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...another "how to start an animation studio" thread.

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...another "how to start an animation studio" thread.

First of all, i'd like to introduce myself as a new member of these forums, probably to answer possible questions, and for those who are just a little too lazy to check my profile ¬_¬

I`m Kizeki, a 22 year old manga artist from Madrid, Spain. I have been watching and loving anime and movies since i was a kid, and becoming part of the animation and filmmaking industry has always been my dream. If you're asking if i have any experience in animation: nope, none at all. But if i let my lack of experience stop me from achieving my goals, then, when the hell will i ever achieve any experience?

I have read plenty of threads in forums and articles about people who have been in the same situation i find myself in right now. A lot of them helped me realize how hard this is. I know forming an animation studio from scratch, and with no budget, is no joke, but i'm not talking about just wanting to fulfill a desire just because suddenly i felt like entering this enourmous and complex world called "animation". I'm talking about my future. This is something I will achieve no matter what happens, and no matter what people tell me.

So, the reason i'm posting this is(if it's not that obvious yet), because i'm asking for help from those who have had experience in this matter, or even those who haven´t but could atleast give me tips, or even those who want to give me a push forward and give me a pat on the shoulder.

So many questions are coming into my mind right now, but for the meanwhile i think it would be best if i just asked for basics first. I'm planning to keep this thread alive for a very long time, both for me and for other members who might find this useful.

First off, imagine you're young, inexperienced, don't have any income, and you live in a country where animation is not a major industry (or better said, an industry that not many people are willing to take a dive into), and your dream is to form an animation studio.

What would be the best way to start out in your own opinion? What would you need to learn? What are the important things you should take note of?
What equipment and preparations will you need for this war? (long live the epic movies!)
Personally all the weapons i have in my armory are: the ability to draw, the ability to turn inspiration into stories and scripts, charm (maybe), and persistence.
If you wanna know what profession i'd like to take when i get into the animation industry then without a doubt i'd eventually want to be a director and author.

Okay, i think thats enough to open this thread. Thanks for taking your time to read this. If ever you notice that my english is a little rusty and i lack proper grammar, then please forgive me, and feel free to correct me. I'll appreciate anyone wanting to help me with my questions, or anyone wanting to help me improve my english. ^_^
Thanks again!!!

almost forgot
the type of animation studio i'm trying to form is gonna be using traditional 2D animation, atleast at the beginning.

Ark'meth's picture
Dreams are for idiots and fools... so you shall call me Sir Idiot N. D'fool :cool:

Dreams are for idiots and fools...
so you shall call me Sir Idiot N. D'fool :cool:

The first, most, important part of any journey is a map.
Once you have an idea of how to get to you are going, you gather your supplies ( resources) and begin.

However, I'm not taking your journey, you are, so you are the one to discover what you have to bring with you.

Yes, this is a very obtuse answer, but you are starting a journey with admittedly no experience and no resources. Its like standing on the shores of the Atlantic and saying you are going to get to North America. How???

I'd suggest gaining those resources: ergo--learn all you can about animation.
The tools to do so are mostly right here at your fingertips.
It will not be as easy as me, or someone else, giving you the answers.
If you truly have persistance, you will find those answers.

Good luck.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

once u have all gathered your animation informaton,
the next step can be split in 2 way direction:
1. either do your own animation film (which is hard to do) and than try to publish it.
2. or get a bank loan to form your little animation studio, hire some animators and get a sponsor who would like to give you help.

second oppertunity is the hardest part to start with, but it eventually must come.

i think that begining with your own movie/series..whatever can be a good self experience.

there is no easy way out.

Visit my site


I would have to say 'know your audience!'.

Its fine wanting to start an animation studio but the only way you'll keep that animation studio from going under is to make money. Unfortunately, even in animation it does make the world go round. You mentioned you have written some scripts/stories. If you haven't already, get an experienced writer to read through them and see if they have the potential to go anywhere. Before you can begin thinking about getting a production going you need to have something worth investing in and in your case that means a kick ass narrative/script. You'll need to know your market to achieve this so do plenty of market research on your chosen style/genre and find out what worked and what didn't and why. Naturally, by getting an experienced writer on board at an early stage will help in understanding some of the elements to avoid/to adhere to. The process of writing the script can be a huge amount of fun when you're bouncing ideas off someone else.

Its important to be aware of how to put together really good project proposals that specify everything from the format to the character bibles.

Once you have all this in place, then you can get a better idea of how you'll approach producing it and what attributes your animation studio requires to get it off the ground.

