Advice to a Class from Real World Freelance- Part 3

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Laura C. who is a first year Media and Animation student at The Art Institute of Orange County. For her report, she was required to interview someone in the Animation Industry to get an idea for the field and the types of jobs that are available.

In the next series of posts, I will share with you the questions she asked me and my responses based on my journey and perspective as a Freelance Artist. Please feel free to comment below with any questions you may have for me, and I would be happy to answer them for you. 

Interview with Michael Voogd - Freelance Artist
Animator – Illustrator – Caricature – Comic Strips – Instructor

Owning your own business sounds like the dream. What made you want to open your own company rather than taking your talents to a studio?

'Whether you think you can, or think you can't- you're right.'
–Henry Ford 

Back in the late 90’s studios began changing how animators were contracted. Rather than hiring them for a period of years, they hired them per animated picture. When the film was completed, many of these animators got laid off and had to reapply to get onto the next film. In a scramble for these out-of-work artists to make a living, it became very difficult for new talent to get hired by studios when all the veterans were completing for the same jobs. At the time it was still a very young Internet and portfolios still needed to me printed and mailed. It was very discouraging and so I lost interest in my pursuit.

Between 2000 and 2009 I pretty much stopped drawing. I would doodle a little here and there, but nothing serious or consistent. These moments however, reminded me how much I loved to draw and that I was good at it. And it was during these 10 years that the Internet came into it’s own and websites were popping up left and right.

Our habits change when our thinking changes, and this “change” usually happens when you are fed up with a circumstance in your life that you want to improve. This pivotal moment occurred to me in the quiet hours of working a graveyard shift at a company that had me doing unfulfilling and monotonous work. In these hours of frustration, an idea began to take shape. “What is my PASSION and PURPOSE in life? What are the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with? How can I use these gifts to live a happy and rewarding life, while adding value and filling a need in society? I want to draw. I want to CREATE! But how can I earn a living doing what I love.”

So I began thinking this idea through on how to practically make it happen. I realized, “I can draw the images, but what niche do I want to focus on? I know how to create a website to display my artwork, but how will I attract customers? How can I advertise my services on a very limited budget?” You probably already guessed the answer... SOCIAL MEDIA!

With Social Media I could have unlimited viewers! My friends and family would be happy to promote my services to their circles of followers, and best of all…IT’S FREE! My vision was coming together, but more importantly, I BELIEVED I could do it. And with that conviction, I grabbed a composition book and began writing down every idea that came into my head as to how I would make money with my art. Nothing was left off the table. I became a jack-of-all-trades so to speak.

READ: Advice to a Class from Real World Freelance Part 1 and Part 2

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