Poll: In these troubled times…

Photo by Nature Explorer

Back in November, we asked Motionographer readers how they were doing financially. At that point in time, pieces of the sky had already started falling, but the full economic Armageddon hadn’t hit everywhere yet.

Our poll results were mixed, but mostly positive. 67% of the 5,134 voters were either maintaining the status quo or doing better than ever. 22% were making less money, and 14% (or 720 people) had been laid off and/or couldn’t find work.

As promised, I want to revisit the poll now, just to see what’s changed. This is far from scientific, but it might give us some indicator of a shift. We’ll keep re-posting this poll every four months or so. Please post your personal experiences in the comments. It’s good for people to hear the stories (both good and bad) behind the numbers.

[poll id=”7″]


About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



economic Armageddon!?

Kyle Brosius

Over the past few months, I’ve had more work offered to me than ever before. I don’t understand it.


I went freelance about a year and a half ago and worked pretty much non-stop until mid January of 2009 when things really seemed to slow down for the freelancers and studios that I work with here in San Francisco.

It seems to be picking up again though and I’m getting more bookings and more long term projects are coming in.

Some friends of mine who are editors seem to be much slower than motion graphic artists though and have been for a while. I think less money is being spent on production and more graphics only projects are coming through.


I wonder if there is a threshold of artists who will stay more or less employed no matter what, then I hope I’m above that threshold. so far so good.


so where do you put those people that last poll were doing better than ever and since then haven’t noticed any real change ;)


I live in London and for what I can see there’s more freelance opportunities and less permanent positions, which sort of makes sense. But I would like to hear the oppinion of some other freelancers out there, how do you see it?

Joe Clay

I think that’s exactly the situation everywhere. That’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to go freelance.


I live in Romania and here we make less money for sure . I hope in next month to have more projects or better paid ones.


I came to London in September last year…it started out alright, then over xmas/new year and for most of Jan/Feb you could literally hear the wheels grinding to a halt. Things seem to improve in the last couple of weeks, with whispers of increase in amount of work coming from agencies, etc…but again, I’m new in town and can’t really say for sure what’s the exact situation at the moment out there.


I came to the UK last April to look for work, and haven’t been able to land any industry jobs since. Being a traditional 2D animator and a non-EU citizen might have a lot to do with that, but pretty much every company I’ve contacted in London simply isn’t hiring right now.

Kyle Brosius

From what I’ve seen here in Los Angeles, there are more freelancing opportunities than permanent jobs. Things slowed down for a month or two, but now it seems to be picking back up.


Well I ‘m starting to get depressed though. Everybody seem to be going amazing and I’m pretty bad.I`m based in London and since September business are very slow , I’ve been doing some spare works for some crap companies that take ages to pay . I had a theory about who is employed was going ok and who is not was struggling. However reading this poll looks like I`m wrong. Then I think I have to change career and become a chef, cleaner, tailor or other thing because the world is against just me! lol


For what it’s worth, the number of legitimate (i.e. non Craigslist-y) posts on Motionographer Jobs has been rising steadily over the last couple weeks after a good two months of crappy/non-existent posts.


While I have not been in the industry too terribly long, I found it incredibly difficult to get my foot into the door at the end of 08. If you are determined and talented you can still find well paid work in this industry.

A note however, for those of you thinking the lack of work in January has something to do with the economy, I think you might be playing the wrong blame game. At least at my job, they have told me that every January / February they get the least amount of work as companies retool there next year’s budget!


Our studio is actually in the process of a significant expansion (building new large studio, lots of new high-speed SAN storage, new workstations, production equipment, etc.). Rarely does a day pass without opportunities for new work.

So far we seem to be quickly developing an inverse relationship with the economy writ large. I think the key is to create workflows that are flexible enough to deal with many different kinds of clients. Whether it’s editing 4k on-site or leveraging the new 3D technique du jour…adaptation is crucial.

Best to all!

Joe Clay

At the time of the last poll, I was doing better than ever. I had recently been laid off and then found a job that paid me almost 50% more than the job I was laid off from. That was great. In about four months I made almost as much as I did with the previous job in six.

However, the new job was a small operation, and their work is mostly automotive so they’re drying up. I bought a brand new LCD tv on black friday, and I got laid off a few days later. At least I had the time to set the TV up.

I took the time to revamp my website and work on some branding. I also began to formulate plans for a new studio that I want to incorporate some friends into. In the meantime I went freelance, which began with a text message from my very first creative director.

Since then, I’ve gained a few clients through friends and I still help out at my last job when they get a big rush. While I haven’t had to advertise yet, I don’t think that I’d be able to make it without the additional support of unemployment between jobs. I live in a very small market—Tampa, FL—and there’s a little bit less than nothing here. It’s sad because this market could be really huge some day. There’s tons of talent in the area. Unfortunately, no one is looking in unfamiliar places.

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