If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney
Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter
Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn
When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi
Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb
Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.
I've been spending time with experts in online marketing. I had been watching the industry and keeping up with the industry but recently I ran into old friends and students who do quite well. I was surprised no end to find out there were no cartoonists nor animators amongst these people. Mind you these people make millions upon millions of dollars online selling. That's what they do, sell.
It's huge, far more than I had recalled when we first started doing marketing when the web was new.
In those days the technology to showcase video, comics, animation wasn't there but now it is in abundance.
I'm seeing an upcoming marriage between these marketing techniques and products with comics and animation much like was done in television. Think of doing five minute animated videos with all the pop and snazz of those classic tv commercials and you get big ass royalties and residuals as now you're work is being seen by billions on the web.
I can't go into much more detail as I've still got lots more studying to do and practical applications but it may well turn out to be a way for cartoonists to make very good incomes at home and have fun too.
It's an across the board future with not only providing services but selling and showcasing one's own artwork professionally marketed instead of building a website and hoping someone shows up.
I've said before an artist needs to know the business end and marketing end.
If/when things look like a smooth transition and business model I'll update here at AN.
Paburrows, you of all people should be having success. I really like your work.
However, online marketing would put a person with your talents in contact with 100's of thousands if not millions of people online who sell your products FOR you for a piece of the commission aka affiliates.
Now imagine your products being sold on tens of millions of blogs and no sweat off your back?
I'm onto the practical applications of this over the next two weeks and I'll know if it's viable. So far so good.
On my third week of studying the online marketing expansion I can say that it's a double edged sword.
The industry if full of so many scammers that wading through them all is a job in itself, however, there are diamonds in the rough all over the place.
What you have here are low creative people whose only creativity is in either stealing or copycatting. Ever see that before? Hmmm?
They wouldn't know an original idea if you beat them over the head with it. That is their biggest weakness.
As for artists and animators, the data I'm gathering is astounding. From selling your products to tutorials to ebooks, the sky is the limit BUT you have to be very web savvy.
There's so many customers that you couldn't saturate a comics/animation market if you tried. Just think of marketing as reaching all 3 or 4 billion people on the web and having others do the selling for you. All you do is produce but you need to know your ecommerce and web skills. If you delegate those skills to others you will get so screwed it's pathetic.
There's a plethora of free tools, software but getting the right techniques and formulas can be a challenge but perhaps I or one of my colleagues will come up with something that the newbie can apply.
I'd say it really is worth it to study online marketing thoroughly if you're an independent creator. Just having a website up isn't going to do it anymore. You gotta slap it, hit, flip, and rub it down.
This is valuable info Greg. Thanks for sharing with us. No matter what, there's no way around effective marketing and promotion. If your online content is compelling, you can build enough traffic, or even better yet, a community, and you'll likely wind up being part of the promotion and marketing of properties or products or services others are trying to market and promote.
These tools, techniques, and techologies are just what we've been looking for. Not only getting our products out there past the 'old boys' and 'bro club' blocks, but knowing how to optimize our efforts for efficiency and profit.
I'm troubleshooting three approaches. Ways for comics artists and childrens book artist/writers to just work, produce, and market. There are even sponsor and ad revenue options. Next is for animators to showcase their properties and/or produce properties for clients like we do for tv commercials. The key is in the math, the numbers and the growing number of websites that already have access to the public.
As for traffic, that's not going to be a problem. Right now "Content Is King". Quality content at that. There aren't enough animators and cartoonists on the planet to meet the growing opportunities but that depends on those artists to get computer and web savvy.
I'm compiling a list of free tutorials that showcase the fundamentals. That should help.
Whatever you can share along the lines you're describing Greg would be greatly appreciated by all including myself. There's lots of artists that are looking to the Web to launch their projects.
Oh you can bet I'll share Charles.
I've hooked up a free file sharing site that I can load any freebies and can plst the links here with your approval. There are tutorials on everything on how to build a website, drive traffic, blogging, social networking, free software, discounts and more.
