Are you curious about how you can prepare to commission a project from an animation studio? Just like any other way of communicating it has its pros and cons, and it can be beneficial to know what to think about before you even speak to a potential partner. Here are some of our best advice!
Your vision video can be an adventure. You can launch a new strategy through dancing characters. It's fully possible to explain the difference between you and your competitors through hilarious animated puns.
Every project is a balancing act between the unique and the safe. You can find tons of guides online about how to make an efficient video, at the top they should always say:
Make something people want to watch!
Relevant content, useful content, both important, but even more important is engaging. Your audience love stories, dare to tell them one and tell it well.
Always include your gut when you do quality control. If what you're making gives you butterflies, a fire in your chest, or maybe a tear on your cheek, it's most likely others will feel the same.
It's hardly a new concept, but make sure everyone in the project group knows the purpose of what you're making. There's huge value in bringing in experts with an outsiders perspective on your business. So make sure to hear what they have to say based on your purpose and your purpose alone, before you get down into the nitty-gritty. Even if there are already decisions in place, don't miss this fantastic opportunity.
You're not going to like this answer: it depends. So let's change the question into "what affects the costs in an animated video?"
Your investment in a video will mostly translate into working hours for the experts you've given the task of solving your problem. If we wanted to create an equation of how much time they would need to do that it would look something like this:
Video length + ambition level = time needed.
Oh, this is a tricky one. Likely you want to give your audience tons of information and preferably within 15 or 30 seconds. Many projects fail because of this. So let's re-phrase it:
For how long do you have access to your audience?
Are you trying to stop their scrolling in a TikTok feed? Are they actively hunting information on your website? Have they travelled to attend your conference? Different situations translates to different access. This access not only dictates the length of your video, but also the ambition level you need.
If you're trying to stop someone from scrolling on to the next video or delay them from pressing "skip ad", you'll have to engage them very quickly. Often this translates to putting your message front and center from the first second. But, that's a decision based on fear rather than on ambition. Don't give up on engaging your audience.
Perhaps you need a really expressive illustration style or an explosion of colorful animation to get their attention? Maybe you need to develop three different ideas and styles and test them on your target audience?
However, if your audiene is attending a conference or event, you have much more access to them. Perhaps you can start slow, build up your story, or you might have to bring the tempo down to make sure everyone will understand.
We recommend discussing your purpose and access to the audience with your potential partners and evaluate what ambition level is needed to reach your goals.
Don't waste time on guesses. When you communicate a budget to your potential partners, you can evaluate them through the value they bring instead of the numbers they present. But what can you do if you have no idea what a reasonable budget is?
Find a video or two that you really like and show them to your potential partner, and ask them what a reasonable budget or a similar production would be. Compare these numbers to set a budget for your project and then communicate this to the companies you are evaluating.
If you're not an experienced buyer of animation, it can be tricky to see all the opportunities that the medium provides. Suddenly you can create stories that were previously impossible. Zoom into molecules, visualize dreams, or reach locations far away.
Also remember that you're creating a very adaptable material. Different formats, languages, short and long versions, stills for digital ads, print or presentations, murals. Make sure your partner helps you see all the opportunities within your project.
You'll also have new and improved possibilities to show the world in all it's diverse glory. Animation gives you opportunities to be truly inclusive in portraying people. You also don't have to worry about emission-heavy film shoots and travel, or putting actors and talent in potentially morally questionable shooting scenarios.
Perhaps it can feel wrong to start a discussion before you know the project will actually happen. We however know that an early conversation can add tons of value to a project. Just be open with your potential partners and let them know in what stage the project is, when decisions will be made, and what is affecting those decision.
If you have a project to discuss, reach out to our producer Simon. We're curious to hear what you're cooking up!