Deadmau5 And Imogen Heap Crowdsource Animation, But There’s a Problem.

Musician’s Deadmau5 and Imogen Heap teamed up a while ago to create a song, ‘Telemiscommunications’, and now they’re looking to release a video. So far so good. They want it to be animated but instead of going the traditional route, they want fans to animate one second each to be combined into the final film. In their own words:

deadmau5 and Imogen Heap have set up a global competition for animators to produce a segment of the official video to ‘Telemiscommunications’. Tons of people will get to see your work and you’ll get paid a bit for it too if we choose you 🙂 Interested? Follow the instructions below.

Sounds great, right? They’re even willing to pay you for it, something that is often a bone of contention in such affairs when instead of money, you get, y’know, ‘exposure’.

All in all, this seems to be a fairly honest attempt to get each musician’s respective community together for everyone’s mutual benefit, and it is, except for one teeny tiny problem; what they’re paying the artists:

For each second we’ll pay the animators 50 USD

Now I don’t profess to know what the going rate is for animation but presumably it’s much more than $50/second. Over the course of a 4:08 video, the animation will cost $12,400. That sound like a lot, but when you realise that even a middle of the road short film can cost that much per minute, you start to see which end of the barrrel this video is aiming for.

So who exactly is this competition supposed to entice? Clearly it’s too low for any professional animator. At $50 for potentially hours (days?) of work, you’re certainly not doing this for the money. As for exposure, one second of film will not get you anywhere, unless you can make the most singularly brilliant second of animation ever committed to film. See update below. So logically, you must be doing it for your love of Imogen Heap and/or Deadmau5. That’s no bad thing, but I would assume that most artists would rather their fans support them with money rather than time.

Did I mention that you have three weeks to do it? Yup, good luck juggling that in with all the other stuff going on in your life.

To wrap up, it’s a good effort on the part of Deadmau5 and Imogen Heap to engage their fans in such a way, and to at least be willing to offer some form of compensation towards it. However although everyone in the music business is a bit more wary of how money is spent these days, animators have to be wary too, and the payoff to contributing such a miniscule amount of content to a film is hardly worth the payoff being offered.

Update: So yes, I read the article a wee bit too hastily. They’re not asking for one second, but rather closer to 1o seconds per contributor. That would put the total payment quite a bit higher but still not quite enough to make it worth the time and effort.


3 Comments on “Deadmau5 And Imogen Heap Crowdsource Animation, But There’s a Problem.

  1. You don’t seem to have read the Deadmau5/Heap website very carefully. It is not asking for 1 second of video from each contributor (which would require about 240 contributors!), but for 20 contributions averaging about 12 seconds each, and thus an average payment of about $600. I don’t know much about payment rates for animation, but a little Googling of the subject suggests that $50 per second of completed animation is within the range that freelance animators in the USA would charge, but of course well below the cost of top-level cinema work. I would guess that the invitation is aimed mainly at people like film students, or maybe at people who work in commercial animation but would welcome the opportunity to do something ‘arty’ on the side.

    • Actually, to correct that slightly, I just added up the timings for each ‘section’, and they come to 203 seconds in total, therefore on average just over 10 seconds per contributor. I’m not sure what has happened to the ‘missing’ 40 seconds of the video, but maybe they are allowing for some kind of fade between each section. Incidentally, according to the website numbers they already have at least two applications for each section.

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