Get the ground work done first, then you can think about producing your ideas!


without experience?

experience is the foundation for solving problems.
starting a studio will keep you occupied with administrative,
production, and financial problems rather than creative.

dunno about your country, but in mine: people who are long
in the business treat 'outsiders' rather condescendingly.

and they cheat the hell out of them.

hahaha. just kidding.
i wish.

if you can't draw, or won't, try working in a studio as a
production assistant. don't require much. and you'll be
exposed to a lot of problems.

then you'll get that invaluable experience.

Don't worry.  All shall be well.

Without the financial backing that Pixar has, you will fail. If you are shooting for a Pixar model.

But if you have a vision of your own, and are willing to bust your butt, you just might pull it off.

"Hard work" doesn't always pay off the way you think, some times it pays off with you being a cripple and the moneyed guys walking off in the sunset to their rosey retirement. That's the cliche, and it doesn't matter what business you are in.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

First off, imagine you're young, inexperienced, don't have any income, and you live in a country where animation is not a major industry (or better said, an industry that not many people are willing to take a dive into), and your dream is to form an animation studio.

Probably the cheapest way is to make a web presence, like JibJab, and start small and build skills. At least that way you are still creating, even while learning. They started out in a basement or garage. I wouldn't shoot for a full fledged studio with employees right off the bat. Do you have a couple short pieces you want to make right now, work on them with friends and family, and get noticed through the internet. Later when you have "rep" you can go the whole business model, bank loan thing.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Thanks to everyone for the good advices. These are the type of things i wanted to hear.

Ken Davis: Thanks, what you say really inspires me. You're totally right,
nobody will learn all this for me, i have to do it by myself.
About learning animation, i have already enrolled in an animation
school where i'm gonna be learning all i need (i hope) to start out.
It's gonna be a 3 year course, and it will probably be my first step
for becoming an animator. I'm not sure if this school is as good as
people say, and i really hope it is (coz it will cost me 600 euros
just for the registration and another 250 euros per month, ouch)
but while i`m learning animation, i wanted to learn a little about
the animation business, although i have no idea where i can do
that. I've heard it is the toughest part.

Shany: I have had trouble finding a good (and hopefully freeware) program for
animation. I'm planning to buy myself a good animating table. People
tell me I should use programs like flash, but i don't think it is the best
software for hand drawn animation. I also tried GIF maker and it
works a lot easier than flash, but if there are any other suggestions
on what other programs are available, then i'd really, really appreciate
The idea of making a bank loan also came into my mind some time
ago, although i think it could be a great risk, which i would be willing
to take only if i had no other option. I have plenty of friends in spain
who I'm sure would love to take part in this, but as all of you would
know, asking them to work for free could easily end up in a negative
response. A method i wanted to plan out was something like: instead
of hiring them for full-time jobs, i'd just ask them to work with me as
collaborators. Then in the future, we'd share all the benefits.
Thanks for the tips, they made me think a lot.

Gav: Yeah, I've done many scripts for my own personal use. The only
problem is, as you've noticed, i have a big problem when i write. My
english is practically as bad as my spanish. I know you'll say my english
is not that bad, but for writing, i really lack a lot of good words. So to
solve my problem, i thought the best way to deal with this would be
finding someone to turn my ideas into scripts ( i think i already know
who). I have been the best at drawing manga in all the manga schools i
have been to, but my friends didn't recognize me because of my
drawings, but because of my stories i kept telling over and over again
to everyone. So honestly i think i have the potencial to create a really
really big idea with a huge impact. The only problem is that i simply
can't write it down.
Now, about the audience, this is really gonna be hard. First of all, a lot
of people here in Spain watch Anime. The problem is, nobody here in
Spain has ever attempted to make an Anime Studio (atleast i've never
heard of anyone trying), so i have no evidence as to what kind of
anime the people here like/dislike. Probably all the anime that has been
realeased in japan has eventually become famous here. But if you're
asking me about the genre or the ideas of the stories. I know exactly
what people in this country (people my age, younger, or even older)
will like.
I'm glad you told me this. It stops me from totally diving into the
production of the project. I almost forgot i need to start with the base
before anything else. Thanks for this :)

