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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » For any that passed a freelance board test, when were you contacted? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: For any that passed a freelance board test, when were you contacted?
jeffnevins
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Don't mean to be nosy, but I figured this is the only place I can turn. And where I live/what I do hinges on whether I call.

It's been a week- anyone know if is this a good thing? I've held off calling til now- should I give in and call?

Thanks-

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http://www.tangerinepop.com/GraveShift2/

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jeffnevins
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I'm keeping life in perspective, though. Balanced life. Humor: like Milli Vanilli once recorded: "Baby- don't forget- my number."

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My game art & animation-
http://www.tangerinepop.com/GraveShift2/

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Methuselah
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Jeff, I'd go ahead and call and see what's going on. It can't possibly hurt(if they're interested they will NOT say "Oh-that guy's pushy, he's asking about that test-forget HIM"), and it'll give you peace of mind.

Not hearing for a week could mean anything-that they're still deciding, that they are going to pass and haven't gotten around to calling you back, that they haven't looked at the test yet, etc.-so you might as well call and see-that's your right-you did the test!

Personally I'd always heard(or maybe I was telling myself)that it was good not to be a "pest"-but on the other hand, I know several stories of people that were on the edge as far as the hiring guys were concerned who'd call & call and pester-and guess what? They got hired, eventually. If you're courteous and persistent as well as GOOD, you can tip the balance. Sometimes.
Good luck! and keep plugging away.

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Christian
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If they tell you a time they will contact you and they don't contact you by that time then, in my mind, it is okay to get back in touch with them. If they then think you are being a pest then they are just stupid. Hate to put it so bluntly but a recent experience is influencing my words. But one of the best jobs I ever had took a while to get back to me and there was a period of time when I was sure they had forgotten about me and hired somebody else . . . but they eventually got back to me.
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SoleilSmile
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Jeff, it could be three weeks. Do you know of anyone there who is a producer? Anyone with power? I remember doing a test for Sony and got the guts to call up the producer who was a friend of mine. He was very happy to hear from me, and once he knew it was really me who submitted the test and the portfolio he said I would recieve a call by that afternoon. Here was the reason: there are bunch of jerks out there submiiting work that isn't their own. Karen Fisher of Daria tols me the same story. So though your test may have made the grade those who arein charge of hiring may discussing whether or not someone else may have done your test for you or not. Or they may be doing other things. Who knows? Something new may have been added. But, call 'em up and bug them. If not to be a pest then at least to establish a positive relationship.

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jeffnevins
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Thanks. Really appreciate hearing from other animators on this. Sorry if I'm the only one that posts about applying to places- maybe this is a personal issue for many. I'll call-

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My game art & animation-
http://www.tangerinepop.com/GraveShift2/

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Christian
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quote:
Here was the reason: there are bunch of jerks out there submiiting work that isn't their own
But if they do that and get the job from having cheated isn't it going to become apparent sooner or later that they don't have the chops? And if they do have the skills necessary what's preventing them from submitting their own work? And why doesn't the studio sit down with an applicant and say, "Okay, draw me something right now."?
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SoleilSmile
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All of that takes TIME Christian. Time is an elelment that most studios do not have plenty of. So, people just hire who they know ann know well. I remember working at Disney and the recruiters had to coax the artists with expensive lunches just to have them browse portfolios.

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Christian
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Okay, but if somebody gets a job by submitting stolen artwork isn't it going to become apparent sooner or later that they don't have the necessary skills? And if they do have the necessary skills what's preventing them from submitting their own work? Maybe these are just rhetorical questions.
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SoleilSmile
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I thought I answered that question. Part of point of the whole recruiting anxiety nightmare (the long wait) is to determine whether the work in geniunely the submitters or not. That's why it's so important to know someone who works at the studio you're applying to. Hasn't your producer ever come around to your desk and asked whether you knew someone or not without telling you that it's an applicant they're inquiring about?

