Animation : So I work in comic books and in film... by Erick Freitas

Erick Freitas

So I work in comic books and in film...

And I kind of want to start understanding the animation world. I guess my first question is if I wanted to make a short animation piece what are the main skill sets I need to hire?

Example, if I wanted to pitch a comic, I need an artist, inker, colorist, letterer, and possibly an editor. Sometimes you can find an artist that can do all of them (very rare) or maybe he can do at least 1-2.

In the film, for a short film, you can be so bare that you only need your actor, director/cameraman/editor, and maybe a producer.

What are the basic needs of animation?

Gary Smiley

Hi Erick,

I guess it also depends on vision because if animation is done to be beautiful, it would mean several people going over frames back and forth and that would cover a few seconds, minutes, depending on the team. And, whether a skeleton is made of the character or redrawn again, things like that. Lip-synching, how good does it need to be, that's an issue. And does there need to be a project manager who makes sure there is continuity and that people don't give up (animation is physically taxing).

Single people still can make good animation but you will see it's usually just a minute or two and while the animation is good/great, often they don't understand the point (why continue watching) that other mediums have - just my opinion. On the other side of the spectrum, a single person can make a basic animation (like South Park) with little movement. So which direction depends on your vision.

Oh! and this is providing all goes well as there are always technical issues that arise and threaten everything disappearing. Because at 24 fps the size of files explodes into the thousands and that's just for a few minutes. How to split/manage a short film is still a substantial matter.

Anyway, I would say 3-4 people could do a short and not overtax just one person.

Erick Freitas

This is helpful! Thanks!

Gary Smiley

If you ask some animation companies, they will quote you basic numbers and these can be quite scary. For example, 22 min could be something like $200,000 to 400,000 and >1 mil for a feature. It is understandable, having to hire a crew and all. So that's high quality. I think if the story is good/great, it doesn't need such great animation, that's more for kids.

Erick Freitas

200,00 to 400,00 an episode isn't bad compared to 30 minute TV shows where that could be one day of shooting out of a 7-day shoot.

I guess my next question is what is the pitching process like for animation? In comics they usually want 5 completed pages, synopsis, maybe an outline, etc.

In animation, I'm assuming you need a short animated movie? 3-5 minutes? Is that correct to think?

Erick Freitas

Thanks for the hookup, Bob! Very helpful!

Simon Turnbull

The skills you need at minimum will be: writer, storyboard artist, background artist, animator, editor, sound designer plus voice artists if necessary. That's assuming that your artists will design the characters and props and also direct and that your storyboard artist will do layout boards. In my experience episode budgets for broadcast quality on 11 min standard cartoons go from about $80K up. I've heard figures of a million thrown around for high end Disney shows, but can't confirm. Not many show are made in the 22 min format anymore but they are still around.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Gary Smiley Great feedback! Simon Turnbull I would not have previously thought your summation was correct, and then someone introduced me to this animation calculator:

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