Want to work in the entertainment industry? Join the club. Jobs in games and film are increasingly popular. 'Wanting a job' is not the same as wanting a specific job. In this week's post we'll explore the difference. I'll warn you right now: this is 'tough love', so brace yourself.
Concept art: by the numbers
Let's pretend your dream job is creating concept art for video games. You're now in steep competition with thousands of other artists for a handful of coveted jobs. As a rule of thumb, concept artists are significantly outnumbered by the 3D artists and animators at their studios. A single concept artist might supply 3 or 4 of their co-workers with designs. In a strict numbers game, joining an art team as a concept artist is harder than doing so as a 3D modeler.
Don't believe me? Try the following experiment. Pick a studio you'd most like to work for. Find their website and search for current open art positions. Is "concept artist" one of them? I didn't think so. From my experience, concept art positions are filled extremely quickly. Some studios are 'always hiring', though your portfolio will really need to stand out.
Know your competition
If you're serious about getting a job, it's important to be realistic about the expectations. This is one of those times where comparing your work to professionals is encouraged. Remember, art directors and hiring managers compare artists portfolios all day long. Your work will cross someone's desk and be immediately compared with other artists. How will yours stack up?
Even though you don't know who else is applying for the position, you might be able to research current or former employees. Who used to be a concept artist at the studio? What does their art look like? This is essential research if you're serious about a position.
Should you give up?
No. If you really want this job -- as in, you can't imagine working another job -- then don't give up. Ever. Knowing the facts is an important first step, so make sure you're being realistic. Once you know the competition, your task becomes more clear. Passion and hard work will overcome the rest of the obstacles. If you want it, prove it.