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!

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A season of animation in Italy

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So what is Spiritual Ecology anyway?

Spiritual Ecology is working in unison with nature and the spiritual realms in relation to farming, respecting all and working collectively in harmony.. When I arrived in India in 2010, I had never even heard of the term and oh how my mind was opened…

It promotes a deep respect for the earth and our heritage by producing organically with the smallest environmental footprint possible, it’s also about being conscious of the spiritual realms that interact in nature, through blessings of the land, and daily ceremonies it invites the spiritual world to help with the growth and protection of the area.

I came across this new exciting concept during some wwoofing (volunteering) time at an organic farm in Rural India, This farm is no ordinary farm, not only is it run by two incredible people that have dedicated their lives and all their funds to create an organic, eco-friendly farm, Saha Asititva is located in a spiritual vortex where I can honestly say I have never ever felt or been anywhere like it.

The farm is located next to the pilgrimage destination of Ganeshpuri, a tiny village full of fascinating and mystical temples with an uncommercial and authentic off-the-beaten-track vibe…

I was blown away by the whole philosophy of the two founders of the farm, Kalyani, British, married to Daniel of the USA. These guys are unbelievably inspiring, living as pure and simple as possible, they lead their lives 100% by their principles and ideologies. They do what they believe in and they believe in what they do.

That’s why the farm is so successful, and that’s why the term spiritual ecology is so intriguing …

The energy of this farm is overwhelming, Agni Hotra (a daily spiritual ceremony) is performed on the farm by the volunteers or staff who live there full-time, it’s a chanting ritual performed exactly at sunrise and sunset to ask for protection and blessings for the land. These sacred prayers are offered whilst burning ghee, cow excrement and rice.

When I started to learn more about spiritual ecology and ‘spiritual beings’ in nature, I couldn’t help put picture fairies and pixies, quite like the imagination of a child, but the more time I spent there, the more I felt the ever presence of magical vibrations. Unfortunately I didn’t see cutely dressed elves and gnomes, but the evidence I started to see and feel was really impressive...

During my time there I was pretty snap happy with my camera, the setting on this garden-like farm is stunning. After reviewing the photos with Kalyani, we began to see many beautiful lights and orbs in many of the pictures.

This is when I began to read even more into Spiritual ecology and learn from Kalyani’s insightful teachings.

We started getting more excited as time went on when more of these mystical lights appeared in the photos. One evening me and Kalyani stood in front of a tree, calling out for the spiritual beings to come into our photo and it was here a multi-coloured transparent circle with ‘wings’ outshone all the other orbs in the black darkness of the fields as we took a few snaps.

With all these wonderful photos of the farm, I began to make a video on this spiritual ecology at Saha Astitva, where you can see some of the photos.

Buying barren land and literally starting a farm from scratch, Saha Asitiva aims to peacefully demonstrate the benefits of organic farming by working in harmony alongside Mother Nature and create jobs for local tribesmen. This is a link to their page, going there to volunteer was one of the best things I have ever done. I even broke my rule to never return to the same place went back a year later.

http://thankindia.org/

 

 

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The Best Ways to Learn a Language…

‘I’m just not a language person,’

‘Languages don’t come easily to me…’

‘I’m rubbish at learning languages’…

are the type of opinions I had after ‘studying’ French for several years at school. Quite honestly I was never interested back then and I never made an effort.

Some people actually have a great and have a natural flare at learning languages, I naturally, wasn’t one of them. Now, I speak Spanish and Continue reading

Top Pointers for Cheap Travel…

I often get asked if I am rich to have had travelled so many Countries. Erm, no. Not at all. For me, travelling and backpacking is about stretching out those pennies….

Get your head around the currency of the Country. 

For a start, you have to think about everything in relation to the local currency. We all know that we may have to fall prey to the mandatory skin tax of being a foreigner, but never too much and as little as possible. Figure out how much wages are for locals, what do they spend a day? Sometimes it takes a good few days to get your head round the prices of things. Personally I take trips to supermarkets to get my first idea, and you get to see the type of different cuisine stocked. Check out how much things are everywhere that has fixed prices. Continue reading

How to get a job on a Cruise

Working on Cruise ships is demanding. You get a lot of drop-outs in the first few months, you could be working more than 12 hours a day and days off? What was that again – a day off? Nope! But it can have some amazing advantages for sure, meeting great people, getting off in ports, a great social buzz and of course the wages and being able to save!

If I was to apply from scratch for work on cruise ships here´s what I would do… Continue reading

Working on a Cruise Ship. Number 1

February 2010 – September 2010

Ship Name; Oasis of the Seas

Position; Sports Staff.

Sails: Caribbean.

If you want to know how to get a job on a cruise, read this first.

My Cruise ship episode was intense! I was thinking of a word to sum it up, I’m not even sure if ‘intense’ cuts it..

When I got the idea to work on a cruise ship, it just seemed to make so much sense, I managed to get hold of the email for the UK agency for Royal Caribbean International from a friend. Well I thought I did, I actually spent the first few weeks sending emails to a misspelt email instead (thanks Andy) and only then did I really start to bombard them with my emails and CV’s and reasons to hire me.

It paid off because I finally got a reply from the lady saying we could have a chat over Skype. Continue reading