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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Does AN have the manpower, guidance to do a feature 2D movie?

   
Author Topic: Does AN have the manpower, guidance to do a feature 2D movie?
Greg B
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With all the talent and experience on this board, I got to thinking that what if let's say yours truly found a funding source of around $50-$100 million and I recommended AN as a source of gathering together some 2D animation talent.

Do you guys think there's enough talent/management amongst the members to pull off a 90 minute feature?

Just asking for now as I'm regrouping my resources and new sponsor/marketing connections I've gathered this year.

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Sergio Pablos
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This is the kind of thing everyone who has ever complained about the state of 2D Animation should sign up for.

I would applaud such an iniciative, and I'd be very interested in being a part of it.

By the way, Yes, there is more than enough talent (including management) here at AN.

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Greg B
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I agree Sergio.

The battle would be 1/3 over if we do have that manpower.

The next step would be a proposal that whets the appetites of investors.

That proposal would have to include a complete property perhaps in comic book format, designs, storyboards and the estimated time frame, ROI, etc.

Distribution shouldn't be a problem because a kick butt property is going to attract attention.

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SNAKEBITE
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YES!

We keep doing what we're doing on this site, Greg, and eventually we won't need to seek the finance people, they will come seeking us.

Its not a matter of if anymore, its just a matter of when.

Be prepared.

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Greg B
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Bite, you got that right!

Hey! I made a funny!

Bite, Right!

Doo Dah! Doo Dah!

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Paul D
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I worked with a fantastic group of artists for the past three years on a job that has left me pretty excited about what is possible in 2D animation. At the risk of sounding immodest... The Illusionist is a great looking film.

Some of the animators on the film had been working in 3D before making the switch back to 2D. Some were veterans and many others were right out of school. A few had been doing commercials. One of the best animators on the picture was a bus driver in Germany who had been animating at home in the evenings.

The talent is definitely out there!

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Greg B
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Paul D, that's an astounding story!

I've gotta see that movie!

Who coordinated such a staff? How did a bus driver acquire enough talent to become a feature animator or was he an animator all along and just got a job as a bus driver?

We need more info Paul D! [Smile]

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Paul D
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Movie's not out yet and so won't say much. There are a couple of folks who post (or at least lurk)on this sight who worked at the Edinburgh studio or Paris studios. I'll let them out themselves.

I will say that the film looks great! The quality of the work done by the animators, artists, and comp people is very good. I would love to get that crew back together again! Iheir talent and their commitment to the project and to each other was impressive!

As for the bus driver... he was freelancing (when he could get it) in the evenings and driving a bus during the day. I did a small recruiting trip across Europe (one country a day for eight days) and he met us in Cologne because it was his day off.

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Paul D
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you know... I think he'd probably be annoyed to be called "the bus driver." He's a fantastic and extremely hard working ANIMATOR.
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tstevens
IE # 234
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A few things to think about...

? Is this a virtual studio or a physical studio?
? Are the artists going to be staff, freelance or a combination of both?
? Will you have to farm material out domestically and or internationally?
? Is this a union studio and if so what union. Remember, a company can not create its own union so the idea of AN uniting for the sake of the common artist becomes problematic if it is the one calling the shots.
? Would an AN animation studio provide healthcare for all employees.
? Every production needs producers and directors. How would you choose a competent producer?
? Is this a co-operative project or one with a top down organization. Studios that do not have a clear leader tend to be ones that eventually flounder. If it is a top down situation then who will step up to own the company? Charles or Snakebite would seem logical. Do they want to own and run a studio?
? If this is an AN production will AN members recieve preference when hiring? Who will determine the artisitc capability of people who apply?


I appreciate the thought that AN could organize itself into a company (and that is what it would be). However, you may find that in running a studio you will have to face the "core" values of AN head on as both an owner/producer, and activist.

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E. Allen
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As I said, been saying, exciting times!

That story about the bus driver in Germany who was spending his off time animating is extraordinary, and I'd like to learn more about him.

This is certainly feasible; AN as a production entity of sorts. Talent on here is off the charts. I knew that, ever since my first AN night.

Investors are probably looking at these above statements now and going, "Duh-ah-duh-ee!" It's that obvious.

Along the lines of what Bite was saying, I believe things are gonna come to a head and soon, and AN will definitely become a force to be reckoned with. A matter of time? We're so close, I could wake up tomorrow to what was described above. It would be a new reality, a redefined industry.

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jeffnevins
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Interesting topic. [Cool]

To help you get a very slightly clearer idea of manpower, I'd be willing to work.

Guidance? The right person/people could do it-

Side note: The Chosen One & Sealed With a Kiss are 2D indie (Flash) features that come to mind...

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Sergio Pablos
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Greg B, I think finding a good property shouldn't be too hard. I'm sure a lot of members here have or are currently working on their own ideas. I myself am developing two Feature Projects at the moment, with more coming down the line.