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Christian
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I wish I could say yes.
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SoleilSmile
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Dealing with recruiting is a pill. I still have hear back from Pixar about whether or not my 2D pre-production experience excludes me from this Summer's Intership or not. One would think the guidelines are self explanatory but to me there are little holes.I'm student and yes I have industry experience--but not in 3D. I still don't know how the 3D pipeline works so I feel I shouldn't be disqualified.
Here's a story: I applied for Pixar four years ago and got an interview. However, I was interviewed for a completely different job than I applied for ( stop me if you heard this one). I got the poor art director and his prodcuer up at 9 o'clock in the morning just to tell them that they would be better off hiring my teacher because my cleanup line sucks. I applied for a layout position not a model pack artist position. Afterwards the recruiting department forgot to give me follow up on the interview or about the story position Mr. Eggleston was going to try to find for me. I had to call them!
Just goes to show that the interview process isn't much better.So you bug those recuriting peolple so they won't forget you!
GO! Jeffy! GO!

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Methuselah
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it's a huge help knowing someone at a studio one's applying to, no question-but I've never run across a big problem with aspiring artists having to "prove" whether the work submitted was theirs..? If you don't know the artist whose portfolio you're reviewing, the first(or that last)thing you discuss isn't ever "did they really draw this?"...the only way I could ever see that coming up is if the people reviewing do know the applicant, and think the work in the book doesn't resemble what you remember they could do--oh--OR, if(as has happened to me)the person applying shows obviously traced work-believe it or not, this happens too-in my experience, rarely, but it happens. I've reviewed a book that contained things drawn from work another artist had done, on the same show they were applying to-not model sheet drawings, mind you, but layouts the original artist had done for a particular scene(they'd had access to the drawings from working there in another, non-artist position)! You never know who is going to look, so cheating like this is always a horrible plan. Although it's true, Jeff, that at certain studios where the hiring is desperate or sloppy have hired people who probably didn't do all the work in their books. What happens is that they slog through, probably struggling, then get laid off, never to be rehired by the same team again.
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SoleilSmile
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Oh and another thing Jeff. Before you return to the Bay Area, keep in mind that the studios around here always seem to want progrmammers and managers and rarely just straight artist positions. It's a real pain how companies up here are always desperate to fill those positions. Senior this and senior that. I rarely see such requirements on L.A. job boards.
'Must be nice to be in L.A. and just ben an artist and hone your skills with every project.

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StephG
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I don't buy that whole "we want to make sure the work is yours" routine. For example, what possible excuse could a studio have for asking an artist to take a test that has worked on not just one, but several shows for them already?

In the name of fairness to those whose work they're unfamiliar with (and thus forcing artists to work for free and invest time that shouldn't be necessary for them to invest)?

It's just another form of unnecessary humiliation for artists. Does management ever have to take a test to show that they actually know how to manage? I think not.

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SerafinsGirl
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StephG, couldnt agree more. I will *never* take a storyboard test for TV.

My boyfriend, who is also a board artist, was contacted by Cartoon Network to work on Foster's and they told him he would have to take a test first. He refused, and they immediately backpeddaled and straight out offered him the job.

If you are an established, experienced artist, don't ever let a studio treat you as anything else.

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Methuselah
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Serafins' G., very very good advice-but you know how it is when you desperately need the job;(not saying Jeff is desperate-but I have been , on occasion)...that said: my anecdote-

I was sought out for a job at a big, established studio(the one with the 3-circles-make-a-face corporate logo)some years ago. The person(artist/director) wanting to hire me knew me, everything was cool, but I hadn't quite made up my mind about taking the job. Lo! I get a call from the people in the recruitment department, who had asked that I turn in my portfolio as part of the rigamarole, which I'd done some weeks earlier. Even though the job had been offered and money talked about, etc.-the recruitment guy called and said "Hey! We would like you to take a test". My knee-jerk response, without even thinking, was (my exact words)"No. I'm an experienced professional, I've worked FOR YOU before doing this same job, and I don't need to take a test. No way." Immediately he replied, "Oh! Sure! You don't have to take a test-that's fine." ??! After I hung up, I had to laugh-if I hadn't been caught off guard, I probably would have considered it(well...then again, probably not). But what was the "importance" of a test if this guy just immediately backed off about it?! Makes it seem like a real piece of busywork, doesn't it? Just some way for an artist to be processed through the system. I think tests are perfectly valid IF the applicant is A)new & unheard of at the place he's applying to, with no resume, or B)is applying for a different position he hasn't had much experience in yet-i.e. an animator switching to storyboarding. But I suspect that some of these tests are pretty bogus.

