Cody Egan graduated SCAD in 2019 and is a Character Effects Artist at Reel FX!
Did you have this job when you graduated?
My first job was with MPC, and I had that locked down by the time I graduated. I am an outlier and do not beat yourself up if you don’t have something straight out of school. I just finished up that contract, where I did technical animation. It was a summer long contract. I am now brand new at Reel FX and very excited. I just wrapped up my first week of work and love what I am doing.
How is the animation industry different than what you expected it would be before you graduated?
Whenever I thought about having a job in the industry, it always felt like an abstract concept. This changed when I started working and I realized I had already been doing a lot of this stuff for years. It felt less like a dream and more like a place I actually belonged. I guess I realized that the industry isn’t as different as I thought it was. I am also weird like that.
What advice do you have for seniors applying for jobs?
Be flexible! Coming out of school be ready to do what it takes. It could mean a big move or accepting a position that’s not your dream job. Get that experience!
What has been the hardest thing to adjust to moving on from SCAD into the industry?
I miss working on my own schedule. I’m definitely a nocturnal person and do my best work in the night. Getting up early and working through the day has been tough. I also miss all of my friends from school.
What film did you work on at SCAD?
My senior year at SCAD I had the absolute pleasure of working on Claymator and Wander. On Claymator I was a producer, head of texturing, and worked on story. On Wander I was doing tech anim and cloth simulation. I really cherish the experience of working on these amazing films with wonderfully talented people. Take huge advantage of working on a film with the freedoms you guys have now, and work really hard, however don’t forget that this is to help you get a job. I saw a lot of students burn out on their films and not take the time to work on their reels and applications.
What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?
This is an unfair question 😛
What were some things at SCAD that you were a part of that helped prepare you for the industry?
I was a teaching assistant for Troy. I also had a side project with my friend Roy Cunningham where we worked on shorts. I know school is an enormous load of work, but you have to find time to do extracurricular work. Even if it’s a little bit, it’s the stuff outside of class that sets you apart.
What’s a typical day look like for you?
I wake up. I usually come into work a little early to make sure any caches or renders I sent to the farm went through. I always write down my to do list for the day. Planning is super important. Every day I have different tasks so it’s hard to give you specifics, but I usually work for 2 hours before dailies with the team. We have a relaxed dailies in the morning. During these we trouble shoot and receive critiques. I then work up until lunch and make sure that I send more caches and renders to the farm before I leave for lunch. Time management baby!!! In the afternoon I continue to work up until our second round of dailies. If your work is looking solid, we should it to supervisors for approval. End of day, more caches and renders. Rinse and repeat.
What have you learned since working in the industry?
SO. MUCH. Professors told me that “you learn more in 6 months in the industry than you do your entire time at school” and they are so right. I think the big lesson is that there are always artists better than you. Never stop learning.
Did you have to relocate for your job?
Yeah! I moved to Montreal, Canada for these jobs. Save up money for after graduation! I know that school is amazingly expensive but whatever you can set aside helps. Moving is expensive! The actual move is the hardest part, once I had moved though being somewhere new is always exciting and fun.
What are your career goals for the future?
Truth be told, I am just focused on short term at the moment. I just want to learn as much as I can and keep getting better at my art for now. I would love to be more involved in story someday however.
What is the most surprising thing about the industry to you?
Honestly, that I got in it so quickly.
What software do you find yourself using the most in the industry?
If you work for a larger company you will be learning proprietary software. I use modified versions of Maya and Houdini along with a bunch of stuff I had no idea existed.
If you could do anything differently when you were at SCAD, what would it be?
Do more extracurricular work and not stress about grades so much. They don’t really matter. Don’t fail your classes or lose any scholarships though…
A huge thank you to Cody for taking the time to interview with us! Check out his Website for more of his work!