In a few months, I'll be shoping around for investors myself. As it has happended in the past, most likely these properties will be bought and taken from my hands, and I'll be watching from the sidelines as they're turned into a distortion of what I had originally envisioned.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing. God knows how hard it is to even sell the properties, and I'm thankful I've been able to. However, one can't help but wonder what would happen if artists themselves could make the calls, rather than executives.

Tstevens, those are all great questions. Unless someone at AN is thinking about setting up a Studio, which I'm assuming is not the case, I think what we're talking about here is using AN as a platform for something like what Greg B is proposing.

We're not just a bunch of individual artists; there are business owners, content producers, managers and so on among us. Our collective resources are staggering. AN is a great platform for communication and for proposing new approaches, such as this one.

Those questions will come up if this proposal has legs, but I don't think anyone is talking about Animation Utopia, where everyone gets to work on a film simply because they regularly visit this forum.

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Greg B
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Looks like the troubleshooting is being done right here on the board.

In the past I'd have investors sitting around like a pride of lions waiting for a herd of zebras. My problem was they didn't know the how to's regarding animation. They knew the ROIs were high thanks to the rental and licensing but it wasn't being projected here on AN until the past year. With the economic strife the investment profile has shifted. Financing now comes from overseas as folks over there bought the debt we'd incurred here.

There's still tons of money in the U.S. but it's in the hands of people who don't know or deal with the entertainment industry. They have to be hatted as well. It's been an uphill battle as real estate and precious metals were always a sure bet but with real estate gone through the floor and the new second round of adjustable mortgages due the real estate venue is crap for the seller but for one who is buying it's a gold mine.

The major plus side is that Hollywood has been making more money than ever. Comics have permeated the film and tv and web to such a degree they're almost irresistible just from the stats alone. It's just a matter of explaning comics to people who aren't familiar with them. The last step is a good 2D feature film that rakes in the cash. If that comes along before the end of next year there'll be more investors than woodticks at a beaver's funeral.

For me, I have to just keep on producing new properties. Once I've done that the investors will be ready to bite more but in the meantime the new AN front page gives me more info to send them to. It's all about educating the public about animation. It's history, the mechanics, the market. Maybe an Animation Stats page showing the popularity and income generated. Something a banker could glance at and get it. Believe you me, just looking at the history myself it all spells out money in big caps.

Present, educate, strategize. It'll work.

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Striker
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Sorry to be the voice of pessimism here, but it seems this subject comes up every few years, that someone wants to start a production using the talent on AN to do it. It is a great idea, but the logistics of organizing something like that are mind boggling. The only solution I ever saw was to have an actual physical studio, perhaps in the L.A. area to work out of. Of course that would exclude us other people who live in different areas of the world, but I don't see any other practical solution. Of course I'm sure if you could really get a hundred million dollars Greg that would be a hell of a motivater.

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GaryClair
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I designed a logo for your studio..
 -

You can call it "Talking Out Of -ss Productions"
If you abreviate it to TOA Studios, it sounds Hawaiian!
[funny]

I love yas.. but we've heard this many times before Greg. Disney happened because he was an artist and business man.. he understood the craft. Average Joe business man who sees the insane amount of money being generated by animated movies and wants to tap into that well is only going to flush his investment down the toilet.

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Skynet
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That logo stinks man! Hehehe...

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Sergio Pablos
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It's all impossible until someone who ignores that fact goes and does it.

The market is flooded by less than spectacular films, many of which are the result of avid investors falling into the wrong hands. Every once in a while, someone who knows what he's doing manages to land the deal.

Once again, I don't think we're talking about a bucolic Animation Studio here. Of course it would take one or several phisical studios to accomplish this. If we could put togheter a good property, a well though-out production plan, and the support of investors, it could be possible.

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tstevens
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I readilly admit that I am often the doubting Thomas. However, Sergio does have good points and GregB deserves credit for being optimistic.

I think AN is a good place to meet like minded individuals. The problem is that most of us have seen (Like gary has noted) how every few years this comes back up. Creating a virtual studio is tough, though it can be done.

If anyone around here has the ability to get a project like this going it would be Sergio. I can only think of a few other guys on this board who have his credentials or ability (there use to be guys like Dave Brewster, but I'm not even sure what name he guys by any more).

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Richard
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I'd definitely give it a spin, Greg!

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Greg B
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It's good we bring this topic up now and then just to test the waters to see where the opportunities stand. Each year things get better and better to pursue such a venture. In the old days the money was there but the manpower and will weren't. Nowadays the manpower is here, the money is still here although coming from different sources and the tools to do such a venture has made the possibility of engaging in such more equitable.

Doubts come from fear. And when you're afraid your worst doubts will come true for 'you'.

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SNAKEBITE
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The question of whether or not virtual studios are possible is not really...well, a question. People have done it and are doing it. Lots of new musical projects out there for a bit now that involves people emailing parts to other musicians in different locals to do it. A recent project maybe someone else will recall was sent literally all around the world. One musician would start. Without talking about it, he sent it to someone in another country, they added a part...this happened many times and came back full circle without further editing and released with everyones parts. World collaboration.

