Some Thoughts on Producing Animation

As I prepare to produce a series of very short, er, shorts, I find my viewpoint of animation as an art and industry being forcibly changed. Not necessarily in a bad way mind you, but rather that it’s breadth and scope have changed as the reality of production becomes my greater focus. Here’s a few thoughts in no particular order.

Via: Cartoon Brew. Since it's mandatory reading, you can buy it on Amazon. Alternatively, you can try your local library

Via: Cartoon Brew. Since it’s mandatory reading, you can buy it on Amazon. Alternatively, you can try your local library

Ideas

Crazy as it may seem, this was the easy part! Good ideas are not hard to come by. They’re everywhere! The tricky part was finding ideas with good potential for an animated adaptation. Plenty of ideas and concepts I looked over were really quite good, and plenty held some promise, but turning them into animation would have been difficult in their current form.

Genres

Pick one, any one! Comedy is predominant of course, and sci-fi is well represented, but there’s also lots of drama, romance and more besides. In picking a few ideas, I tried to get a decent balance between differentiating the genres, and picking ones that had some commercial appeal. Look, there’s lots of genres (and styles) that just don’t have wide appeal, and they aren’t worth pursuing.

Schedule

This has been tricky. Since I work full-time, there’s precious few hours to devote to production. Ideally I’d do it full-time, but that isn’t possible, so the schedule becomes exponentially longer as a result. The good news is that as a true independent, there’s no pressure to even have a schedule. That said, once actual production is ready to progress, a timeline will be necessary.

Profits and Revenue

Too many creators focus on profits right off the bat. Experiment first, then use what you learn to go after the money. That’s my goal for this round.

Creators

The variation in quality is incredible. The ones I’ve talked to are very good at what they do. There are many warning signs. If their chosen genre is narrow, that’s not a bad thing; if it’s too narrow, that spells trouble. Fanfiction is a no-go. If they have trouble updating their website regularly but their tumblr shows 30 new GIFs or bits of fanart a day, it’s better to stay away. You want a creator who’s dedicated to their personal projects, as well as their professional ones, although the former is almost always a given if the latter is true.

Distribution

YouTube is good, but not the be all and end all. Consider any and all options including platforms other than streaming. Also, views matter, revenue does not.

Trust

Last but certainly not least is trust. Trust that I’m not going to rip anybody off, and trust that creators/artists/etc. will live up to their promises. it’s tough to establish trust, and it’s so easy to break, but it remains a key element of any creative endeavour and when it’s there, it really does shine though in the eventual product.

Do you have any of you own to add? Leave a comment!

5 Comments on “Some Thoughts on Producing Animation

  1. “Look, there’s lots of genres (and styles) that just don’t have wide appeal, and they aren’t worth pursuing.”

    I think sometimes those are the ones MOST worth pursuing. 😉

    Alas, Turbo makes money, I suppose.

  2. I’m reading great book now – _Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know_
    by Jennifer Van Sijll I have rookie experience in screenwriting, but found a good story to license and adapt for film or animation. This book helps conceive of stories in camera/visual terms, without need to be a film director. Valuable for storyboard artists, animators as well as live-action films.

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