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CavePainter
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The only reason why this test-taking thing is becoming all the rage is because the people who are making the hiring decisions do not have enough of a clue of what they see in someone's portfolio, so they wanna hedge their bets and make 100% sure theyre hiring the right person. Many of these folks dont actually know what a good portfolio is for the position they're hiring.

Most artists in today's industry can't say no.

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SoleilSmile
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Sometimes tests are good to determine whether or not an artist is right for a show.Many artist have a hard time working within the context of certain genres. I was let go from Pinky and the Brain for being the wrong genre. I also had a misrerable time at Futurama because I didn't get the jokes and hated the main male characters. I have feeling if I had just did a better job on the Spongebob test instead if throwing the producer a "bone" because I was hired at Rough Draft without doing a test, I could've save myself and Rough Draft a huge headache.Boy, that job was nightmare!

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CavePainter
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That's definitely true, SS... working in a studio in almost any position is like being an illustrator... you have to be able to switch styles and be able to duplicate a look or style.... sometimes it just doesn't click with you. Still though, you'd think all that (the flexibility to work effectively in multiple diverse styles) would be apparent in an artists portfolio.

Its really too bad that artists are being expected to drop up to a week of their life to complete these tests for a studio, when these same studios dont even have the decency to reply with a phone call or even a stupid postcard. (heck, most artists would even spring for the postage!)

I know people that took a weeklong animation test for a high profile TV series (for a studio that shall remain nameless) and some artists never even got any feedback whatsoever as to whether the studio liked their test or not. Thats just lazy and its really sad for artists (like our topic starter, here).

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SoleilSmile
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Not only is animation artist required to switch styles but an animation artist has to be able to act for a variety of roles. Animators are actors on paper. I can draw just about any cartoony style but I sure as fudge can not act for most of the genres out there. It's the main thing that keeps me out of the industry ( aside from not living in L.A.)

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jonhoops
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quote:
I know people that took a weeklong animation test for a high profile TV series (for a studio that shall remain nameless) and some artists never even got any feedback whatsoever as to whether the studio liked their test or not. Thats just lazy and its really sad for artists (like our topic starter, here).
Why should they remain nameless? I would prefer knowing what studios to avoid. If people stop applying because of this kind of treatment it might send them a message.
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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Well, I always end up showing up in these threads as a pro-test artist.

In my experience, you just cannot tell if someone will be right for your show by a portfolio...there are so many other factors involved, especially when it comes to storyboards. Some people have fantastic portfolios, but are so far off the mark on every level when they take a test....and when you're in the middle of a hectic production schedule, you pretty much need someone who can take the ball and roll with it.....I'm not saying tests should be 100% - that'd be unfair...but there's at least got to be a seed there...a connection to the material...something that says "this guy can take direction and will pick it up in no time". Honestly, I've seen stacks and stacks of awful tests from artists w/ great portfolios...I dunno why they test so awful...*shrug*

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jonhoops
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quote:
..I dunno why they test so awful...*shrug*
Perhaps they just do a half assed job on the test because no one likes to work for free. Especially if they have had prior experience that doing a test has not resulted in a job. When these tests ask for up to a weeks worth of work for nothing... what do you expect.

And the job will usually go to someone the director knows anyways.

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SoleilSmile
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quote:
And the job will usually go to someone the director knows anyways.
Not really. I tested into Disney. I really enjoy their tests. It's another way to determine that YOU will really like your job and communicate well with your director.

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Methuselah
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The operative word here is "usually"-the job will usually go to the person the director knows personally. I have been offered jobs based on my portfolio, responding to a call for artists, but then again, the ration in my case at least is much in favor of getting jobs because you're not only qualified, BUT the person needing an artist knows you. That's the case in every kind of profession, at least jobs at our level, imho.
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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Jon - if someone does a half assed job because they 'dont want to work for free' as you put it (btw - I've never been on a show that USES tests as production work), that right there tells me a lot about a person and their work ethic....they don't really want to work on the show if they don't put the effort into a test. I mean...why even do it in the first place if you're going to draw crap and get rejected?

