NOTE FROM KEV: This post was originally posted on Friday, 22 October 2010 on the now abandoned Bank of Kev platform. There is an update from me below.
This interesting post comes from the always entertaining Answerman of Anime News Network.
Today, you'll notice, there are no questions about working in the anime industry, be it as a translator or animator or manga artist or author or anything. NOTHING. Unfortunately that meant I had to skip two rather well-written and well-meaning questions on graphic design and screenwriting in the process.
Because, you see, I'm just tired of it. Absolutely tired. Every time, it's always the same answer. So, here we go, real quick before I get to the questions at hand: Do you want to turn your love of anime into a career? A career in anime as a writer or an artist or a translator or a web designer or a mid-level marketing executive? Sure. You bet.
It will take a lot of work and you will need to prove to (anime/manga company) that your work stands outside the anime fandom and can succeed on its own terms. You will need to get noticed. So just hunker down and do the best damn work you've ever done. And then your dreams will come true! It's just like Luffy wanting to be King of the Pirates! Only instead of beating up people, you'll be working your fingers to the bone on your desired field and craft.
People are often shocked when I tell them it was not my love of Robotech that got me hired at Harmony Gold. What got Harmony Gold interested in hiring me was my professional experience working at places like Fox, Paramount, Universal, MTV, Godspeed Opera House, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun over the past 15 years. (they were and still are all interconnected.
The Mohegan Sun Casino
My Robotech.com work bio ties right into the Answerman's point work that stands "outside the anime fandom"
Kevin's first official assignment in the Robotech universe was as an audit of Robotech's television ratings and viewer demographics during its original run in the 1980s. Kevin's analysis of the ratings in a cost effective manner along with his years of production experience made him a natural candidate for the Robotech team.
When I did the R&D audit back in late 2003 (you can see some of the results of that work here ) it was something very important to the Robotech franchise but it would turn off nearly all anime fans due its "boring" nature. Doing the audit required hard-core number crunching off spread sheets (think pages and pages of endless rows of numbers) that would put almost anyone to sleep, it also required a distinct skill to audit the reams of data. However, doing that audit showed Harmony Gold that I could very easily produce “work stands outside the anime fandom and can succeed on its own terms.”
People who want to work in the entertainment industry in general and the anime industry in particular must understand that its called show business with an emphasis on business. Thinking like a fanboy will only get you flattened and puts you on a one way ticket to the unemployment line.
For those who want to really work in anime or the entertainment industry you in many ways stop being off your fanboy and start thinking in a corporate sense. On the surface that might sound like a bad trade off, yet I can tell you that if you do it right it will be far more rewarding for you as fan than you can ever imagine.
One of the rewards was taking the tour to China in 2007.
UPDATE FROM KEV: IF you ever get a chance please check out my "How I Broke Into The Anime Industry" panel on the Robotech Convention Tour. I go into great detail on how it was not my love of Robotech but my work for over 15 years in the entertainment industry that got me into Harmony Gold.