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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Making Money: Side Projects and what not...

   
Author Topic: Making Money: Side Projects and what not...
tstevens
IE # 234
Member # 801

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I've been doing a little research on pulling together a side project to make some extra cash (it would seem that my wife I are getting the itch to do some landscaping at our house). As a starting point I have been checking out what other artists are doing and producing. As I investigated, I started to notice an interesting trend: most of the artists who are doing side projects are producing things heavilly targeted toward people in the industry. There isn't anything wrong with that. But I have to wonder if people are trying to impress thier peers more than trying to create an idea that will sell to a broader demogrphic. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with that perspective but it seems a little limiting.

One artist store/website I went to has a whole selection of really cool vintage looking movie posters done in a sixties style. The more I thought about it though, I realized that it didn't quite have the mass appeal that it could had it been designed more for the average guy and less for illustrators and animators.

When I look at a lot of the ideas that people have around here, I see a similar train of thought: industry centric ideas. The point is if you want to reach a bigger audience then you need to design for the average dude.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Paburrows
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Well a lot of these people are marketing to that Niche because its what they have passion in and secondly because theres already a group of people who want what they are selling. Since they have a passon about it, they also put more effort into it, which makes it a better product. Which makes more people want what they are selling. Its not really them trying to show off.

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http://paulburrows.blogspot.com/

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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I think niche is the way to go anyways. tryin to please the masses could lead to much heartache...
I don't even know what the average dude is. I think I am. then again I have lots of people who say I'm not.

my rule of thumb for producing content is that if I like it someone else will too. Truth sells. if you're truthful with what you want to do the potential audience will see it and identify with it.

i totally get what you are sayin, tstevens, though. I do. but when it comes to making content we can only be true to ourselves...but at the same time when it comes to making a business you have to give the people what they want...its a fine line since what we do is about the love and passion.

When I was working on the series The Red Star there were some times when sales made us stress out. we were second guessing ourselves. I even changed my style to try to blend in with what was selling..but it didn't change anything and it made me regret my decision. even though in the grand scheme no one could really tell.

But in the last couple of years young peers of mine have died and it makes me think how it really doesn't matter who the average dude is.life is short and not always about business plans...the best laid plans don't necessarily get you laid the way you planned, just try not to **** yourself...

I say do you and then you do.

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contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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tstevens
IE # 234
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Have to respect that!

I totally agree about the "fine line": at what point do you bend or hold your ground. Hell - I'd like to think that I know what the mythical average man is into but I have to admit that I'm not sure.

I see both sides of it. In the broadest sense you have a person like Bakshi who does essentially what he wants and makes it work well enough. On the other side you have Disney and the "creative" executives playing to the tastes of test audiences and focus groups.

I think we have to ask ourselves if as artists we can be both passionate about what we create and be able to have a certain amount of disconnect when it comes to selling and promoting it.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Charles
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Great topic tstevens, and timely as well.

This has been a subject of discussion at my school for a long time. Most of what comes our way via the stock of material that our students and instructors bring in each session has an industry centric feel to it. An appeal that seems targeted to reaching a sales peak at ComicCon each year. That's okay and everyone I know seems to have no problem with that.

When I started working on my book I kept this in mind and looked to develop an aspect of it that would appeal to an audience beyond the animation industry. I envisioned selling to families in Peoria, I considered average non-artist people as my target audience. Judging from the experimentation I've been conducting the past few days, showing the finished book to people I know who aren't in entertainment, I'm confident I hit that target.

Best thing, I didn't compromise in my presentation to the industry either. I'd say this approach enhanced it even more.

The more people you can bring in to an appreciation of art, the better, and the extra money would be nice to enjoy. That's the sentiment I share in our discussions at the Academy.

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Rupert Piston
IE # 175
Member # 2875

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My whole enterprise is a side project...

I've been pitching a tent at a few motorcycle events this summer and selling some of my shirts, giving away postcards with my stuff on 'em. I also put up vsrious drawings and sketches to get people looking.

Have also made a few small tours of my area visiting bike shops and leaving samples. So far two shops have bought and others show interest.

I'm getting better and have been developing some freelance work and a few pretty cool opportunities may be on the horizon, including a local tv commercial. My goal is to quit teaching by the time I'm 50 so I can persue this stuff full time. That gives me nine years to build a business strong enough to make that possible.

Alas, I go back to the classroom. I'll have to balance my day job and my side projects and my family well enough to make it all work and continue to "build my empire".

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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When I was a student and teacher at The Animation Academy one of the most common conversations would
be about niche markets. finding your truth and finding others that could relate. you don't need to please the masses to have a profitable business.
theres so many new projects out there that revolve around internet marketing as well as broadcasting.

The toughest part is producing. Establishing enough new product and a consistent audience base willing to buy all new content. when dealing with niche and low overhead can potentially lead to comfortable living. with a regular gig you could be way comfortable.

its a process, but the theory is strong and models are being established every day to support these theories. ..at least, thats what I keep tellin myself,lol.

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contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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Charles
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One of the ways I develop an awareness of niche or side marketing among students and associates is asking them to figure out how much money a million nickels (5 cents US) would be. You wouldn't think of it off hand, but that many nickels adds up to $50,000.

Another thought is challenging them to imagine developing over the span of one's career a core market of 10,000 customers who spend $40 a year on what you have to offer. That comes to $400,000 in revenue.

