Financing Animated Films- Part 2

2014-09-23 09:16:54 by HowardWimshurst

Hey there,

If you didn't catch it, this post is the second part to a longer discussion I had with a potential client. You can read it here and it will probably give some more context to this. To recap, I applied for a job and a few weeks later was contacter by that client. This client has very little experience in hiring animators, so instead of just ignoring the offer, I educate her about how to pay clients. I would invite all animators to do this when they are offered an underpaid job. You can't expect first-time clients to know the ropes. Also, be very weary of projects which depend solely on the success of future crowd funder campaigns.

Her reply

Yes the funding from the fundraiser greatly depends on the payment. I will understand if this turns you off from the project.  I will not hire/pay any animators if the project is under funded.  

I have never done anything like this before, and sadly I'm just an individual. And my online friends who very passionate, about this project are anmaturs, we all are.

I really don't know how budget an animated film and what to pay animators, as much research I have been doing over the years and these past few months. ..I know nothing. 

The reason why I did the fixed rate was the only way I could figure out a budget that was just enough to pay a very small team(of talented anmaturs.) I estimated $12,500....yes it's a very small, low budget. ....

I'm willing do the weekly/monthly $200. But I need to know how much of a budget I would need to pay ,let's say 5 animators.(I know it's got to be way more  $12,500, way more)  

I do like you idea of doing the storyboards/animatics and a teaser trailer to get "investors".(no major corporations, I do not on the rights to the characters,investors as in fans)   If we go that route, how much would I need to paid you? Keep in mind you won't get paid until after the fundraiser.   And I know that this is a bit iffy as well.

We really got a great solid story and if we get the fans attention from the animatics and teaser the support will pour in.

Sorry for rambling. ...well, even if you not interested. ...can I ask you for your advice and experience?. ..about how to get animators working together in a group, all work will be done online.....and I don't know how to organize this , Also some of the animators skills are not on the same level but they have the potential and told me that it would be a great learning experience to work with someone with more experience. 
Also they have not not worked in a group before. 

Anyway, thank you so much for responding! 


My reply

Hey that's alright, and you're always welcome to ask for my advice when you need it.

I would only be able to commit to this project after the fundraiser is successful. That goes for all animators you hire. They can only work for you if they are guaranteed payment. So by all means, contact me once the fundraiser is over and I'll be happy to work for you.

Based on what you have told me, I would advise that you do these 4 things.

1) Hire fewer animators. I would hire one or maybe two if they have worked together in the past. This will massively reduce the difficulty/ complexity of organisation, continuity, finances. If you hire multiple animators, you have to split your costs accordingly. 

2) Scale your project down. A lot. Reduce the run time, the story complexity, the NUMBER OF LINES (this is the easiest one to cut down on). Strip it down to the story's essentials. If you can get it down to 15-30 minutes that would be better. Sacrifice quantity for quality. Even if you got it down to 15 minutes in length, you would have to be VERY efficient with your budget and probably have to do a lot of the work yourself. If you completely re-scaled the project to be around 5 minutes in length, then you would have it in your budget to make a good quality animation.

3) Use a style of animation which is quick and easy to produce. If you don't do this, you haven't got a chance of finishing this film. Use LIMITED ANIMATION techniques to be efficient.
Read this article to get an idea. I would suggest studying animation in TV animation where a lot of limited animation techniques are put to use.

4) At the end of the day, you are going to have to make the choice between either: A well made short film made by a professional animator, OR a fairly odd looking short film made by a handful of inexperienced animators.

Also take into account that animation takes a very long time. For a 5 minute animation, I would estimate it to take half a year to make. if you ere really rushing it, 4 months. For a feature length animation on a limited budget, that could take anywhere from 3 to 5 years. That's the reality!

One more thing. You mentioned that you don't know how to organize this. Trello is a great tool that I have used in the past for organizing group projects. Read about how it works and consider it.

Hope this stuff helped you. Keep me updated on your progress.



Her reply

Thank you for your feedback! I have a group discussion with my team members, and came to the conclusion that it would be better to do a series of short films instead of one film. And hopefully the animation quality won't be too low. And budget can be more manageable.


Hop this has been informative for anyone who has actually read this. Not all employers are out to get you. A lot of them just don't know what price to charge so just make a random offer. Of course there are people who do exploit artists and for them you need to be very firm in your self-worth. Cya next time.

Here's some links to my stuff for those who are interested:

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2014-09-23 10:22:56

Thanks again for sharing this information. :D

HowardWimshurst responds:

Thank YOU for reading it. The more people are aware of this stuff, the better for the world of art and animation.


2014-09-23 12:40:36

Not that I do animation myself, but this is a very good post! Thanks for sharing and I'll share with anyone who needs to know! :D

HowardWimshurst responds:

I honestly didn't think people would get through the whole thing without clicking away. Thanks so much for taking interest!


2014-09-24 01:07:03

Very interesting and informative posts. Do you have a link to this fan animation fundraiser? I'm curious about what the animation is based off of.

HowardWimshurst responds:

Hey thanks for taking interest! From what I know, there's no animation fundraiser online currently as it's still in the planning stage. There won't be anything up until November at least. I would tell you where to find this person, but I don't want to give their identity as they didn't actually give me permission to publish this article (I didn't ask her! Hehe)


2014-09-24 20:39:03

Good job man! People need to really learn how time consuming animation is; as well as how valuable it is.

HowardWimshurst responds:

Thank you! Yeah, this kind of info is helpful both to creative workers and to employers. It would be nice to strengthen the bonds between these two fields so there are less scams and less unpaid labor. Animation can only thrive on the internet if the creative people making them are paid fairly.


2014-09-25 06:34:30

a very good read for someone like me who has zero experience doing freelance animation.

HowardWimshurst responds:

Hey thanks for reading! You certainly have it in you to do freelance work, your stuff is very nice! Hopefully you carry this advice with you if/ when you look for work. I'll be releasing more articles soon =]