Interview With A Recruiter: Applying to Studios

success applying to animation studios

I now give you the third and final article of my interview with Anne Denman of Studio B Productions.

She is the Head of Recruitment/HR at the studio and is giving us her advice on what she likes to see come in the doors when she has to do some hiring. You can find the first article on making a good resume here and the second on portfolios here.

Today she talks about applying to studios and getting the job. Cause I just know you want to hear about that. Right? Right?

As before, she’s giving us that glimspe from the ‘other side of the desk’, which is awesome.


Anne’s advice on getting the job:

When visiting or applying to studios, find out the culture of the studio and what the studio does.

Do your homework.

Find out all the recruiters in town. Google the studios.

What have they worked on? Who are the owners? Get information and write it down or put it in your Outlook.

If the studio does mostly ‘family stuff’, then show them family stuff in your portfolio. Research the studio and research the person in HR who does the hiring.

Know their name!! And spell it right. I have gotten letters addressed to “Hi Competing Studio (that studio by name)”.

Not the best way to make a good impression.

(Karen’s note: And it makes you look…you know…stupid!)

Or I get a SPAM email and see everyone else’s email address that the person has sent it to.

Horrible! Unprofessional!

We don’t need to hear sob stories. Don’t say you need this job because your mom is sick or whatever. There are loads of people out there that need work and money.

The studio needs to know that you are the right person for the job and what you can do for them. It’s a business and you’ll get hired because you can do the job.

It depends on the studio of course, but I am very open to meeting people (never on a Monday though!) If you happen to be dropping off a portfolio, you can ask if I am available to meet you. But let’s face it…it’s always better to call or set something up ahead of time. I love to help students.

Keep in mind I am not ‘every other studio’. Some will blacklist you if you “just drop by” when they have indicated they don’t want any drop-ins, ever.

Talk like a pro.

Say “Hey Anne, I’d like to apply as an animator at Studio B because I really like what you’re doing and was wondering if you had any time to meet me to talk about possible work.”

If I ask someone to come in at 9 AM and they pause and say 11, I can’t help but think they are not too into this and they probably just want to sleep in.

Be presentable.

Show up clean and put together and not playing with your nose ring and stuff. If someone comes in and just sits across from me with a glazed, disheveled look and isn’t prepared and doesn’t have anything to say, forget it.

I am always very busy so come ready to impress.

Don’t finish the interviewer’s sentences (which is easy when you’re nervous). Listen. You can get valuable information here.

I am also always open to speaking to anyone who has 3 questions ready to ask to at least get some advice from me. And not that many people do it. Ask me what you can do to improve and listen for an answer.

But do not apologize for your work, ever!

Don’t show your work and say, “Sorry but this is crappy”. Be who you are and be proud of what you do.

Get in touch with me every six weeks. Not more, not less.

Put it in your day planner or add a prompt in Outlook to get in touch with me and others. Just not on Mondays; Tuesday to Thursday is best.

Send stuff in before they need you eg: animation tests and applications for work.

Be ahead of the pack.

Get on their radar before they are busy and swamped.

Then send them a thank you…just like your mum taught you. Manners count! Thank them for the meeting, for the email response, whatever. Showing common courtesy can get you ahead of the pack, believe it or not.

Don’t be an ass on the internet by engaging in negative blog-talk.

Facebook can also be really damaging to people. Recruiters and boss-type people read that stuff too! Your name means a lot. Protect it.

When you get the job, you show up early and you stay until the work is done.

Before you leave you ask the supervisor if there is anything else you can do for them to help them out, etc. This makes a huge impression.

Then, when there are only 3 positions next time instead of 6 and they say, “Who should I hire back?” guess who they’re going to think of?

Don’t be high maintenance.

Work as a team. Be a problem solver, not a problem maker.

When you get in a studio, find out who the best people are and get to know them. Don’t just stick with your usual peer group. Power by association…you are the friends you keep.

Go out of the comfort zone and try to learn and grow from these people. You’d be surprised how much they could be willing to help you out.

Break away from the herd. And absorb from them. Be a sponge.

You have to get your head out of the fact that you’re not a student anymore.

You are now working on getting your next gig and you have to see me as an employer that will give you your next job.

Good luck!

Thanks so much Anne! Let’s all give her a round of applause, shall we?

*clapping * cheering * general woo hooing*

I hope you learned a few juicy tidbits out of this series. Now go put them to good use!


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14 thoughts on “Interview With A Recruiter: Applying to Studios

  1. Gary

    Thanks you so much Karen and Anne. This series will be so helpful in the future. im only starting out at college this september and im 30 years old! so any help i get is god sent.

    Love your Blog!


  2. R.J. Pena

    The questions that this leaves me with, is what do you do when studios make it very clear they don’t want any kind of personal contact whatsoever, as most of the studios I have applied to do. Do you follow the same procedures or just send in an app. and portfolio and come what may?

  3. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Francis – You are more than welcome. Thanks!

    @ R.J. – Yes, Anne is a bit “unique” in her openness to meet people. A lot of studios (especially the big guys) don’t want this AT ALL. That’s why researching where you apply is so important.

    What are their submission guidelines? Find them out and follow them. So unfortunately yes, you sometimes can only just send in your stuff and hope for the best. And your talent has to speak for itself.

    Sucks…I know. 🙂

    @ Gary – Thanks and welcome! Glad you found them helpful.

    And hey, 30 is still young, man. That’s when *I* went back to school and started this career! You can bring a lot more life, work and art experience to the table going back to school when you’re a little older.

    So don’t get hung up on the ‘age thing’. Good luck in the fall! 😉

  4. Aidan Casserly

    Wow. The world is a big and scary place!

    But honestly, this whole series helped a lot. What would be the best way to get in contact with Anne? (In a professional, courteous way, of course). I checked out Studio B Productions and they look like a great bunch.

  5. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Yes. Yes it is.

    Well, there’s a contact page on the Studio B website with an email address for Human Resources…how about that? Research baby! 😉

    (Keep in mind that Studio B pretty much hires locally. Just so ya know.)

    Glad you liked the series!

  6. Friar

    So, let me get this straight. A recruiter is OFFERING to take time out of their busy day, and to meet someone at 9:00 AM….and there are ACTUALLY people out there who’d say no, ..they’d prefer 11:00 ?

    As Cartman would say:


    I have no pity for poltroons like this, if they can’t find a job.

  7. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey Friar,

    While I doubt it happens very often, yes this must happen to her from time to time. I would assume more so when there’s lots of work rolling around. Right now there ain’t.

    But regardless…I’m right there with you. 😉 ( I bet it happens more than we even know in any field!)

    Hmm… why isn’t your avatar showing up?

  8. ScreenwritingforHollywood

    Wow! What thorough and comprehensive interview advice. Really great post.

    To elaborate on some points she covered…

    A recent interview we had where I work, the person must have thought she had the job in the bag because she was completely unprepared, knew nothing, sat slouched back in her chair, and spoke breezy, as if she were having drinks with friends, not directly answering any questions. The 4 of us interviewing her were really turned off — she was way too casual. When applying for work of any sort, professionalism is so important, even if it is your party friends you are interviewing with. Work is work. Partying is partying. Keep them separate!

  9. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hi Jaden,

    Very good advice as well! You really have to wonder what goes through a person’s head when they behave this way.

    Or rather…what *doesn’t* go through their head. 😉

    Real life isn’t FaceBook, people!


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