Working With An Animation Studio

You just won a bid and now you’re looking for an animation company or studio to fulfill your project needs.  But instead of having this wonderful experience of top notch studios throwing themselves at your inbox or blowing up your phone, you’re shuffling through waves of quotes, poorly written cover letters and emails.

The clock is ticking and the deadline fast approaches.

After sifting through the messages, you come across a few particles of gold.  You reach out to your “top choices” only to discover that they’re no longer available, they don’t really produce the kind of work you’re looking for, or the necessary resources - cash - is not enough to get it done the way you want it.

Then you’ve got to approach your end client with another alternative or have to cancel the contract.  

Either one is a position you don’t want to be in.

It hurts your professional image and your business.

What a lot of people in a similar situation tend not to do is understand the process.  There’s a lot of behind the scenes videos online to can give you a glimpse at the process and pipeline but it never really gives you a full scope of what’s actually involved.  

Studios operate in a similar manner, but ultimately they all produce the work in different ways.  Much like car manufacturers.   Mercedes and Ford both make cars but their production process and price range are vastly different from one another.

When you’re in the market to purchase a car, you’re carefully examining the dealer’s reputation, the car brand, and even test drive the vehicle of choice to see if that’s something you really want to purchase.

You’re not making a $3,500 down payment, you’re making a $50,000 decision.  When was the last time your company made a $50,000 dollar decision… These are two completely different trains of thought here.

Hiring and working with a studio isn’t that much different.

Consider these tips when searching for your ideal studio:

  • Watch their demo reel.   Studio demo reels are a great way to see the studio’s work and level of production quality.  You can tell quite a bit from the work they showcase by the level of care and the presentation itself.

  • Forge relationships early on.  The best thing you can do is to actually reach out to a studio you’re interested in working with.  Whether you have a project for them or not, getting a chance to know how a studio operates can help you make a faster choice once your project is green lighted.  Follow their Twitter, Facebook or Blog page to see what they’re up too.

  • Test Run.  Just like test driving a car, you want to get a feel for how you, your company, and the studio work together.  A good way to test run a studio is to actually work on a project together.  It’s a fantastic way to see how the studio communicates, participates and treat you as a potential client.  It’s better to know now and get an understanding of the studio than later.    

  • Learn about their process.  When you get a chance to test run a project with a studio, take the opportunity to learn as much as you can about the pipeline and establish an approval process.  Gather as much info as you can; it only helps you make a better decision.  

  • Plan ahead.  When it does come time to start the bidding process on a commercial, music video, or what have you, knowing who to go to for support is a big play maker.  Knowing who you’re going to use ahead of time can mean the difference between losing a bid and winning one.

Good animated works take time.  There are pipelines processes that are set in place to prevent mishaps and setbacks and those are pipelines that must be respected.  Time makes the difference between a forgettable message and an impactful piece.

Many people think that the vendor relationship is a one way street until they’re careened by the realities of production and it’s too late.  


Our Open House and #shortfilm premiere is this Friday!

Our Open House and #shortfilm premiere is this Friday!

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Kristine, our studio accountant finally getting to see our #animated #shortfilm “Mike & Wayne”

Kristine, our studio accountant finally getting to see our #animated #shortfilm “Mike & Wayne”

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Finished Our Short Film! - Some closing thoughts…

The feeling of accomplishment you get when you really step above and beyond, when you go that distance, is incredible.  Doing great work makes you feel great to know that you could push yourself to do such things.

Last night we wrapped up post production on our short film, “Mike & Wayne” and we couldn’t be any happier!

Pre-production was a total of 388 studio hours and production a total of 252 studio hours.  During the course of post production, we logged in over 82 studio hours on retakes and 56 hours in the editing room resulting in having watched our short film a total of 651 times.  There are some shots that were on the 20th revision pass.  

It’s taken 2 months and 19 days to go from a simple sketch in a sketchbook to a full animated 2 minute short film.  

We put in a lot of time (a total of 778 studio hours) and spent thousands of dollars in the process.

As simple as it may appear, it’s simple design leaves every frame wide open to mistakes and scrutiny.  There are a few hiccups that I noticed as I go through frame by frame, but we really doubled down on the quality of the short and the results speak for itself.

At the same time, you can’t help but feel a little intimidated by what the reaction will be when you share it with the world.

All those hours grinding away for such a small thing and the worries that come with it.

Will they like it?  Will it sell?  Was it worth it?

When you truly put everything you have into your work and raise that bar, people might reject you, but they’ll respect you.  

Perfection is for the most part unobtainable, but you can get pretty damn close.

Never settle for less.