Independent Animated Features: 10 Questions That Need Answering

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Yesterday, I was treated to a screening of an independent animated feature film called The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead. Written, directed and animated almost single-handedly by Australian Elliot Cowan, it’s a film that I’m still mulling over in my head the next day; a good sign if ever there was one. I’m not going to comment on the film itself just jet, however, the entire project has prompted some questions of my own on independent animated films in general and especially those done by one man bands or very small studios.

  1. If Elliot can make a feature, why do so many others either fail or never try?
  2. Is perseverance the key to finishing an animated feature?
  3. What’s the general gameplan for what happens after the film is made if there even is one?
  4. What’s the ‘secret sauce’ to making related merchandise that sells?
  5. Why is financing so ridiculously complicated, and costly for even small budget films?
  6. Have characters in general become too complex in animated features?
  7. Should independent films even worry about targeting an audience?
  8. Are traditional promotional/marketing channels already dead or merely dying?
  9. Why are international sales such a formidable barrier in the age of the internet?
  10. Are 35mm prints dead for technological or cost reasons?



4 Comments on “Independent Animated Features: 10 Questions That Need Answering

  1. Should independent films even worry about targeting an
    audience?

    Yes, absolutely! Any indie movie (animated or not) should
    make this their #1 priority…

    Fortunately, the internet makes it is easier than ever to
    target an audience. Unfortunately, because of the internet, it is harder than
    ever to get that market’s attention – there is a lot of advertising clutter one
    must break through to get a film noticed.

    Once you have an audience identified, it’s important to find
    the venues that suit that audience. The movie chains are not booking indie
    features at all anymore. But there are still independent movie theaters in the
    larger cities. But other ideas for venues can be school auditoriums or
    cafeterias, night clubs or coffee houses, or even 99 seat theaters that usually
    host performances of stage plays.

    There was a successful documentary called Race to Nowhere. It was about schools and whether parents should push their kids so hard to get into a great college.
    The film makers made money by showing the films in school auditoriums and cafeterias to audiences of parents. They’d show the film, then host a talk where parents could sound off about the film and the issues the film raised. The film made money by this very creative and unique marketing strategy.

    The challenge for all indie film makers now is to be JUST AS CREATIVE IN GETTING THEIR FILM SEEN as they were in making the film. It can be done – few animators are doing it, but it is just a matter of time.

    http://www.racetonowhere.com/

  2. If Elliot can make a feature, why do so many others either fail or never try?
    Because it’s really, really, really fucking hard.

    Is perseverance the key to finishing an animated feature?
    Mostly. A strong vision for what you want to do helps.

    What’s the general gameplan for what happens after the film is made if there even is one?
    I’m not sure if having a gameplan is smart or unhelpful.
    When you’re doing things on such a low budget and you’re doing most things yourself just making something decent and not shitty is hard enough.
    I’m lucky I have some folks helping with this stuff.

    What’s the ‘secret sauce’ to making related merchandise that sells?
    There’s a secret? When you know what it is you can tell me?

    Why is financing so ridiculously complicated, and costly for even small budget films?
    Because of money.

    Have characters in general become too complex in animated features?
    I don’t know about that. They’re mostly still one dimensional. There’s an increasing need for film makers to make their films more “meaningful” for some reason, though.

    Should independent films even worry about targeting an audience?
    I don’t think so.

    Are traditional promotional/marketing channels already dead or merely dying?
    For indies? Mostly dying.

    Why are international sales such a formidable barrier in the age of the internet?
    No idea. Because of money. Again.

    Are 35mm prints dead for technological or cost reasons?
    Both!!!!

  3. Pingback: Cronica filmului Aventurile lui Cap P?trat ?i Cap Rotund/The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead | DISCERNE

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