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Zickar

Moving to the states

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I'm a motion graphics artist currently employed at a regional TV Network ... I Have about 4 years of experience and broke into the freelancing scene last year working on some regional shows . I live in Lebanon and hoping to make it to next year's NAB during which I will be trying to make some contacts and possible make some interviews for some openings or maybe some actual jobs in the states in the hope of actually working there ...

I'm 27 years old and I just want to know how realistic is this plan ? How possible is this to fruit ? Is a 27 year old trying to break into the mograph scene of the states possible ? What should I do in the time being up until next April ? I will be working on my reel , on more material nad possible some promotional stuff . What do you think about all of this .

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All I can say is that anything is possible and good luck to you.

I do have some words of advice, but also perhaps questions for anyone on this board that might have answers.

Since you are a foreigner coming to work in the US look into a work visa, from my understanding (from friends who are not US citizens working here) work visas are a pain in the ass. On top of that, and this is the one question i would pose to foreign workers in the US, I have heard that if you work in the US, you are to pay 15% of your check to the US government on top of the taxes that is usually tacked onto paychecks.

I'm not trying to scare you with this, but this is something you should look into or perhaps someone here might be able to elaborate on.

By the way, you're 27, young with already 4 years under your belt, i'm sure you'll do fine.

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You should definitely go for it, but don't expect to land a gig just for showing up at NAB or any other convention. Generally, everyone you meet wants to sell you something, not hire you. Companies that set up recruiting posts are generally looking for fresh meat to intern / bring on board for next to nothing.

 

You will have to go to NY or LA and hustle hustle hustle. Try to work at companies that generally don't deal with freelancers so you have a chance at getting them to sponsor you for a long-term stay.

 

I'd also keep a close eye on the politics here. Its an election year, and there are a lot proposed changes in regard to hiring US citizens over outsourcing or sponsorships.

Edited by AromaKat

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Thanks for the encouraging replies and the advice ...

@AromaKat .. So you think it will be harder for non US Citizens to get jobs ?

@Oeuf .. How much would you say is the minimum average for a broadcast mograph artist per month ? As for the hustle part I have no problem with that :D

 

Keep the input coming

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one more thing. I came to the US about 4 years ago. I had a citizenship, so I had no problem, but becareful where you work, there are some vicious people who can make you their slave under the threat of canceling any agreement of sponsoship.

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When you say sponsorship !! Is it part of the being able to live in the states policy ? They have sposorships in the gulf area like UAE and Qatar where they might with hold your passport !! How extreme are the sponsorship measures !! and how long will they last ( Is it all the way into the green card or could end before ?

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if you show us your work, we'll be able to give better answers.

 

But generally its a pain in the ass. Ive been trying to do the same thing. I was in NYC for 3 month hustling, finally found a company willing to hire me full time. ( there was not lack of job offers for freelancers, Heaps of those, but no one wants to hire you full time).

 

google the process for getting an H1 visa. Its a pretty big deal. Money, lawyers and what not.

 

I found a company in the end. But then its lead artists decided to take all the clients and leave so the company kinda fell apart. And now im kinda back where i started... yay...

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https://vimeo.com/27569667

 

https://vimeo.com/32285685

 

https://vimeo.com/40444388

 

This is my old showreel with the last two some of my newer freelancing work ... I've been working at a new TV Network for the last 9 Months that will launch at the 1st of June so I will be updating my showreel then .. I Have about 5 or 6 new pieces I'm really eager to show

 

@Vozzz thanks for the reality check ... Its a dream move for me (Career wise as well as on a personal level) ...

 

Is a Bachelor degree a must ? I read that on wikipedia

Edited by Zickar

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I just made the move to NYC myself.

As a canadian, I got in under a TN1 visa, so I'm able to "freelance" here through a staffing agency.

Let me tell you though, I got grilled at the border. Apparently they're cracking down on the Graphic Designer category for visas because so many non designers try to slip in using it. The required formal education is relatively low compared to other categories and the skill set listed is so vague, it seem like anyone whose worked using photoshop for the past 3 years would technically meet the requirements.

 

As for education, you need a degree or a post-secondary diploma and 3 years industry experience (and multiple people vouching for you).

 

And now to throw the thread off track; are there any planned mograph meetups any time soon? I wouldn't mind getting to meet a few of my peers here in new york.

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As for education, you need a degree or a post-secondary diploma and 3 years industry experience (and multiple people vouching for you).

 

This might be the tricky part because I don't have a degree in Gradphic Design ... I majored in advertising

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When you say sponsorship !! Is it part of the being able to live in the states policy ? They have sposorships in the gulf area like UAE and Qatar where they might with hold your passport !! How extreme are the sponsorship measures !! and how long will they last ( Is it all the way into the green card or could end before ?

Zickar, you need to look into visas and working in the US. As far as I know, if you're a green card holder, you're fine. But as someone else mentioned if you come on a visa, companies do try to take advantage of you knowing that they could reject your visa and send you packing. They don't hold passports here, just that if your visa is no longer valid, you have to go back to your country.

Spence, i'm curious of your staffing agency, do they take a cut of your paycheck?

I'm currently trying to help a friend out who's in this "we have your visa" type situation. Unfortunately, i know nothing about the laws regarding this.

And as a side note, companies are less likely to hire if they need to sponsor you. It's an added hoop they have to jump through to bring you on board, a hoop they might not be willing to go through if you're not some stellar artist. Even if you are a citizen of the US, companies (in NYC) seem like they're less likely to hire, rather they just use freelancers as needed.

As for the degree, in my 12 years of working no one has asked to see my diploma (a BFA in illustration). Your work does alot of the talking as well as word of mouth.

Edited by oeuf

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Spence, i'm curious of your staffing agency, do they take a cut of your paycheck?

 

Unfortunately, a rather large cut.

Since I'm technically on staff at the agency they have to take the employer's tax out of my daily rate.

They're also behaving as an agent on my behalf (wich I have to say, is pretty nice when moving to a new city) so they're also taking a cut of their own.

 

At the end of the day, I'm losing a very large chunk of what I could potentially be earning if I had a greencard. The flip side is, I'm still making almost as much (or sometimes more) than I would be at the studios in Vancouver, and the work is much more consistant.

 

If you want some more info send me a PM.

 

 

Edit

Oh, and just to add, I totally agree that no one will ever look at your degree/diploma when applying for a position. But, I think Zickar was more worried about a degree for Visa purposes, wich is quite important. I think a degree in advertising and 4 years experience in design should get you through the border, but you should ask an expert just to be safe.

Edited by Spence

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