Animation – An Adventure Job Abroad.

If you fancy having an adventure job in a foreign country in a beautiful location, have you heard of working in animation?

I’ve worked in this industry several times, and know many people in this field (although every country and agency is a bit different)

So now it’s time to tell the honest and sometimes brutal facts for everything you need to know about the lives on an animator.

But what is it?

Animation is the general term used to describe the staff who interact with the guests in a hotel or resort. They try to ‘animate’ the guests into to enjoyment.  I taught fitness classes.  Some my friends worked in kids club, other’s played volleyball..

The best thing about the job…  You can secure a job, food and accommodation before you even arrive. Although there’s quite a lot more to it than that…

Different Styles of Jobs

Fitness, Sports, Dancers and Kids Club are the type of entertainers you’re likely to find.. I worked as a fitness animator, so I did all the stretching and aqua gym classes,…

There are also ‘chief’ entertainers (the supervisors) in charge of the smooth (or not-so-smooth) running of the team. In many places I’ve seen ‘all-round entertainers’ which is to say they rotate all their duties whether they are good at them or not.

What kind of people work in Animation?

Most animators are 18-26, although I also know a lot older, wonderful animators. I think this is because of the living conditions and money which we’ll go into in a bit. Animators are usually bright, bubbly, confident people, they are comfortable being in the spotlight and speaking to everyone, usually they speak English and at least one other language. Although not necessarily if it’s a British hotel for example, but the chances of being hired are way better if you have a few languages under your belt.

What are the normal duties of an Animator?

The role of an animator is pretty vast, it depends on what you apply for, but expect to be searching/harassing guests to join in your tournaments, making public-relations around the pool, doing quizzes and bingo, dressing up in costumes, animating over the microphone, taking volleyball tournaments or face-painting the living daylights out of the children.

Rehearsals for shows are usually and annoyingly in the middle of the day, and for the night duties you will be performing in shows, making contests for the guests, dancing a ‘mini disco‘ for all the children to songs like ‘YMCA’ and also backstage work, like being the DJ or encouraging the guests to applaud.

What are the normal working hours.

The day is broken up into morning (3 hours) afternoon (3 more hours) and evening (4 hours or so) Average. Plus rehearsals in the middle of the day. Plus if you eat with the guests you’re kinda still working too.

If you’re lucky you might get 2 days off a week, in Spain I took one day off and in Italy I had one day – time off but had to be in 7 nights a week for evening entertainment. So no complete day off.

What CONS of the job.

Hmm… Let’s lay it on…You don’t have of control over your life, like when you rest and eat- and while we are on the subject, you may hate the hotel food. It might be really bad quality, it happened to me. You could be bunking up with colleagues in a tiny apartment (with no balcony) living out each others pockets. You could be sharing a room tinier than a crew cabin, sleeping on the top bunk with no space for your wardrobe, but that’s OK you can change in the bathroom. What? One bathroom with 6 of you? And you all work at the same time? So yeah I think it’s pretty fair to say personal time and space is limited.

The pay can be rubbish.

Bosses tend to be young previous animators, so you may find yourself being led by an inexperienced rookie (or not being led at all) You’re free time will be determined by somebody else, don’t count on it you may be doing a last-minute rehearsal. Oh yes, and a very big con for some…..

Pretending‘ to sing over a cheesy pop track in an evening performance. In front of real people. For their evening entertainment. CRINGE.

Depending on where you are it might be pretty hard to find other friends outside the hotel, which I strongly recommend.

I never minded at all, but some of my colleagues hated working under the sun all day long. In the last company I worked for, ACTTIV, don’t even let you wear sunglasses, which in my opinion is terrible for the long-term protection of your eyesight. They also give you second-hand uniform, and not a lot of it either. It’s ok you can just do your laundry 3 times a week.

Somedays you are just knackered but you have to give 100% under any conditions.. especially if you find yourself with a power hungry boss that loves to crack the whip.

But worst of all, when you meet amazing guests and friends and make really good friendships, they leave…

But if that doesn’t scare you….

The PROS of the job.

Working in a new exciting location, meeting some really cool people, if you have a great team you’ll have a blast! Time off you do get could be spent on the beach. If you love being around people, and talking and entertaining, you will love your job!

You haven’t got to worry about your rent or your bills, and your food is taken care of. There is often a party vibe around hotels so lots of time to have fun!

Usually people are the happiest on their holidays so you get to share in the happiness! You will meet so many people, this is what I love the most, getting paid to ‘chat’ to people, learn about their lives and share stories. New people every week!

It will teach you so many skills you didn’t know you had, like thinking on the spot when disasters and a last-minute changes happen which you have to manoeuvre. You’ll be on your feet a lot and possibly doing lot of dancing, so it’s a great job to keep fit. Actually in Italy I was probably at my all time fittest with all the exercise!

You can work your way up the ladder, as the more contracts you do as an animator, the more chance you have to become ‘chief’. A supervisor would teach you a whole new angle and look great on a CV.

I’m sure there are a lot more, depending on the person and how you look at it.

What’s the pay like?

You are often ranked by how many seasons you’ve done. But this always depends on the country and of course, the agency. I know people who have worked in animation in Egypt for €300 a month. In Italy I was on €500 although most first timers were €300-€400 and in Spain I negotiated for €840 before tax. That’s the top end of the scale without being a chief. From what I’ve heard a chief rarely makes more than €1000 a month.

How to get a job

Where your passport is from will be a factor in working abroad in Animation. First of all, research all the countries that you can move to without too much hassle visa wise, is it easier for your citizenship to enter Egypt? North America? The Caribbean? Asia? Europeans will be able to move to other European countries swiftly and easily, so you have many places to look.

Agencies are the best way to find the work quickly, you can get a detailed job description and they will help you with visa and residency issues and advice, bank accounts, transportation to the resort and answer any questions you have about the job. It’s as simple as googling the country, animation and jobs or agencies.

I worked for Enjoyland in Italy

and ACTTIV in Spain. Please do not take this as a personal reference in any shape or form. It’s not.

Please make sure you read my personal account in Italy before you consider applying.

TIP. Agencies will give you an idea of how much you get paid (don’t be afraid to ask) I have never settled for the first offer they’ve given me. I negotiate armed with my skills and qualities until I believe I am getting the maximum pay for my band.

So, something to consider!

Good Luck!

Related Articles;

A season of animation in Italy

How to get a job on a cruise ship

How to travel as cheaply as possible

Learn a language as quickly as you can.

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