As a veteran of the animation industry, Hoa Bui has had the opportunity to walk the halls of Lucas Arts, Pixar Canada, and more recently Riot Games.
In this snippet of my interview with Hoa, he shares why he chose the animation industry and how his perspective on the industry has changed over the years.
Why did you choose the San Francisco Academy of Arts when you got into schools like UCLA?
“I chose them because I always wanted to work in video games. It seemed like the right thing to do and the right choice. I was just following my heart. In hindsight it might’ve not been the right thing to do.”
In hindsight, why don’t you feel that was the right thing to do?
“The animation industry is a very difficult industry, most people don’t make it. And most people have a difficult time building a sustainable career. Jobs are disappearing and there are less places that have jobs.
Most jobs in California have all but evaporated. I could’ve gone into tech and software and worked half as hard and made twice as much.”
How have you positioned yourself for the changes you see coming?
“I have moved industries since nearly everything has moved out.”
I'm sure some people would ask if you like traveling, and if so would that be so bad to move?
"I love traveling. However, the difference is if I choose to live in a another country I want it to be my choice, not because they industry chose for me.
Why are you still in the industry despite it all?
“There is still love for it. I still enjoy it. I loves video games and animation and I will always try to find my way back. People in the industry do it for the love and not the money. And I’m very proud of the work I’ve done and I’ve been apart of amazing things. And the feedback I’ve received from people who have approached me when hearing about the projects I’ve been apart of is very rewarding.”
I found Hoa’s frankness about his experiences insightful. I think prior to our talk, like most people, I had this romanticized idea of what working in animation at these studios would be like. I imagine fun and progressive environments that allow you to do rewarding high value work. While most of these descriptors still hold true, there seems to be a shift in the industry taking place and it leads me to wonder where that shift will lead.
If you found this interview interesting, Hoa will be holding an AMA about his experience in a google hangout for charity.