Co-productions seem to be the standard for most independent animation projects. But what does this mean? Where does this money come from? Today’s co-productions are as solid as a house of cards. A small breeze and the whole thing could collapse.
It all starts with a great concept? So, one would think. But really it is sort of a convergence not a start. The first card is a great concept. Will the show idea appeal to an audience? Can it be translated into a brand? Will it be accepted beyond the US territory? Can there be a life beyond the series? These are all questions that need to be asked by all parties. Every creator will have an answer for all of these questions. But the most important question of all of these is will this concept travel outside of the US into other territories?
When an overseas animation studio gets involved in a co-production, that is one of the first questions they ask. They want to know that it will appeal to their local population, as well as elsewhere. They need to have it appeal locally because many animation production studios have to look locally for funding and if the funds are available through the government, then this show better be appropriate for that country.
But there are even deeper concerns the overseas producer needs to consider, depending on the source of the money. Will this be considered a local production?
The other important factor in a co-production is who will do the distribution, which is usually the other partner, and if there is broadcaster interest in this show. Perhaps there isn’t a broadcaster on board yet, but there might be a licensing deal, such as toy deal ready to launch.