuff to do"
  • The moment you're idle, you are responsible to communicate that to the team.
  • Find a task needing done and offer it as a suggestion.
  • Try to have at least two things to work on at all times.
  • If there is something blocking your progress, 'flag' it and shift to another task.
  • If you're waiting on feedback, work on something else.

    "Respond promptly and effectively to feedback"
  • Remember that the goal is to serve someone else's creative vision.
  • The work isn't done until you've addressed all the notes.

    "Stay in your lane"
  • Ask a supervisor before you do work outside your assigned role.
  • Only work on the tasks you've been assigned to.
  • Don't 'direct' your fellow artists and don't create material on their behalf.
  • Creating extra material, tests, or funny takes only happens when you're 'off the clock'.

    "Meet your deadlines" 
  • Know when your work is due.
  • Manage your time effectively. 
  • If you need more time and you can't hit a deadline, communicate it early.

    "Follow the pipeline"
  • Stick to approved workflows, methods and tools: other people inherit your scene.
  • Everything named correctly, in the right format, in the right place.

Supervisor Responsibilities and Expectations

    "Create a positive, growth-oriented environment"
  • Know strengths/weaknesses of your team and assign tasks accordingly.
  • Help your artists develop their abilities.
  • Be positive, encouraging, patient. Inspire and coach.
  • Don't micromanage, don't coddle.

    "Be a good Manager"
  • Don't play favorites. No politics, no games.
  • Don't pass the buck.
  • Set reasonable expectations.
  • Solicit feedback and be open to critique/suggestions.

    "Communicate clearly and frequently"
  • Give regular, scheduled feedback.
  • Drawings are worth 1000 words.
  • Showing is better than telling: demonstrate, give examples.

     "Know what you want"
  • Have a plan in place before an artist starts to work.
  • Understand the project as a whole and how each part fits.
  • If you change your mind, be clear that's what you're doing.
  • .
    "Be honest"
  • If an artist is underperforming, let them know how to improve.
  • If work doesn't meet the project standard, tell the artist.
  • Keep the team informed on what's really going on. 
  • If you make a mistake, own it.

Advice I shared on being a team leader:

1. You don't have to respond immediately. Give yourself time to think and digest before you comment/respond/decide. You can even say 'hmm I need to think about this for a moment" (see 4)

2. Try to start with questions. This gives you more time to think, (see number 1). It also gives you more context and insight while providing others opportunity to share their perspective. 

3. Stay positive. Encourage your artists. Speak first about what you like, what is working, etc. Even when there are issues, focus on what the next steps are to move forward. 

4. Be transparent. If the work is looking rough, be honest that it's below expectation. If an artist is not pulling their weight, let them know what is required. If asked directly about information you have but cannot share, you can say '"I know a bit, and will share what I can when I'm permitted"

5. Conversations work better than email. So much can be lost or misinterpreted in written communication. If you need a written record, have a chat, and then follow up with an email that summarizes what was discussed.

6. Stay humble. You don’t know everything, and you never will. If you remember this, you’ll always be able to learn more.

7. Give credit. If someone is doing great work don’t miss a chance to acknowledge it, especially with superiors.

8. Accept responsibility. Don’t pass the buck. Own your missteps and learn from them.

9. Know your limitations. It’s ok to take on new challenges if you’re honest about your current abilities.

10. It only works if you delegate. While it’s sometimes easier to ‘do it yourself’ it’s not scale-able and you’re preventing others from developing necessary skills. 

Terminology for Animation.

Tools and Tech

SHOTGRID (formerly Shotgun) 

    This is the standard tool in animation production for tracking and organizing the work of multiple artists. Communication is a huge part of a professional artist's role, so start these habits early and make them a part of your everyday activity. 

    We'll be using this tool less as we start to use Shotgrid more. Occasionally when video markups and draw-overs are needed the tools here cannot be beat. Most feedback info needs to stay on Shotgrid so that everyone involved in the project can see the feedback.