Help Shape The Future of Animation Paper

The Future of Animation_1

Next in the series of papers I’m writing concerns the future of animation. It’s a topic that’s wide open at its extreme, but can still be boiled down into a few precise concepts based on developments in other areas of the media landscape. If you don’t mind, I’m going to pick your brain with a few notions about where the paper might dive into.

The Two Sides of Animation

Animation can be divided on the simplest level into two areas: production and consumption. The paper will look at both sides and the various forces that will affect animation as it inhabits them. Essentially, they are both sides of the same coin, but they will not experience the same changes. What will cause shifts in one, will case opposite shifts in the other. Here’s the outline as it is currently.

Animation Production

  • Smaller studios putting content out on a more frequent basis
  • Greater emphasis on speed, new episodes every two weeks at most
  • Overseas operations will become more important
  • Greater input from the audience
  • streamlined studio operations

The following questions are posed:

  • Competition will increase but how can studios ensure they remain at the top for sustained periods?
  • In the Golden Age, studios put out one short every two weeks, what kind of cost pressures can studios (and animators) expect to face?
  • Speed will become paramount and production is likely to shift overseas in at least some capacity. What exactly will that capacity be?
  • How can a studio codify audience input? Even more important, how can they measure, interact and learn from it?
  • Larger studios will undoubtedly downsize even further, what positions can expect to get the axe?

Animation Consumption

  • Short form content; <10 minutes with the half-hour show obsolete
  • Animation everywhere; no distinction between online and airwaves
  • Features remain but on much tighter budgets
  • Emphasis on timelessness
  • Platform “exclusive” content
  • The social dimension

These pose the following questions:

  • Just what will the internet’s preferred content length be?
  • Will small outfits on YouTube be able to compete with cable networks?
  • How will features adapt to a rapidly different revenue market?
  • CGI dates notoriously quickly, how will the style of animated content change to imply a timeless quality?
  • Should animated content aim for platform “exclusivity”?
  • Will social viewing help or hinder new animated content?

Please feel free to answer any of the above questions or even pose your own. Animation is changing and it’s only right to plan ahead.

One Comment on “Help Shape The Future of Animation Paper

  1. Personally, what I’m wondering right now isn’t about the future of animation but how we’ll juggle the future with the past. We don’t seem to be too good at it. We need to figure out who should own the work of the past so that it doesn’t get in the way of the future. The ability of those who are presently in the industry to relate to the past is what drives many trends in the industry. In order to put the past in its proper place we need to plan ahead.

    We need to create specialized companies who are designed to deal with past work made a certain number of years before present so that the companies that produce present work don’t get bogged down by their long history. I think that companies like this would be useful for preserving and reissuing animated film and television content while keeping it removed from the greed of stagnant corporations who gain most of their money from franchise nostalgia.

    I suspect the future will have good and bad points as an audience member. I’m excited for the likely growth in lower budget creative films, but webseries concern me because their time schedules and economic constraints don’t seem to allow for very good work.

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