I encourage artists to see their career beyond the studio position they may have or be shooting for. I emphasize developing one's own self in terms of market or fan awareness. The studio gig is only one side of the coin. I've seen many artists successfully use the popularity that their industry position gives them to establish professional credibility in their niche market and exploit independent endeavors for themselves. In fact, their day job wouldn't have given them much notoriety if not for the efforts they made with their side projects.

Think big, be ambitious, use small, simple steps to reach your goals, be creatively productive, strive for excellence in everything you do, stick with it and your chances of success will be good no matter what niche you're trying to fill.

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GaryClair
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Remember the good ol' days when you only needed one job?
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Charles
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I remember the good ol days when you had to get a second mortgage on your home to finance 30 seconds of animation. Times have indeed changed.

I don't think this topic is about working a second job to make ends meet. I sense that it's more along the lines of utilizing new and emerging opportunities to enhance one's career and/or personal creative projects.

For example, a website or blog, some sort of online presentation is essential today in most professional situations concerning the representation of an artist's work. If your portfolio is online and available for potential employers or clients to review, then why stop there? Why not use your site to develop your own community? If you have a fan based community, that's the foundation of your independent economy.

The opportunities that exist today for the fruition of personal projects, from affordable animation production technologies to publishing to product manufacturing and so on, are a dream come true for artists who are entrepreneurial or who simply want to establish their own presence. It goes without saying. The current environment is made for us and plays a huge part in leveling the playing field. What was once the game for a small group with vast resources is now accessible to everyone, which is a major reason why the animation market has expanded worldwide the way it has over the past decade.

It's there for all of us, take advantage of it if you're inclined to go that way.

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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I think talking about holding down a 9-5 while you discover and build new indie business opportunities is just a realistic scenario, in addition to whats already been said.

I freelance all the time to try to make the bills while I build my personal creations.
I've been apart of enough indie projects to know
they don't pay right away. well worth the journey, but sometimes its good just to have financial back ups or support systems.

Sometimes your employer will let you stay late and utilize their equipment for personal projects. which can be huge for someone who doesn't have much resources...Disney would not fit in that category.lol

theres many ways to play it and be successful....well, depending on your measurement of what success is.lol

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contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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tstevens
IE # 234
Member # 801

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Mostly what I was thinking when I posted was how most of us in animation see our peers as our market. However, if you broaden those parameters and start to look at a bigger demographic you open up much larger possibilities. Also, as Charles noted, being online gives individuals the ability to reach people they otherwise never would have had the ability to contact. Rupert is really a good example of someone who is tapping a market that he has a passion for and understands (drawing + motorcycles). With animation folk we tend to lose sight of the larger world. I recently heard a very well known animator give a talk and when asked what other interests he had he referenced a few things from his childhood and then commented how he doesn't do much else other than draw. One of the things that Rupert has done is combined several things that he digs to create a product that he can sell.

If any of you ever watch Food network there is a host named Alton Brown. In a biography on him, he seemed to have 3 passions: food, film making, and motorcycles. He took his passion for food and combined it with film making creating the show Good Eats. He then took his passion for food, Film making and motorcycles and created a seasonal show, Feasting on Asphalt. Smart!

So I guess what I'm getting at (the more I think about it) is that by broadening your interests and mixing your talents you can come up with something cooler than if you focused only on one thing.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Charles
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That mentality is alive and well from what I can tell. Engaging in the activity of defining yourself as an individual artist and then building on that and packaging it as a shared creative experience. The more you do it the more fun it becomes. Like a baseball team when players start getting into hitting streaks, it becomes contagious.

There's plenty of models I can name right off just from my realm of acquaintances who used this formula to their positive benefit. Stephen Silver, John-Nevarez, Patrick Morgan, David Colman, Jose Lopez, Joe Weatherly, Cheeks... In every instance their independent entrepreneurial side projects positively affected their relationship with the industry and improved their lives.

Bottom line, it's more work, but it's fun and fulfilling and profitable if you offer a compelling product and manage it right.

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Ganklin
IE # 14
Member # 1864

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my brother and i have been doing this for years now at shamoozal.com with a budget of zero dollars, and success doesn't come easy if at all. like snakebite says, its all about producing content, and i feel we can't do it fast enough...then again there's only two of us trying to produce shorts on as regular a basis as possible. we do it all on our spare time.

it gets frustrating at times. we have ups and downs.

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http://fsummers.blogspot.com/
www.shamoozal.com

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Charles
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Very true, lots of ups and downs, but what else would you be doing? Think about it. If you believe and have confidence, stick with it as long as the love is there. It's not easy, nothing worthwhile ever is. Ya gotta give it what in needs in order to make it happen, otherwise you can be sure it won't happen.

Took 10 1/2 years to build up my school to the point where it's at. The book I'm coming out with took 2 years to put together. The artwork that's in it spans a 22 year period. Content creation, building a business foundation, all that takes time. The key is to keep creating. It's at the very core of not just our business but of the human experience.

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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all good stuff.

I have found that working on 3 solid things is the max I can do. sometimes I just have to focus on one thing and then another thing interrupts it all giving me another thing...lol, it can be taxing.
good to have goals. I let the wind blow me for a long time. I see sense in goals now. goals feed other goals.

a plan with conviction is success.

the internet is great. we can share our goals and experiences. the mystery is revealed. good stuff.

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contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

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