Music has done everything first in the pioneering of the exchange of ideas and the different ways to collaborate, produce and distribute.

I always use the music industry as a gauge, I would suggest we all do...

Whats great about AN is that its a hub to meet virtual collaborators. Its a great place to learn from everyone's experiences. This is a place to meet people you might want to produce with. A place to bring or find your potential investors. A
place to share what you're going through as you do these things. When you're producing, hopefully you'll come back from time to time to show us whats up and share your trials and tribulations so we might all learn from them....AND, then when you created your masterpiece you return to share it using our Home Page Multi Media Platform to debut it to the world and to return full circle to strengthen our community by association.


and maybe, you'll be able to hire a bunch of us a long the way.

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EustaceScrubb
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In principle I agree with what Sergio Pablos said: "It's all impossible until someone who ignores that fact goes and does it. "

The specifics of nailing down the funding are something else, and I remain a bit skeptical about how many of these "investors" are really available to invest in an animated feature, but perhaps Greg will provide some more concrete information on that .

But no matter, put that aside for now , let's have some courage. Such an effort may not succeed, but wouldn't you rather try than just still be bitching about it 10 years from now ?

quote:
"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY.

LOW WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG HOURS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS.

SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.

HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN EVENT OF SUCCESS."


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quote:
"Nobody knows anything."

-William Goldman, screenwriter, on the motion picture industry , in his book " Adventures in the Screen Trade"


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Greg B
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The trick is you gotta disagree with the "agreement it's impossible".

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toonstruck
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In order to even think this has a chance, someone is going to have to put on their business hat and make a real game plan. No investor in their right mind is going to invest enough money to make a feature unless there is a solid foundation in place (and I don't mean artists).

Most investors with real money, after doing their due diligence are going to realize that even though animation can make money, it is more akin to rolling the dice. It's going to take some real footwork by someone to convince them otherwise. With real facts and examples. By examples, you can't really use Pixar, Disney or DreamWorks that have a slate of films to back up the flops. You have to compare it to one-off studios/films.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic. Okay, I am being pessimistic. No maybe's about it. However, I've seen all of this first hand with a group I've been involved with. What a mind numbing process.

You'll have to find a really special investor to make this happen. People have pulled it off in the past, so anything is possible. You'll just have to get someone to put in a solid year or two of footwork for the possibility of no return.

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Lee Crowe
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Disney happened because he was a great storyteller and his BROTHER was a great business man. Without Roy, Walt would've been another...Well, I dunno...it's hard to compare Walt to anybody...Walt wasn't as good an artist as Messmer or Fleischer...and Walt probably also wouldn't have succeeded (to the level that he did) without Ub Iwerks or Fred Moore...

My ADD point is...Ooh! There goes a butterfly...!

Uh...We need an investor who's related to one of us. We need that rare money person who is REALLY looking out for our interests instead of trying to screw us.

Turner Feature Animation was a model for this kind of studio, for a moment, for the first 2/3rds of "Cats Don't Dance". Ted Turner just gave us money and got out of our way.

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rocktoonz
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If you want to do the movie in Flash, if you have about $200K, 5 animators and 9 months, your can do a feature like Dixie Dynamite.
This film will be screening at the Long Beach Comicon this Sunday.
I had the pleasure of animating on it as well, it was a blast. Yes, you can do a feature well under a million dollars!
Dixie Dynamite the movie

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rocktoonz
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Meanwhile, I'm doing shorts with our new animation co-op Pink Slip Animation. We are cobbling a site together as we speak.
Pink Slip Animation

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hamsterbite
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I don't have the production experience to predict whether AN can yet swing someting like this, but I sure love the sound of it!
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SNAKEBITE
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No doubt, the talent is here to produce. But again, I don't see AN producing content, outside of our individual projects, but facilitate a platform to be seen by the traffic we're attracting.

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E. Allen
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I love the look of Dixie Dynamite. Seems to be like it's an Alex Toth/60's Pop Art mash-up, with some good lip sync animation to boot.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Film for Theaters was done for $750k, and while there are plenty examples of feature-length animated films done for under a mil, I'm looking at examples where it can be pulled off (at that budget) with a level of quality to match Balto or even Ferngully, and that is what makes me doubtful.

I think that is what it will really take to realize our holy grail of a goal and silence the naysayers.

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Greg B
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Rocktoonz, thanks for that info! Raising $200k is no problem. Only problem is it might be too low.

Heck, if you got 20 companies paying $10k each for product placement or recognition plus backend money you would have that paid out in a few days.

A project with a budget like that would be neat to train students on too.

Believe it or not there are municipalities that could kick out that much if tourism is part of the picture. More like advertising dollars but not hitting the audience over the head with it.

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