Before and After SVA: Max Colson on Self-Promotion, Animating Monsters and More
June 05, 2017
A man with blond hair and glasses wearing a black shirt.
A blonde man with glasses smiling in front of a black and white bisected background.

As a part of our series exploring what recent graduates are up to, we recently caught up with Max Colson (BFA 2016 Animation), who talked about his job animating monsters, the networking opportunities SVA provided him with, the importance of self-promotion and more.

What have you been up to since graduation?

After graduation I quickly got an internship at a small animation studio in Brooklyn called Cartuna. About a week after my internship ended they hired me as an assistant animator for one of the short series they are working on. The show is about monsters and I basically do whatever the lead animator requires, mainly cleaning and inbetweening rough animation, animating mouths and walk cycles, and cleaning up backgrounds.

Were you able to network through your SVA connections to help you get work?

SVA definitely played a role in getting me my current position. The creators of Cartuna came to my thesis screening and after seeing my final film decided to reach out to me. A couple other studios have also reached out to me since then as well. SVA is also always having guests from the industry come speak, so it’s kind of impossible to not make connections. Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney are regulars at the College.

What has surprised you about the student-to-working professional transition, or what has been a challenge?

It has been pretty good so far, honestly. I guess the biggest issue is time management, and this is true with any full-time job. I work at least eight hours a day, so fitting time in for other things that are important to me, such as exercise, my friends and family, and my personal art projects can be tricky. It all works out though, typically.

Was there a piece of advice a teacher gave you about the working world that was particularly helpful?

Yeah, definitely. During my final film’s production, my thesis advisor, Desiree Stavracos, helped me keep my sanity. She’s offered me countless advice, but one of the key things I remember her saying was to always treat everyone with respect and keep a level head. You can be the best at whatever it is you do, but if you have a big ego and talk a lot of smack nobody will want to work with you. Desiree played a crucial part during my time at SVA, and I still talk and hang out with her.

What advice would you give to incoming students to get the best out of their SVA years?

At some point we all get discouraged, so know that you’re not alone and that everyone is in the same boat. Don’t be shy and SHARE YOUR WORK, in person and online. Artists put this stigma upon themselves that we are all antisocial recluses and aren’t good enough. I know so many talented people who don’t post any work online or share with their friends and colleagues. If you don’t, tragically you will never grow or improve and finding a job will become even harder. Whatever your major is, like it or not, it will have to do with visual culture. If you can’t show your art, then what’s the point? Use your time at SVA to come out of your shell and experience new things. It will make entering the professional world so much easier!

To read more Before and After SVA interviews, click here.