The Business of Making Monsters - How to do what you love for a living

Running your own business may sound more terrifying than the monsters we make, but that's where Shannon Shea comes to the rescue with this new lesson series:  The Business of Making Monsters - Part 1

As a veteran FX artist Shannon will help you lay the foundation for turning your creative passion into a profitable career in the arts. Calling upon his 30 years of experience as a supervisor for the leading character studios in Hollywood history (including Stan Winston Studio, KNB EFX & Rick Baker's Cinovation), Shea shares invaluable tips for creating an effective résumé, portfolio, and social media presence, as well as how to decide whether to work for others or start your own business.

Having watched the series, I can tell you that it contains a lot of extremely valuable information.  You not only get a better understanding of the industry as a whole, you also learn how to interact with clients when bidding for a project.

Do any of you run your own small business?

Post edited by Chris Ellerby on


  • I don't own my own small business, but am hoping to get to that. I have just started getting into FX. It is hard to find the time and money to get into this, but hopefully in 3 years I will have the tools, skills, and location to increase my knowledge and experience. My first project is
    It is still being worked on, but once it's done, I will try my hands at another project.

    I watched the first The Business of Making Monsters. It was very helpful. I will keep everything in mind, for my future small business.
  • Your GTA5 Space Monkey mask will make a great portfolio piece, so you are off to a good start!

  • Part 2 of The Business of Making Monsters is now live:

    Such a great series, I've really learned a lot from it.

  • Hello my apologies on not watching the 1st and 2nd parts of this discussion. Ive been watching part 2 just too see if I can catch up a little bit to help me will whats next. Ive notice you have asked other to send web links to show what should be shown in a professional way. I have a Facebook page:

    I would just like to know ,because this is a relatively new page, what can i do to improve my page and how do I attract more people to learn out my work. Thank you
  • Hi Theo,

    Facebook pages are a great way to build a community of fans/clients around your work, keep people updated on what you are working on, and keep your brand active and engaging. 

    One thing you might want to do, if you have not yet done so, is create a professional portfolio website.  This serves a different purpose than social media platforms like Facebook.  A portfolio is where you send potential clients to see your past works, credentials, and contact information.  While Facebook is an amazing place to show all your work in all stages of creation, a portfolio is where you display a curated collection of the works you feel most represent your various skills or will resonate with potential employers. 

    In this video series Shannon gives some wonderful advice about portfolios and social media.  It's worth watching several times.  (I did!)

    In terms of promoting your Facebook page the key is to post engaging content.  The more a post is liked, commented on, or shared, the more likely it is to be seen by those who like and follow your page.   Even if your page has thousands of followers, it's easy for a post to only reach 10-20 people if it does not engage well.

    Also be mindful when you post content, and take advantage of the post scheduling feature which lets you choose a publish time.  In most markets/time zones posts do better if they are released in the morning or before noon.  These are times when folks are more likely to view Facebook.

    Best of luck!

  • Part 3 of The Business of Making Monsters is now live:

  • How can we access the script to practice the homework for Part 2?
  • Wow, thanks for bumping up this post Etienne... I had no idea this course existed, and even in the first half hour I have learnt so much! Wish I had watched it at the start of the year.
  • The homework was for workshop students that were interacting directly with the instructor during the live recording of the course.

  • I'm currently working on my resume, cover letter and portfolio based on what I've learnt from this lesson. I was hoping I may be able to get some advice from the community, if this is the right place for it.

    Originally, I had my portfolio as one page at the end of my resume. Should the portfolio then be a separate piece, so that I can expand upon it? Should I have none of my work included in the resume?

    Also, just to confirm, does Shannon recommend sending an email/mail with a cover letter, resume and a few recent pieces of work, and then if requested, sharing the portfolio?

  • The portfolio and resume are two independent pieces.  The resume shows your work experience, skills, etc. and the portfolio demonstrates the quality of your work.

    Customizing your portfolio for each job you apply to is often recommended.  For example, if you are applying for a job making molds, you would want examples of your mold-making skills at the front of the portfolio.   This way they don't have to spend a lot of time searching through the portfolio to find what they are looking for.

    I've not watched this course in a while, so I don't recall exactly what Shannon recommended.  

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