I'm swamped with chores and study but give me some time to separate the chaff from the wheat and pass these tools etc. on to you to examine first. I don't want to post something here that could conflict.
Dave, it's insane.
So far all the lights are green. It's so positive I sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Each step of applying the practicals to the courses I'm taking are positive. No foul ups. Sure there's lots to slosh through and I'm talking 12 hour days of intensive study for weeks on end for me.
The toughest part now is seeing 'if' I can translate all this info into a safe, smooth, formula and operation for people who don't have marketing, web, computer, tech skills.
I would like it to be as hands free as possible but we are talking mass communications and global marketing technologies and techniques.
I'll be in communication with Charles first and foremost so he can see how it helps AN. That way I know any further ventures into the Animation Industry will be in the hands of people with it's best interests in mind.
Just stopped by to update this thread.
Again, all lights are green and the drills and guidelines I've been getting from the top people in the industry are promising to say the least.
I'm looking at how far and expanding these techniques used by the top marketers can be applied to artists and writers in animation and I see so much untapped potential it's staggering.
What it will take is just study and fine tuning a process of production, don't worry about promotion, but production of products and the use of animation for promoting and dressing up other company's products.
There's a two fold approach here that has to be tested. Some companies might hire animators, voice over people to produce something. They would pay outright. The top marketers could afford a $100k budget because they often make $20 million on a product. The moderate end marketers might offer a two stage deal of some money to produce and royalties from sales. This can be very lucrative as I've seen some marketers in the lower to mid range make $90k in a week with just a small bland looking product, however, those products continue to sell for years on end. The lower end marketers would just issue royalties/percentages from sales. This can be much more lucrative because a well done product can and often does launch into $100s of thousands of dollars and into the low millions of dollars and continue to sell.
It's a matter of a meeting of the minds from what I'm seeing. The rare few that do use animation/toons use them to enhance their brand name and make their content easier to comprehend. The toon end has been long overlooked and is now quite a topic of conversation and interest. Just covering the writing end of the marketing area I would need 10,000 writers. The reason is too much writing has been outsourced to foreign countries and the final products are sloppy to say the least. At first this was a money maker and still is, but people are catching on to the low quality and demanding more.
There is no animation company on Earth that could produce enough content for the marketing community. The marketing community has to be taught what goes into animation/cartoons/comics and that they're not made by little elves in hollow trees.
That's just the grunt work end of it. The products produced 'by' artists holds another level of potential major income. Here is where craftsmanship comes into play. If you're worth your salt, you have fans out there. You just can't reach them via websites and search engines, you need marketers that are experts in this field and there are growing millions of them worldwide. I can't say which products will sell as I won't be showing all my cards, but believe you me, there's a market for them in spades.
We're talking a whole new application of comics/animation/toons that has massive potential if all parties can cooperate. It's going to take some test runs and I can tell you right now, bigheaded, egotripping, hacks might just as well sit down and shut up because the marketing community watchdogs every marketer, company, producer and support staff. One screw up and the word is out via tens of thousands of newsletters and private message boards and you would get booted off the Earth. That's what I like about it. Do a good job and you'll get praised to the stars, do a rotten job or act like a prima donna and you'll get kicked to the curb fast.
So again, the success here is adapting both marketing and animation/toon procedures into something smooth that is equitable to all, thus providing needed income and employment for the long run.
Okay, I needed to update this thread.
I have been so immersed in marketing that I have been working 18 hour days for weeks on end.
Study and application so far have been quite profitable. No major stumbling blocks whatsoever. This is a field where if what you do makes money and/or increases traffic you will continue to work and pull in allies.
It's MASSIVE. Global online marketing is MASSIVE. It's at such levels that it can make your head swim. I've been studying and applying the basic formulas and procedures while always looking for how it can be applied to comics and animation.
So far I'd say 90% is set for distribution of comics and animation. That means that the delivery of product to consumer remuneration, can happen in a matter of seconds. That's how streamlined these marketers are. They have sometimes hundreds of thousands if not millions of people subscribing to their various websites and blogs who will buy what the marketers present.
