When forensic animators decide to work for themselves, the likelihood that they will face some extremely challenging issues is very high. After all, regardless of someones’ specialization, working as a freelancing animator is going to be a complex career path characterized by on-going adversity. Can one establish a lucrative career by choosing to stay away from traditional employment? The answer is yes. Can they do so easily? No. To better understand some of the factors that play an important role here, consider the following analysis.
Overview of Forensic Animation
To properly qualify all the things that go into becoming a freelancer within this sector, it is important to establish an understanding of the job itself. Forensic animation is a field that bridges the gap between traditional animation and law enforcement agencies. While it can be used in some other industries as well, working with police forces or federal investigation entities tends to be the most common career path. The way that it works is based on employing skilled creators to help resolve criminal inquiries by making animated adaptations of crimes that occurred. Doing so facilitates a better understanding of the events, and it makes it easier for investigators to find important evidence and suspects. Even though the tools that these experts rely on are a bit different than typical animation programs, they still need to have a great underlying comprehension of multimedia ventures.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists need to have a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level roles. While the BLS has no data that is specifically focused on forensic animators, they are subject to the same educational requirements. After graduating with a four-year degree, however, what job opportunities are available to these professionals?
Unlike the vast majority of digital creators, forensic animators often have to build their careers by focusing on freelancing work. This is because there are not enough law enforcement agencies to hire all of them. Many of the existing entities do not even work with forensic animators as they do have enough need for their services. Remember that their primary job responsibility is to create models depicting previous crimes. If the crime rates are low and there are ways to gather evidence without using multimedia artistry, most agencies will sidestep the option. Thus, finding a full-time job right out of college will be extremely challenging.
Taking the Freelancing Route
Although the lack of full-time employment is a downside, there are some benefits to graduates taking the freelancing route. The fact that one will have to focus on independent projects early on will help them gain experience very quickly. Moreover, working as a contractor will allow them to maintain their schedules as they see fit. This also means that they can take up additional work without worrying about the lack of overtime pay.
Networking and Building Relationships
The fact that freelancing in forensic animating mandates endless networking makes it hard to attain early success. Creators have to set aside a lot of their time to meet new employers and representatives of law enforcement agencies. If doing so leads to a new project, their ventures are well worth it. Unfortunately, finding a new engagement will require a significant amount of unpaid networking, especially for those who are just getting starting.
Building solid communication skills is imperative to overcome the difficulties that might arise during this stage of one’s career. One must learn how to present their portfolio in as little time as possible and should answer follow-up questions quickly and effectively.
Once the first few projects are finished, the key to longevity revolves around building relationships with former supervisors and managers. For instance, if the forensic animator was engaged by a leading detective from a law enforcement agency, there is a good chance that there will be many similar projects in the future. Thus, operating professionally and reliably is in the animator’s best interest as word-of-mouth referrals and repeat clients are the driving force of their success.
Since nearly all forensic animators must do some freelancing work, the competition in the field will be fierce. Although completely avoiding this is impossible, one way to stand out from all the opponents is to improve the professional credentials. An example would be pursuing a non-mandatory master’s degree that could help increase the artist’s credibility. Completing specialized training will have the same effect as it gives away the impression that the artist’s technical expertise is up to par. Finally, having a rich portfolio that includes similar engagements to the one that the employer is looking for will be the most useful advantage.
Overall Level of Difficulty
As per the aforementioned, getting hired as a freelancer in forensic animation will not be easy. Those who are hoping to have countless job opportunities should probably consider switching to some other field of the industry where full-time employment is the norm. If the creator does not mind spending a lot of hours networking, however, this market might be perfect for them, and there is a good chance that they will be able to reach high salary levels. Depending on the artist’s characteristics, working for oneself as a forensic animator will either be extremely hard or moderately difficult, but it will never be effortless.