animation motion graphics film design studio leeds yorkshire north england

Advice for applying for a job in animation

We get quite a lot of emails from people interested in working with us (humble brag). And we do *try* to get back to everyone who gets in touch, because, you know, we don’t like to be rude. But sometimes messages fall through the cracks, especially when we’re really busy. So if you’re a motion designer or illustrator, these three quick tips will definitely set you in good stead when we get round to replying.

First off, we should admit, we’re no HR experts. We certainly didn’t write the book on recruitment (blogs count, right?). But we often get asked the same questions and see the same mistakes. So here’s our five-pence on some things that will make your message stand out from the crowd.

1. A personal approach is best

Crafting that cover email can seem like an impossible task. But we don’t want pages and pages. A short and sweet paragraph about you and why you decided to email us in the first place is perfect. 

Start with our names (they’re on the About page…). Then talk to us like people (promise we’re not that different from you). Spend some time doing some research about the studio. Tell us why you think you’d fit in as a motion designer or illustrator. And what you like about our work, because who doesn’t love a compliment?! We’re only human. 

Then when it comes to that email, don’t hit “Send all” to every studio in the world. As much as we love to be spoken about in the same breath as studios like Aardman, this really smells of a lack of effort.

2. Showcase your work

We want to see the awesome stuff you’ve done! So don’t hide your showreel link at the bottom of the email or have it nestled in an attachment. We’re often short on time. If it’s easy to watch a reel, then we’re much more likely to take a peek while we’re having a render break.

Showreels are another tricky beast we all have to overcome. There’s no right or wrong way to make one. Look at the people you admire for some pointers (cough). Like the cover email, keep it concise. We’d say about 60 to 90 seconds maximum. We want to be excited the moment we press play, so put your best work at the start. And if you don’t have heaps of work you’re proud of, then don’t be afraid to leave it short. If you’re sharing work that you did with other people, that’s great! It shows you can work as part of a team. But do make it clear which parts you did and didn’t do. 

These tips work for portfolios too. Just make sure it’s a PDF or website that’s easy to use. We do not like Word documents. They just give us too many flashbacks to writing university essays…

3. CVs and lengthy cover letters aren’t for us

I just really like pictures. That’s why I’m a motion designer rather than a novelist. We know this probably goes against everything you’ve been taught at school and university. But for us, your work, ambition and enthusiasm are much more important than a traditional CV. CVs are good for outlining work experience and skills. But try to keep it relevant. We probably don’t need to know about that paper round you did in Year 7.

It’s also great to know what software you can use. But those charts and graphs of your skill levels? Sure, they make the CV more interesting. But how did you decide you were 14/10 on After Effects? Let your work speak for itself. Then send it to us as a PDF (remember what I said before about Word Documents). 

Finally, here’s the piece of advice you already know, yet so many people seem to forget. Re-read what you’ve written and make sure all the links work properly. In your cover email, on your CV, even your name on your showreel. Looking through your work helps you catch mistakes and shows us your attention to detail. If you’re not so great with words, get a buddy to look through it for you.

So there you have it.  If you made it to the end, hopefully, there was something useful in there.  We can’t wait to watch your showreel.

If you want to get in touch about working with us, send us an email at

Matt is a man of many hats; literally and figuratively. From enduring Excel to easing keyframes, he helps keeps the Motel ship on course and smooth sailing.