How that works with comics and animation however is UNTOUCHED.
I say UNTOUCHED.
Why? Because no one has done it yet. So I'm baking my brain to figure out the right process to make use of this. You guys would not believe the simplest products like how to lose weight, how to raise your kids in plain text ebook format can sell millions $$$ so think what would happen if they were illustrated? So I polled the marketers about it and they said they thought it was a great idea BUT they either didn't know how to hire a cartoonist/animator nor what the costs would be. Those marketers who had looked into it found that either the costs were too high or when they did hire someone that artist was irresponsible, burning up budgets, causing social problems, just like a Hollywood film.
So in a nutshell I need to do more study and research because I need to figure out an equitable process and one last security issue. All it takes in just ONE animated/comics product to make a profit, didn't say a fortune, but a profit and the floodgates will open.
Marketers work by statistics ONLY. If throwing flaming s*** at a wall makes money, they'll market a "How to throw flaming s***" ebook, t-shirts, cars etc..
Some of my new clients I write and do some toons for own a variety of businesses. Some own yachts, restaurants, ranches, some are top professors, scientists, government officials. I'm literally stunned at the level of genius these people display. Some of the marketers are teenagers who are making $50k a month sitting on their butts, paid off their parent's debts and then paid for their own college tuitions.
We're talking super responsible, well disciplined people who study, study, study, and then apply the right things.
I've seen great grandmothers, women in their 70s write an ebook of maybe 40 pages and make $70k in no time. It's SICK!
The extra good news is that this industry has been cleaning itself up so much and more ethical standards are going into play every day. It really is a teamwork community of millions of people worldwide of all races and religions and no one gives a fart what color, race, religion you are, the only thing they care about is if you have something to market, need someone to market, can you create a product to market, and most of all are you honest and dependable. If you prove yourself honest and dependable you will get a flood of clients and partners. A FLOOD.
It's really an amazing phenomena to see people, real people, get together, share ideas and goals, team up, get their jobs done and make money and greater opportunity. You can even BARTER for great stuff too.
Some marketers don't make any money because of one thing only: They didn't study and apply things right. However, we team up and help each other and it's great to see a guy in India make $5k a month and feed an entire village and then gets online thanking you for helping him and he sends a pic or video of an army of hundreds of people smiling and saying thank you.
It's great to show some old timer, a veteran how to do a blog and put some money making links up and then see him a few weeks later with his first check for $1k that supplements his income and he sends us a pic of him with his family smiling and saying thank you and then two weeks later he gets a bonus check for $5k and is beaming with joy. Sure it's not a fortune but it's something he gets for sharing his knowledge with people around the world who find it of value.
So I have some more study to fine tune the legals and security issues regarding toons/comics/animation and again I'll run these past Charles in a report that he can look at the statistics and give his opinon.
I originally made the mistake of thinking I could dive in, read some info and come up with a battle plan but the sheer volume of information is so massive that it takes months to gather it all in and then you have to poll people, do the practicals and go each step of the way. Rushing in is not wise.
Now I have the task of seeing how it can apply to comics/animation and I see the potential but the models and protocols have to be addressed as this is marketing and doing work for hire is not advised UNLESS you are a partner with a marketer to sell a product OR you're showcasing your own products.
It's a three tiered thing and I'm almost there. Next is doing some practicals. It does look like that for doing six pages of a comic that targets a product an artist can make a good six figures fast. Not only that but there are other procedures that can get promotion to the point millions of people visit your website but I'm sure most artists who are out for the lazy/quick buck method of people kissing their butts aren't going to go for it.
Basic tools however are if you are web savvy to the point you can build and maintain a website or two with a blog or two. If you can do that you're 80% there.
Marketers admit that those who did use toons saw increases in sales well over 300% but again, most marketers either can't afford a cartoonist/animator even though many marketers make awesome money. They don't see justification of the high overhead, artist's ego demands. Those that did pay for cartoonists/animators got more headache than they bargained for. I'd say less than 1% of these marketers ever hired a cartoonist/animator but those that did and things went well did extremely well.
