I want to become a storyboard artist - any tips? It sounds like you really just have to know people to get anywhere in a field like this. If you don’t go to a big animation school how did you break into the field?
It is true that knowing the right people will get you were you want faster, but it’s not the only way to ‘break’ into the field.
First thing you need to do (like with anything in the art field) is get a portfolio together. Doesn’t have to be from a previous job, just take a short story you really enjoy and storyboard it out like you were filming or animating it. Anything works here! The important thing is to draw, get comfortable with the layout and shortcuts. Arrow and fore-shorting practice here and will really help you in the long run.
After you’re comfortable with the media, search out any project asking for a storyboarder. Yes, this is normally unpaid work. Small group or Indie projects are always in need of artists, and they can give you GREAT experience first hand. Think of it as your apprenticeship. After Art school, over $20,000 in debt-you’re still expected in some fields to go through an intern or apprenticeship. Trust me, in this field-showing what you can do is FAR more important than the piece of paper (aka diploma).
Then with the experience under your belt, promote, promote, PROMOTE! Get your business card, portfolio, name, ANYTHING out there! Talk to the people you worked with last, see if they know of someone who needs you. Network! It is amazing how in the filming industry how much they communicate. If you do well for one director or producer, they will help spread your name to other people. That’s another real important thing, DO GOOD WORK! In the beginning it’s tough. The job may be unpaid or some tiny amount. The deadlines may be crazy, and you’re working on the storyboards while working a different full-time job. But you have to give it your best, people ALWAYS remember good/hard workers and slackers. Don’t be in the later category, or getting where you want will be THAT much harder.
I was real lucky to be given the chance I have. I’m just a simple illustrator-I have an art degree, but art is NOT how I pay my bills. I do have a full-time job elsewhere, but art has always been my passion. A good friend of mine is a wonderful actress and over-all AMAZING gal. She started working as an executive producer for a movie directed by another amazing person with some pretty cool acting and writing experience under his belt. They needed a storyboard artist to help out on the project-and they contacted me! I gladly took the position, even though it’s unpaid. It’s GREAT experience and working with some amazing names, I couldn’t pass it up. The road has been kinda bumpy with script changes and funding-but it’s experience! You can only grow from here. I give it my all everyday, and if I prove myself-the possibilities afterward are infinite! Maybe one day storyboarding will be my full-time job!
Best of luck to you! Hope this helped.