A test is basically an interview....and personally, I'd rather draw for an interview than dress up and sit in an office w/ someone.

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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Oh - and as far as the job going to someone the director knows.....yes, that happens....but in my case, pretty much everyone I know is working....when people ask me if I know anyone good, I'm stumped.....on the show I'm on, we've hired many "unknown-to-us'" artists because they tested well.
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Methuselah
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Nipple', since you do test on your project, obviously you believe in it and that's fine-IF it's a real deal, and although you may not have run across it, there are situations where a test is done not because a director requested it, but "just because" the recruitment dept. does things that way; these sorts of things often have little to do with the applicant actually getting the job, although they have no way of knowing that, and it can be frustrating to take the time to do it, only to get NO response back.

Also, as many people have pointed out over the years, there are tests and then there are TESTS; the kind that are akin to boarding one act of a show-and I ain't exaggerating. The union I believe has guidelines for companies as to how long their tests should be; the fact is, to board more than a sample page or page and a half is imho way too much. A K-C test I saw was just part of a page-but the script required acting, action, perspective, etc. I think it would have run to about 30 panels or so.

I'm still leery of testing, because (yes, I know some of you will violently disagree) in my experience someone with the right(TERRIFIC!) portfolio just doesn't suddenly become incapable of doing the job when hired(again--look at the resume-CALL the previous director, ask around)...unless they have developed a physical or mental problem, and hopefully that's not very common.

I guess the thing is there are as many aspects to the question of tests as ther are people giving them out-every situation is different, depending on the people running the show.

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RedDiabla
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quote:
Jon - if someone does a half assed job because they 'dont want to work for free' as you put it (btw - I've never been on a show that USES tests as production work), that right there tells me a lot about a person and their work ethic....they don't really want to work on the show if they don't put the effort into a test. I mean...why even do it in the first place if you're going to draw crap and get rejected?
I'm not Jon, nor do I play one on tv, but I'll chime in anyway.

First, ever heard of DIC? Rumor has it that they've been known to use tests as part of production work once upon a time. Yikes!

Second, I don't think it's lazy at all when an *experienced* artist doesn't want to take a test for a position that their portfolio is geared towards. I've only gotten one job as a result of doing a test, and that was back when I was at CalArts so my portfolio was ca-rap! Oh, and I stayed at the studio that I took that test at for a couple of years.

I've taken tests for Disney, CN, Nick, and Fox over the years, and it was at best a complete waste of time for me. I never got any useful feedback as to why I was deemed unsuitable for the job, which doesn't help me improve. Really passive-aggressive on the part of the studios, if you ask me..."you take a week out of your life for us with no pay and no feedback, and we'll judge you in absentia and not tell you how or why we came to that conclusion, heck we may not tell you at all that you didn't get the job! Sounds like fun, yes?" [Gary]

I think it's a game as to how many hoops some artists will jump through for a job. I don't want to jump through hoops, I wanna do the best drawings I can, but making me take a test for a job that I've had prior experience in isn't the way to persuade me to give my utmost towards the gig.

Oh yeah, I'm not saying this as a bitter, unemployable person. I say this as a cynical, employed person who hates tests. [Big Grin]

RD

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Striker
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I don't usually like to slam companies openly (cause you never know who you're talking to sometimes) but I'll pipe in about the company that was just mentioned. I'm almost completely sure that they use tests for production work. Me and a few other people got together to do some character and location design 'tests' for a certain show. We were told they looked great (and in my opinion they were, we had some VERY talented people helping with design), then they just decided within an afternoon that it 'wasn't what they were looking for'. Even though we had a month of talks and how much they liked the stuff etc. So a year later, I see the show come on T.V and what do I see but almost exactly the very house I designed as the main characters house! Complete with the little satellite dish I put on the roof and all!
So yes, it does happen, no matter how much we'd like to hope it doesn't. Just be a bit careful. [biggrin]

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Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.
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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Red - I tested for Nick, WB, Fox, CN, and Sony...and got hired at all those places - from my tests. So, I know many people hate tests...but for those taking them, I'm living proof that tests aren't a waste of time.