Finding a flow formula that an artist can follow and a flow formula that marketers can utilize will be my task. Low overhead but gains like crazy.
Of note, some marketers did try to outsource toons to India, Phillipines, Mexico, but the artists there demanded as much money as the stateside artists! That was a big surprise! China is doing the same thing, demanding more money! The demand for quality writing and art is so huge that I get at least 1/3 of my clients FROM India, China, Russia. America is so effed up that third world countries are hiring us because the labor and overhead are lower but the quality of writing and storytelling are higher.
I didn't get anything out of that, sorry Greg...and I feel a little misled too boot.
I don't understand this idea that artists ask for too much. I for one know this to not be true..and when they do get paid for their time, like they should, then they are asking too much?? I'm sorry, thats just silly.
If artists and their art content changes the game so much then artists should be on the same playing field with these marketers. Everyone brings their A game, everyone should get paid.
I don't feel sorry for people who can't afford content when they are raking it in... Intellectual Property is the new playing field. Is the new industry. So if an artist wants to get paid, chances are he/she is asking the right amount or far too little, and that makes it harder for the people asking for the right amount to ask for the right amount.
And good for overseas artist asking the same price. We should be supporting this way of thinking. Maybe then these money people will start to share. Doubt it, but at least they cant go overseas for crap pay...thats all a good thing to me.
I can get with the concepts of product development through IP. I've been doing that..but the idea that artists ask for too much because of their egos??? I can't get behind that..sounds like the ones with the egos are the people not willing to pay whats needed to make the extra flow...increases in 300 percent but can't afford the talent?? sounds like an amateur decision based off greed..and the irony, they could make more money if THEY weren't so greedy...artists should be treated as equals.
But tis the nature of money. makes people do silly things
In the eyes of some in the business world, anything an artist asks for is too much.
In this developing paradigm, artists shouldn't have to ask for anything. A new world order is emerging, so to speak, in which people who were cut off or disenfranchised by the traditional system are able to go right around it and build a system of their own, tapping into a world wide audience and market.
It's a leveling of the playing field where the meek compete with the mighty and they stand just as much a chance of winning as anyone else.
Exciting times, lots to be enthusiastic about when it comes to emerging opportunities via the Web. Anything is possible. This is only the beginning. The Internet is still a very new phenomenon.
Snakebite I knew you would so I'm not going to even try to explain it but instead demo it.
If anyone around here could make a fortune in the educational branch of marketing it's you and Charles regarding animation, comic art, techniques and training. If you had a simple ebook ready of only 40 pages within 24 hours you could have it in the hands of the public in the millions, however, like I said earlier, I need to look further into the security and highest profit margin procedures. So far they're good but I don't like to leave room for error.
Charles, it's odd but what you just posted is what I wrote a few articles about for a client just last week. It's an ongoing theme with his website and blogs and magazines. Companies and governments are still terrified about the internet lest another Google, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter emerge and upset the balance of power. Matt Drudge has one of the biggest news websites on Earth but it's only ONE page of black text on a white background. How did he beat out the major newspapers and networks? I remember Matt when he used to come to our AOL magazine forum Parascope and no one knew who he was. He would tell me about his website. Him, Alex Jones, Art Bell and of course Jeff Rense and the late Bill Cooper would all of us share news and events but and Matt, Art, Jeff went on to huge success in news. Totally upending the apple cart.
Every hour of the day commerce and government quake in fear that one of you will be the next WikiLeaks or YouTube. When it comes to getting animation and comics from independents into the marketing area there is practically little or no info. A new realm to investigate is all I'm saying. With the amount of money and volume of customers it would be a shame to not see artists making as much money as us writers do which is very substantial I can attest to.
So for now it's still in the explore and drill, demo, and verify phase and proving to the strong marketers that they need toons/animation. Then making a way for the artist/creator to be able to use a simple formula for marketing to boost their income. If writers can do it in a matter of a few days then artists should be able to.
