Full-Time vs Freelance Animator Career Potential

Freelance animator can be demanding. You need to be an expert, with talent to match, in order to navigate the technical requirements. The full time animator is arguably under less pressure because they do not have to deal with the pressures of having to do the business side as well. The comparison between freelance and full time is worth consideration because it has direct career applications.

Freelance Animators Basic Issues

Freelance animation is a true freelance job. The freelance animator handles the contracts, deals with the clients and does the work. This can be a very efficient process for experienced animators who are well organized.

In the early career stages, the level of knowledge of the business is a major issue. Getting the right jobs and building a client base can take time, and there are many opportunities for messy situations. The contract factor is another issue. Working with the demands of creative people can be an acquired taste, and in many cases these jobs are strictly for experts only.

Full Time Animators

Although full time animator will have job and income protection, there are some issues with this type of work as well. Working in any organization can mean a certain amount of career immobility. Promotions are not regularly scheduled. Although full timer animators do have a lot of job mobility in theory, actually getting the right jobs is difficult in an extremely competitive market.

The major issue for expert animators in full time jobs is the lack of opportunities. A job may be a basic production role, using very few of the animator’s skills, and not delivering on career goals. These jobs are good for experience and as portfolio materials, but not necessarily what a professional animator wants to be doing for years on end.

The Common Elements in Freelance and Full Time Jobs

Career and income demands can be very similar for both the freelancer and full timer, the professional elements are almost identical. Career progression for animators generally involves:

  • A very strong commercial and creative portfolio
  • Clear technical skills and capacity
  • High quality work in a business-based production
  • Industry profile (For experts, where competition is extreme)

The need for animators, in any type of job, is the chance to get these essential career assets. Full time jobs may never deliver on these needs, which is one of the reasons for a fairly regular turnover in the full timers in production.

Freelancers have no restrictions on the work they do. The natural progression is to build on past work and steadily improve their career positions.

Income and Career Opportunities

Many full timers turn freelance, and some freelancers turn full time. The most typical reason for any employment change is financial. This is typical artist’s work, and the bottom line has to be watched at all times in both types of job. Freelance animator work can be very rewarding, but that’s usually at the top end of the scale. Taking the odd full time job covers all the angles. Some freelancers often do both types of work very effectively.