This article covers the things I learn from CoMotion 2018 on March 2nd and 3rd, a student sponsored and organized event that brought together top industry professionals with Motion Media Design Students at the Savannah College of Art & Design. The goal of the event is to connect students with potential employers and prepare students for their career by offering diverse insight into the industry.
Focus on knocking the companies’ socks off, not to get a job offer
Yes, while CoMotion is a great opportunity get a job / internship offer, that is not the purpose (unless you are a senior/ graduating student). What you want to do is simply be human; impress the companies with your work, have meaningful conversations about each other, learn about the companies and their practice, etc.
CoMotion is an event where you let people know you exist, because one day when you graduate, you are going to meet these people again somewhere in the industry, so be a person that they would like to work with in the future.
Know what you like and want to do
It may seem like an easy question, but it is a tough question for me as a generalist who has a broad spectrum of work. The companies that reviewed me always asked that questions, and I found that my answers were rather vague.
One advice from a company was to be specific on what you want to do. For example, you want to be animator, what sort? Character? 2D? 3D? Fluid simulation? If you have not narrow it down to what exactly want to do, do some personal exploration on what you enjoy.
Be present, have fun, talk to people
I had many unplanned encounters with various companies and individuals such SMT, Wieden+Kennedy, Zublime, Buck, Peter Clark, James Heredi, and so on. All I did was simply show up and somehow life just directed me to them. I spoke with a representative of Zublime because he was very tall. My brain couldn’t process that. I later got a postcard from him when we met again at the closing reception.
It is a good time to bond with your peers
Even though CoMotion is a time to impress the visiting companies, take the time to look at your peers’ portfolio during their downtime. They would be more than happy to show you their works and exchange feedback about yours.
You are more than your showreel
Aside from showing your showreel, show companies personal projects that you are working on. For me, I showed my daily drawings and NoSleepCreative. Of course, it depends on the companies that are interviewing you as they are looking for different things. During my portfolio reviews, one company really enjoyed my NoSleepCreative website and we chatted about how important sharing knowledge with our peers and colleagues is.
Be sure to write a followup email
The event is over, everyone goes back home, the hustle is finally over. or so you think. The final thing you need to do is write back to the companies that reviewed you or people you met and say thank you for coming.
Bring up a significant conversation you had with the other party. For me, I wrote “I really enjoyed that conversation about design over prestige when we were talking about about content for my showreel” . By doing so, you remind the companies of who you are and what you talked about. They probably met a lot other students and may not remember the impression and the conversation you had with them exactly.