In previous blogs, I’ve talked about the wisdom of producing animated films based on indigenous stories and how native tales, retold through the medium of animation, can be both profitable and personally rewarding.
The big remaining question is whether or not these kinds of films can be made for international audiences while maintaining profitability. The answer is yes. In the formula below notice how many times I talk about ‘international team’, because that’s at the heart of a successful formula.
This plan focuses on a film being done in an Asian country but it works whether or not you come from an Asian POV or a Western POV.
It’s critical that an international team be formed to lead your project right from the beginning. As the story and characters are developed you must have folks who are knowledgeable about what will and what will not work in the West. You, in turn, must determine if these Western elements will work in your country. It becomes a delicate balancing act.
Someone on the team needs to help create the overall look of the film and design of the characters. A team member will also need to ensure there is an international balance for the script, the music and production elements.
So, where does this ‘international team’ come from? How much will it add to the cost of the film? How will an international audience enhance revenues? Enough with the questions!! I’ve done this before and here are some of the answers.
Most of my team members came from the USA, UK, Philippines and Singapore. They were people I knew or knew of. Personal interviews with all of them were necessary to make certain they would be able to provide the required creative input.
In most cases, the requirement was for a six month commitment. However, because their continued input became so important, often their stint ran beyond that timeline.
Additional requirements for the job included artists who were:
- looking for an interesting cultural experience (this was very important in that our budgets were small and the artist needed to appreciate the value of the cultural experience)
- team leaders
- team players
- able to wear more than one creative hat
- good trainers
Often the international creative team would provide some of the character voices and/or co-direct an episode and/or write some of the music lyrics.
By choosing the best international creative talent available for the limited budgets, and by having them wear multiple hats, budgets were maximized. While they worked on the film, they also were able to teach the studio artists the finer points of international production.
In my next blog I’ll focus on the revenue side. By adding more countries and markets for your film distribution, what might you expect in additional revenues?