I very much see what's happening in the way you describe it Greg. There's lots of Web based success stories now. Many of them huge. Ten years ago everyone was looking for a model as to how to make the Internet work for them and pay off. Now there's models all over the place. It's not a matter of whether it will work for you. It's more about what's right for you and what the hell are you waiting for.
Everything is being affected. Governments, educational systems and institutions, even human behavior.
I'm rethinking all that I know and have been aspiring to as far as my goals are concerned, rather, the means to reach those goals. The Internet is integral to it all. In fact, not much else matters at this point, especially if it doesn't involve the Web.
I just don't see the sense of going the traditional way any more. From publishing to intellectual property development to production to teaching to the importance of brick and mortar.
In fact, I find that dealing with the traditional methods of marketing and development and education and what have you are actually getting in the way of moving towards the new frontier. I think they help in establishing a real presence and developing a good reputation, but the return on the effort, time and expense that goes into just doesn't pay off like a Web based operation would.
That's what I'm learning from my comparison with teaching face to cafe in person classes where everyone has to physically be in a the same location in order to learn, as opposed to an online program that makes geography and physicality a complete non-issue.
Whatever you can share about this topic and the knowledge you're gaining you have a receptive audience in me and I'm sure many others, so thanks for keeping the topic going.
Charles you really have your finger on this! What you just said is what I wrote in an article last week.
Let me give you two examples of people who took up marketing and made fortunes.
One is a music teacher. High School music teacher. He studied the techniques, made a video pdf series about teaching music and is one of the top marketers in the mid range area having made at least a million $$$ from home with just a video camera! He now teaches other marketers. He broke the mold for educational online marketing. His courses on marketing and music are remarkable. He's a real help to all.
Another is a doctor, a heart surgeon from India who was looking for ways to pay for children in India who needed heart operations. He studied marketing, used his writing skills and is making hundreds of thousands of $$$ that he donates to his non profit to pay for the surgeries. His story is inspirational to the entire online marketing industry. I teamed up with him so we could fly him to our adult stem cell treatment centers to learn the latest techniques which he'll bring back to India. He was so happy to meet us and we were thrilled to have him.
That's why I said guys like you and Bite should be able to make fortunes doing educational products. Heck, any cartoonist worth their salt should be able to do it. However, in our marketing databases of products there are NO cartoon/animation tutorials. NONE!
So we're breaking ground. Add to that I'm working for a client who developes the latest Web 2.0 software and networks. They have software that can allow you to teach globally from a freakin' cell phone if need be. Video, chat rooms, instant messaging. Think of Facebook meets Twitter meets MySpace meets a video game. All secured and internal and some of the software is FREE. I didn't know that until last week! I've had to re-learn how to build apps and frameworks for such procedures.
So there's an open playing field but I like to take things on a proper gradient and so far each step has been beneficial, educational, and profitable. I just need to do some tests on the art/educational procedure to see what happens.
Basically it's a two step procedure. You put out a small product that the marketers send out. You can either sell it to the marketers who resell to the public. That product is like a mini website with text, video, audio, and hyperlinks to your websites and blogs and products! One marketer may have 10,000 subscribers but you have a million marketers with that many and more. The safe procedure is to make a free/introductory product that marketers can distribute that leads to your bigger product that has the price tag.
That's a generalized approach and I need to test it more before showing how it's done. The math is simple in that you have an army of people with global sized customer bases and these marketers are ALWAYS looking for a quality product to sell. If you provide that product with the right profit potential then you WILL sell and you WILL sell in huge numbers.
I see it happen every day.
So again, I have more study and application to see if it's viable for cartoonists/animators as you produce your products from the ease of home, put your price tag on it, announce it to the marketers and watch your PayPal account grow. Intant pay.
So far it's working for other venues from pet products to fishing to home repair and more so it should work for cartoons/animation. One of my clients is a top mathematician/physicist. He can sell his classes online so anyone should be able to!