Dante Fabiero does the animation industry hustle

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Arms waving, accent blaring 100 words a minute Yankee-style, Dante Fabiero is a walking stereotype of an LA animator.

“Australia, Canberra, is the new land of opportunity,” he says earnestly, pushing up his thick, black-rimmed cartoon glasses and chugging down an iced coffee.

“In the States everything is over-saturated and over-populated, with the recession there’s no jobs. Here, there’s a lot of work and a lot of talent.

“It’s so exciting, fresh and new. You don’t see animation like this in Hollywood.

“I’ve thought about coming out to Australia to run my own studio.”

At 27, Fabiero is an assistant director on the Fox network’s “Family Guy”, having pushed his way through the industry as an animator and story-board artist via “The Simpsons Movie”, “American Dad”, “King of the Hill” and “Curious George”.

Originally from Colorado, Fabiero first came to Canberra last year to visit family in Isabella Plains; this time around he wants to talk to local artists about their work and the importance of what he calls the industry “hustle”.

“I know what it’s like to have a hard time getting into the industry, I’ve been in that position. I think I’ve got some useful advice to share,” he says.

“You’ve got to make phone calls. You can’t just be good and shop around, ‘it’s who you know’ is so true. The main jobs I’ve gotten from connections.

“Don’t just send in your portfolio, call up and have coffee with people, you want to form friendships before forming professional relationships, and get mentors.

“I didn’t say I wanted a job, I said I want to learn.

“When you get a job it’s not just about your skill set, it’s about personality, too.

“That said the foundation of animation is drawing, what makes you think you can do it if you can’t draw? A computer is not a magic tool.

“These are steps anyone can take, whether you’re from Canberra or Zimbabwe.”

Dante Fabiero is spending the week addressing students at the University of Canberra and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

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