How To Use Opportunities To Build Your Motion Design Career

An interview with EJ Hassenfratz

We were all likely told at some point in our lives that we need a formal education to succeed professionally. But much has changed. Nowadays, there are many highly successful motion designers never went to animation school.

Today I’m joined by EJ Hassenfratz, also known as Eyedesyn. EJ is well known for his 3D tutorials, something he started doing to get over his fear of public speaking. He’s been in motion design for over a decade. Even without formal training, EJ has become a fully self-taught expert in this field, teaching others, speaking at conferences, and making some really fun animations. 

In this episode, EJ and I talk about how people like you and me can find the majority of their work, the real value of education, and the limits of watching tutorials. EJ explains how to use your experience and promote your skills to find work even when you don’t have an educational background in your field. To that end, we discuss the skills that you need to hone to become a successful freelancer.

Did you get into this work without going to school for it? How has that affected what you do? Let me know in the comments!

In this episode

  • The value and limitations of having an education and how to promote yourself without one
  • The best skills you can have for becoming a successful freelancer
  • Finding work through word-of-mouth and email inquiries and how social media plays a role in this
  • How to properly use Instagram Stories to interact with your followers and other motion designers
  • Finding inspiration and appreciation from exploring topics not directly related to motion animation
  • What you need to know to negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness
  • Why watching tutorials doesn’t mean that you’re becoming a better artist


“It’s such a rewarding feeling having someone discover something because of one of my videos, or feeling inspired enough to even get into 3D. That really is huge and way better than getting an email with a bunch of client revisions.” [4:43] 

“You can be amazingly talented, but if you don’t have the confidence to charge what you’re worth and even recognize your own worth, then it doesn’t matter… it doesn’t matter what school you went to.” [9:29] 

“If you have a client who’s trying to lowball you, put in that little extra effort to educate them on why your rate is what it is and why the value is there.” [41:21] 

“I think it’s okay to realize that you’ve been doing things the wrong way for most of your career.” [58:12]

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Podcast music licensed by Big Waves

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