I will agree that long tests are bullcrap...no one should have to kill themselves on a test. If I had to design a storyboard test - I would like to see the majority of the test just be thumbnails so I could 'see the thought process' , and then just a few pages cleaned up....I think that would tell me what I need to know, and not burn out the test-taker.

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RedDiabla
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Nipplenuts, maybe you're the exception to the test-taking terror that others have fallen victim to?

It could happen.

RD

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jeffnevins
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Taking a break from video transcription- quite a response. Thanks for the insights.

Interesting- I never considered saying no to a test. I suspect I wouldn't have the clout since I worked in TV for a (onetime) big S.F. studio, but not one in L.A.

For years I didn't get tests at N-, but have done two in the past 5 months or so, and am now doing a third (board-rev this time).

The increased freequency may be: a hopeful sign of a fair number of former coworkers giving kind words, directors trying to find the best match for my style, a carrot on a string (a close friend suggests this), or something else.

We'll see-
good luck to any of the silent test-takers out there.

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My game art & animation-
http://www.tangerinepop.com/GraveShift2/

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CavePainter
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I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this test-taking stuff is it seem so easy for a studio junior exec to say, "what the heck. Lets test 'em" and right there a whole bunch of artists are gonna have to bust their butts for free for days. All that and the artists may never even hear if anyone liked or hated their test.....

Gee, sir, was I even close????
Puleeeeezzzee tell me something????!!!!!! ANYTHING!!

So artists who presumably have nothing better to do with their time are asked to sit and wait and wait and wait..... after investing maybe upwards of $1000 bucks of labor.

Maybe thats acceptible for new artists that have no work experience, but no way is that fair for veterans who have done that same job professionally for years.

People would never ask for such things in other industries without the common courtesy of a "thank you" of sorts.

Im not sure if youre a good lawyer... could you give me some free advise on a topic for 5 days? (We'll be doing the same for 40 other lawyers. Dont hold your breath.)

Im not sure if youre a good carpenter... could you rough frame a 2 car garage for free? We have a football field full of 2 car garages going up next week. Should be fun.)

This whole "no feedback" thing is one of the many significant reasons why many artists (myself included) are unhappy about the current state of this industry.


The deal SHOULD be:

If you wanna have extensive testing for a position, it should be a matter of course that you will provide some helpful feedback, be that positive or negative, so that you have done something in return. Thats all I ask.

That would be the POLITE thing to do.

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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Maybe people who don't get feedback on their tests can scan and post their tests here (or one of the other forums) and we can all give constructive criticism.
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blackmocco
IE # 202
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Well, I'm with Nipplenuts on this, I'm afraid. Any time I've been asked to do a test had nothing at all to do with junior executives or production people. In my experience, it was a far more concise way for the head artists to find the right person for the job than trawling through an endless sea of portfolios. I was given a character design test for a prime time animated TV show without having to show my portfolio and, to be honest, I'm glad for it. I think I'm a good artist in my own right but I had nothing in my samples that would've convinced these people that I could adapt my style to suit the show. I did the test, I did it fast and I sent it back in and got the job all within the space of a week, end of story. I don't really see what all the fuss is about. Who cares? You want the job? They want you to do a test? DO THE TEST! What, you'd rather be on unemployment waxing lyrical about the good old days?

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"...and it was here, in this blighted place, he learned to live again..."

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Christian
IE # 211
Member # 3132

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Jeff, the person who started this thread, hasn't complained about having to take tests.
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jeffnevins
IE # 247
Member # 1657

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Very slight letdown if I don't pass.

Good practice to push myself in different styles.

This test will be an important one-
I have a good friend in the Bay Area who's made a lot of good points about the advantages of getting back up there.

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My game art & animation-
http://www.tangerinepop.com/GraveShift2/

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RedDiabla
IE # 10
Member # 1007

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quote:
I don't really see what all the fuss is about. Who cares? You want the job? They want you to do a test? DO THE TEST! What, you'd rather be on unemployment waxing lyrical about the good old days?
Hehehehheheh, come back in ten years and see if you feel the same way! [Razz]

RD

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