Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Horne.
Catherine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was never great at math, science, history or English. The only thing I was good at was doodling on my notes in class. Even then I didn’t really think I was that great at it, much less think I can make a career from it. Once I entered my senior year of High School I was so stressed out because it seemed like everyone had a career they wanted to pursue and I didn’t. I was even thinking of joining the military at one point because I honestly could not find what I wanted to do with my life. I’d probably be in the military now if it wasn’t for my career course. This class was mandatory for all seniors and it basically forced you to think of a career that you were willing to research and find a mentor to job shadow. I decided to job shadow my cousin who was working as a production coordinator on The Cleveland Show on Fox. I have always loved cartoons, anime, animated shorts basically anything animated. So when I found out that my cousin was working in the animation industry I was so excited because I had no idea that people could make a living working on cartoons! It was like a little flicker of hope was lit that day and I know it sounds cheesy but that was really how it felt. After completing my career course I finally found what I wanted to do with my life. I want to work as a designer for cartoons and eventually animated features. I attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I graduated with a bachelor in Illustration. I was even fortunate enough to have five of my illustrations displayed at our annual Spring Show, which is a pretty big deal for all the students. I wish I could say that after graduating I got my dream job as a character designer at some animation studio but life isn’t simple like that. It’s difficult for fresh out of college adults to be employed when employers want only people with 5 or more years of experience. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never thought about quitting my dream and just live life as a receptionist. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I’ve worked as a receptionist and I have nothing but the highest respect for them and all the crap that they put up with. But it wasn’t the job for me, I was so unhappy every single day because I wasn’t doing something I loved. Which is why I quit my job as a receptionist and started freelancing. I’m so grateful for my clients that were willing to give me a chance to show them what I could do. I have had a couple of interviews at a few studios but nothing yet. I was a semi-finalist for the Nickelodeon’s Artist program last year and almost became a character designer for DHX Studios this year. I’m definitely getting closer to achieving my dream. I just need to remember to have patience and keep trying.
Has it been a smooth road?
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a very smooth ride. It’s very difficult to be employed when employers want people with 5 or more years of experience.
What’s your outlook for the industry over the next 5-10 years?
I’m hoping that the animation industry becomes even more popular, making it so that there is a higher demand for artists. That way more of us have a better chance at landing our dream jobs.
What has been the primary challenge you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge is trying to get my foot in the door. I keep getting really close to landing a job as a designer but they always go with the other person. A lot of it has to do with not having enough experience, which is unfortunate for me because I can’t seem to get any experience. As I stated in the previous question it’s incredibly hard for freshly out of college adults to get hired in any industry because employers want people with years of experience. How can we get that experience when no one is willing to give us a chance?
Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
The best advice I can give is to try and apply to as many internships or artist programs you can. Internships will really help you get connected with people in the industry and give you hands on experience. It will also give you a better chance of getting hired. Also if you are a woman, I would highly recommend joining the Women in Animation organization. It’s a non-profit organization that aims to help get more women in the animation industry. The last advice I will give is to just try and remain positive and keep applying. I know it’s hard to stay positive and not give up but if you really want it then you just have to keep trying. We need to keep trying.
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