Animation : Question for Veteran Animation Directors by George R. Powell

George R. Powell

Question for Veteran Animation Directors

Good morning. I'm a film composer who's always wanted to take the helm and become a filmmaker myself since I've had many story ideas that I would love to bring to life. With that said, all of my clients who were producing animated material were usually (with one exception) animating the entire production by themselves (one of which is hand-animating everything herself, and the other uses a software that makes animation easier for a solo project); only one animated project that I scored involved a full team whose director was the Art Director himself. Being an avid fan of animated films, I intended for my first film to be an animated feature (targeting a young-adult audience). I finished the screenplay back in June 2014 and have been trying to figure out how best to plan my crowdfunding campaign. Now, my question isn't about crowdfunding; I'm trying to figure out how much of a budget I will need to raise according to what positions I will need to hire, and I have no idea where to begin. I would imagine Art Director would be the best FIRST position to hire as they would be overseeing much of the visual side of pre-production, and from there I imagine it umbrellas out into all of the subordinate positions. So my question is: Which positions should I aim to hire first just to get the visual side of pre-production completed, and what would normally comprise a team of independent animators (so I don't hire too few or too many people)? I'm looking for more practical answers as opposed to ideal answers, due to the fact that - as we all know about indie film production - money IS an object. ;p

George R. Powell

I pretty much have the audio part taken care of; I have some massive sound effects libraries that I've collected over the years, and I already have a composer lined up for the project (even though, being a composer myself, I could technically score the film myself, I find that my work is far better when I'm composing for someone else's productions versus my own). Basically, as far as the details go: 1) It's going to be 2-D animation (with some 3D blended in for certain shots); all vector art/keyframing animation; 2) the screenplay is 132 pages, estimating the runtime to be a tad over 2 hours (the story itself is a Fantasy epic that once spanned 287 pages when I first wrote it but I rewrote the entire thing to cut it down to feature length); 3) there are four main protagonists, about four secondary (recurring) characters, and several other minor characters in total. Quite honestly, everything I do know about production is strictly from working for other clients as a composer and picking up on their style of direction (even though, with the audioplay I wrote and am producing, and have 12/18 episodes complete on, I've developed my own style of direction). I have never attended a film school, but one of my clients was an actual film student whose setup I found to be the most organized and was planning on emulating. However, I did plan to hire an Art Director to take care of the animation team as I would rather have someone more artistically inclined and knowledgeable of the role fill that spot. The only thing I have one of my friends doing is the initial character concept art; my plan was to outsource every other aspect of visual production (storyboards, vector art/rigging, visual effects, animations, etc.) and I myself would be handling the compositing/editing. Fortunately, my most recent aforementioned client had quite a team of visual artists who I am still friends with and have been conversing with as far as what it is like working on their end. Thank you for the reply, and I will keep everyone posted on the project.

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