“God is real, and his name is Chris Mayne.”
That’s how one animator thanked the creator of the best animation job board we know of. She isn’t alone: Mayne’s vast spreadsheet, which teems with job postings, event listings, and more, is well known in the industry. It’s become a go-to resource for anyone looking for employment in the animation, vfx, and gaming sectors. Check it out here.
As the industry booms, Mayne is doing a good job of keeping up: he’s added more than 1,500 jobs since the start of the year. He also keeps track of internships, events (recurring and one-off), schools, and website of interests. In addition, he manages a database of more than 4,000 studios, complete with links to their official job boards. Remarkably, he does it all pretty much on his own, spending an hour or two of his spare time updating it almost every day.
Why? Well, Mayne knows the pain of unemployment first-hand. As someone who had suddenly found himself jobless after a studio shutdown, he felt empathy for the crew of Toronto’s Arc Productions when that studio shut down in 2016. “[Losing your job] sucks, it’s overwhelming,” he tells Cartoon Brew. He’d been privately keeping tabs on job postings for some time, but in “a brief moment of insanity” he decided to make his spreadsheet public to help out the laid-off staff at Arc. He’s kept it going ever since. Below, he explains how he manages it all, and what he gets out of it.
Mayne: Starting out, there was a lot of uncertainty on my part on where best to look for work. There were some days I felt like there had to be a secret handshake needed to get in the door anywhere. I was mainly looking at the job boards on studio websites and my school’s website. I did my best to stay in touch with others I graduated with, as well as the mentors I had during school. Truly, it was networking and staying connected with people that helped jumpstart my career. That produced job leads and led me to websites I’d check to find my next gig.
[What sparked] the spreadsheet was when Arc Productions shut down. To help those that lost their jobs in their search, I felt that a source that compiled listings from all the different sources out there would make it a little easier. An important part of that was not to limit the type of studio: from small to large, games, television, vfx, etc — all options should be possible. Even though the closure of a studio got this going, I wished I had something like this when I first started in the industry.
The large majority of jobs on the sheet are found by me. I have a set of websites I hit, in addition to perusing social media to see what I can gather. Linkedin especially is a major source. I have to say, I’m so happy when I receive job suggestions from studios or anyone else. There are so many jobs that unfortunately don’t get listed.
Through various surveys I’ve conducted, it seems that most people who use the spreadsheet are looking for artistic roles, so I try to get as many of those on there as I can. With that said, anything from pipeline technical directors to producers and department heads can also be found on there. Ideally, all jobs would be paid as well.
If I’m on a project, I’m usually animating about 40 hours a week. I’m very fortunate to be able to stay pretty busy throughout the year. During the slower times, which are going to happen, I tend to focus on non-animation activities. Although I love what I do, I feel it’s important to take advantage of the breaks so that I’m recharged and ready to go for the next project that rolls around.
From a personal standpoint, the spreadsheet has helped me connect with many others in the industry and discover studios I hadn’t known of previously. From the feedback I’ve received, it seems like it has been beneficial to those that use it. That in itself is a great feeling, and I’m extremely appreciative of the support received due to this.
Correction (Feb 5, 2020): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mayne had worked at Arc Productions.