Animation : Looking for advice on putting together a project by Mike Leins

Mike Leins

Looking for advice on putting together a project

I'm an animation writer and I'm trying to get my first short created, but I'm having trouble building a team. The goal is to get a 5 minute short created so that everyone can benefit (I get to see my writing come to life, animators get to design a piece for their reels, etc). I have a few questions for those who have put together projects like this in the past. What do you offer when you have little to no money? I've heard of doing pizza parties or lunches, but with an animated project, I could end up with a crew from all over the place, not just in LA. How do you find good people to spend their spare time on your pet project, which to them will never be their pet project? I want the whole crew to be involved creatively, but I also know that the project will be more significant to me than anybody else, which could lead to boredom for the crew. What is a reasonable timeframe for a small crew to make a 5 minute animation? I don't want it to look like a Pixar film, but I'd like a decent looking 2D animation that everyone can be proud of. Any advice is appreciated. How have you handled these issues in your early projects? Mike

Laurie Ashbourne

I recommend networking with animation groups (AWN, Animation Mentor, or go to and set up your project. Honestly, if you are a writer that doesn't understand the animation business you really should learn that first. It's a very small industry and most in it write their own material and are not too keen on being asked to work for free.

Dave Hogan

What you may not be aware of is how time intensive animation (especially 2D) is. The catch-22 is that by the time an animator has gotten proficient enough to produce high-enough quality work for production, their time is too valuable to work for free, especially given the time involved in doing 2D. The old adage of getting what you pay for is especially true here! The other thing to be aware of is the "pick two rule". This rule states that you can have it done well, fast or inexpensively - but you can only have two: fast and good but not cheap, good and cheap but not fast, and so forth. Also, if asking animation students to work on a project, be prepared to be turned down. Students have plenty to do working on assignments, usually in addition to participating in a collaborative student film or individual films. Unfortunately, what you are looking for is animators who are skilled enough to produce usable work, aren't waist-deep in a paid project and don't need to be making money...they can usually be found amongst herds of unicorns. Sorry for the tough love, but good luck - you never know!

Pakan Angel

Hi Mike, I recommend you to hire freelancers from freelance hiring websites such as of of even or I agree that you have to learn first the basics of this complex biz. Wish you success on your project. Regards

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