The next steps


Ok, so now what? 

    It can be a little intense when you reach a big milestone like the completion of a program. You've been in a structured setting with a focused team, working on established tasks, within a proscribed timeline. Suddenly you reach the finish line. After running so hard for so long, you're not sure what to do next. It can feel very lonely, aimless and overwhelming.

    Take heart: you are not alone.

    First, look behind you and reflect upon what started you on this path in the first place. Recall what you were hoping to learn. Along the way you likely discovered skills you didn't even know existed! Look at the very first example of work you created in the program. Maybe a drawing, a simple model or an animation. That was where you started.

    Second, look at where you are right now. Give yourself a moment to take a breath and reflect. Compare that earlier work to your favorite piece you've made in your time here. Quite an improvement from where you started, right? Even if you're starting to think you want to pivot in a new direction it's helpful to acknowledge what you've accomplished so far.

    Third and finally, take a look forward. What do you still want to learn? Have you started thinking about the next big objective? There may be lot of work to reach that next milestone but now you've gathered yourself and are pointing in the right direction: forward.

    I've curated a few helpful hints and resources to help you proceed without my constant nagging and noodling. I've organized them into 3 core concepts: 

    Make a plan, One step at a time, and Help each other.

   Make a Plan

Don't plan too far out as there is a lot of potential for things to change as more time that passes. Start with one week at a time, then one month. For me, one semester is the most I can imagine

Consider the following:
  • What are your objectives?
  • What are the milestones to get there?
  • How much can you actually get done in a day? (Plan for 6 hrs. of actual productive work maximum)
  • Where can you get help and feedback?
  • You'll want to include professional networking, job search and application in your checklist each week.
Start with a simple checklist for the next week. Google keep can work for this. Each Monday, take 30m and map out your weekly 'To Do' list. Arrange items in order of priority, or workflow. At the end of each week, you can review what you've checked off the list. Revise your list as new items occur to you.

*Pro Tip: Keep checked items so you can easily reflect on all that you've gotten done each week.

*Pro Tip: To help you plan scope on any new animations, look at the assignment pages so far and what the timeframe and size of each assignment should be.

Here are some of the things you'll need to get done:
  • More content
  • Demo reel
  • Online profile/website/brand
  • Identify where to get help/support.

More animation content, such as:
Multiple Character Acting Scene (Cody Lyon
Dance or Paired animation (Lana Bachynski) (Marco Sarandi)

Demo Reel

*Pro Tip: Make it easy to access your demo reel. Ideally, make it impossible to overlook - host the video on Vimeo or YouTube and include the link everywhere: your LinkedIn contact info, your ArtStation/Wix/Blog, everywhere

*Pro Tip: Test each other's demo reel, profiles, and website. Don't assume everything works: verify it

Online Profile/Portfolio/Branding

Where to get help/feedback.
Here's some of the pages where I've collected useful tutorials (they're also in the right side links). Let me know what's missing.

Keep using the Discord server to collaborate with your colleagues and give feedback. There are some other useful venues for sharing. Consider starting a Teatime Animation chapter to stay connected, and build an animation community. 

Other useful forums:
Polycount Forums 

If you decide to continue learning online, check out some of the alternatives.

   Take One Step at a Time

There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. Break overwhelming tasks into their simpler bits - things that can be done in a day. This way you have have milestones along with a sense of progress. 
At the end of each day - revise your plan. 
At the end of the week map out your plan for next week.

Break the task into it's smallest steps. Doing this helps you start the work by mapping it out in your mind and thinking through each thing you need to do. This also helps to manage scope, and sustainable working practices. If you aspire to make a 2 min film by not sleeping for the next month, scheduling it out will persuade you to consider a more realistic goal and timeline.

With animation as an example: Doodle out an idea, Gather/Shoot reference, Analyze reference, Camera Layout, Pawn animatic, 1st pass Golden/Story Keys, 1st pass breakdowns, rough timing, *Get feedback*, 2nd pass keys, breakdowns, timing, *Get feedback*, 3rd pass keys/breakdowns, timing, *Get feedback*, In-betweens, *Get feedback*Polish, *Get feedback*, Final Polish. DONE!

Now on to lighting and rendering. Remember to break the steps down a bit for every task. Day long, 'bite size' chunks are best and you'll be devouring elephants with the best of them.

   Help Each Other

None of us is as smart as all of us. - Ken Blanchard

Everything works better when you work in a group. Meet 2x/ week for 1 hour and share your progress. Commit to a fixed time, based on a class time slot you were already available.

Use SyncSketch to look at each other's work.
Post links to the #3d-anim-showoff-feedback channel.

Discord - keep using the correct channels.

Job hunt collaboratively. Post anything you apply for, recommend each other. sign up for, etc

Creative Heads (
Game Developer (
LinkedIn (
Zerply (

8 websites for freelance animators to find work
Animation, VFX and Games Industry Job Postings

If you want to take care of others, you'll need to take care of yourself too.
Remember the basics:

  • Take a 10m break every hour. Drink lot of water
  • Get up and move around
  • Try to get your 8 hrs. of sleep.
  • If you're struggling, there are resources to help you: Canadian Mental Health Association.

You may not be in my class, but that doesn't mean I never want to hear from you. Connect with me on LinkedIn so I can see how you're doing. Send me a SyncSketch link of your work in progress, or even your demo reel. As my time allows, I always like to offer an opinion.

                                               You have all the tools you need. You've got this.

inspirational baby believes in you and so do I.