All too often, people with intense or expensive hobbies are met with derision by people who insist that these passions are a waste of time. Wouldn’t that time be better spent working at a real job?
In the case of anime fandom, what most outsiders – and, indeed, many fans – don’t realize is that there are plenty of ways to create a profitable career from a love of anime. It just takes some creativity, commitment and a bit of hard work. Here are some of the many careers you can develop as an anime fan:
Animator or Voice Actor?
Of course, the most obvious way to leverage a love of anime into a career is to work in the industry. Anime is one of the biggest exports of Japan, and there’s no sign of its popularity waning. Getting into the industry as a foreigner is a challenge, though, and it’s very competitive. A formal degree in animation can put you ahead of the game and put you on a good trajectory for internship positions, but if that’s out of reach it can be easier to find a job in voice acting, writing subtitles, and other aspects of the anime import business.
You can also put your talents to work for a video game developer of anime-style games, both those made by corporations and those produced by smaller independent companies.
Working specifically for an anime production company isn’t the only way to use your artistic talents in the anime business, though. Plenty of artists around the world also make good money as vendors at conventions. Creating anime-inspired art and selling it to fans is a tried-and-true method of capitalizing on a love for anime, and if you have talent and skill with networking, you can make a living this way.
Cosplay is something most fans do for fun, but there are ways to make money at it as well. Some of the most elite cosplayers are actually paid to attend conventions and make money through maintaining a web presence. They might sell prints of themselves or earn money from a Youtube channel or other area on the web.
If professional cosplay is too daunting to consider, you can still make money by appealing to more casual cosplayers. If you have any skill with sewing, for example, you can create and sell costumes online or at conventions. There’s a constant demand for anime-inspired clothing, wigs and accessories, and filling this niche with well-made products can earn you plenty of money while being quite a lot of fun.
Anime Blogger or Fansite Owner
If you take the time to build up a loyal readership and earn lots of unique fans, you can turn just about any website into a money-making opportunity – even an anime fansite. It takes time to get enough traffic to make this lucrative, and it’s not worth pursuing unless you’re genuinely passionate about anime and have enough time to devote to it. But if you can create great content that fills a void left by other sites, you can build a site and start profiting from advertisements, membership fees, merchandise sales and more. Basically any technique used to monetize any other website can be used for an anime fansite or blog.
Build Your Own Niche
The above are just a few tried-and-true methods of turning a love of anime into a full-time job. The best way to make a career from anime, however, is to try something that no one else has done yet. Look around at the fandom and see what needs need to be met that no one is addressing, and see if you have some particular talent that can be used to fill this need.