Kukut: hahaha... now that you mention it, people from my country are
somewhat similar. They don't tend to help newbies much.
I can draw, but for this studio, i was planning on concentrating more
on the technical part of it rather than the creative aspects.
About working as a production assistant, i really would love to, but
how would i be able to make that possible though? Do you mean
working in my own studio or get hired by another one? I bet no one
will hire me yet, atleast as a producer. If ever i'm gonna work in
another studio (which i've planned to do) I think i would best start at
lower ranks. As an animator, or inbetweener... or even maybe it could
be best if i started as a runner. Then i'd try and climb my way up to
higher ranks. (just like most people do :))
Now the only problem is, as i have mentioned before, that finding an
animation studio in spain that is in need of employees, is as hard as
starting an animation studio by yourself (atleast in my own opinion).
I've done a lot of research on animation studios in this country, and
all of the studios here are either working on something else, or have
been dissolved.
This is something i must take in mind. Maybe this country has no
room for animation studios. But instead of making me feel down and
hopeless, this makes me want to make a studio even more. If i ever
get the opportunity to change the way animation studios get treated
in this country, then theres no doubt i'll give everything i have.
Anyways, i'm glad you took your time to help me out here kukut.
Thanks so much :)

I'm so glad so many people are interested in helping me out on this. I'll try to keep this thread alive til the day i have achieved this goal, so i can give my thanks to everyone once more.

Another set of questions i wanted to ask hehe...(please forgive me if some of these sound stupid, if i ask them it is because i really don't know)

As kukut mentioned before, the administrative, productive and financial matters will be of most importance when i start out. I was wondering how would i learn to get a brief idea about these areas. I'm sure animation studios dedicate their time on teaching the pupils how to animate, and nothing about the more professional subjects. So aside from getting experience by actually working in a studio, in what other ways could i get some research on this?

What postitions have to be filled in order to form a team (studio) in terms of producing. All i know are basic positions like Directors, Producers, Animators, Cleanup artists, Storyboard artists, Layout artists, Colorists, Background artists, Writers, Sound specialists... so, for a small studio, what are the most essential parts that must be taken? So far i thought finding Assitant directors and junior animators are not priorities because were talking about a small studio, atleast, as of now.

Now this is something that really got me thinking and doubting. Some people in these forums mentioned that you'd need an average of 1 million dollars to start an animation studio. So i really asked myself, "are these people talking about starting out a common animation studio, or do they mean starting out a studio as great as Disney?" I personally think money is very important, especially for starting out, but, 1,000,000 dollars??? If what they say is true, then maybe i'd have to concentrate more on making money first rather than learning :(

Okay, i think this is getting a little too long. I'm really surprised people are helping me and those in the same situation. Honestly i'm getting more help from you people who i have just met, than people who i've known all my life :S

Thanks again!!!!
(Btw if anyone's interested, i added a gallery with my drawings in the forums. I mention this because i do requests, so ask me for drawings while i'm still doing em for free!!!)

Cya all!!!


Dreams are for idiots and fools...
so you shall call me Sir Idiot N. D'fool :cool:

most of the 1,000,000$ mentioned doesn't much goes to the studio, 60-80% goes for the salaries.

animation software: old but the best, i recommend:

AUTODESK ANIMATOR STUDIO v1.0 - April 12, 1995.

one of the best animation softwares out. (no joke!)
you can find it over p2p like emule.

Visit my site

Hola, Ark'meth

I do not want to be the devil's advocate or anything, but just a word of warning. You are in for a rough ride. I too had dreams of owning a studio. I had 14 years of industry experience behind me (half of which was directing series and films), a strong head for business, a partner who had 20+ years of industry experience as a producer. I tried to do it last year, opening a studio in one of Canada's animation Meccas, Montreal.

However, these and many more assets still did not add up to enough. People will expect you to come up with some of the financing for projects, or work in co-production, or you will just not know who to take seriously and who not to. We had a few contracts on the go at one point; big contracts. But when presented with the budget, they had financing for only 1/4 of the series (at best), and could not come up with the rest for at least another year. I don't know about you, but I am unwilling to wait a year with no salary for these peopel to possibly come up with the money, but probably not.

If you want to make it work, you will need, in addition of a plethora of experience behind you, some MAJOR capital (dinero). Usted no puede abrir un estudio sin esas dos cosas. Confíeme.

Anyways, I just wanted to give the word of warning to you.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

a runner is good

my favorite production manager (and a couple more i knew back then)
rose from being camera assistants to setting up their own.

one utility guy with no college background came to be a compositor,
sleeping in-house with the Avid machines, poring over the manuals night
after night.

get hired. where else will you get the experience?
there are no special requirements to break in as production asst.:
[*]handy with a calculator (knowledge of footage-frame counting)
[*]knows how to be firm without being disliked (personal charm)
[*]organizational skills (know where to look for folder 914 among 6 dept's.)
[*]social skills (can handle different artists' neurotic temperaments)
[*]knack for problem-solving (how to simplify the status report for the boss or client, knowing it would get resolved before anybody finds out)
[/list]for a runner: good legs, good ears.

Don't worry.  All shall be well.

Asking folks to just collaborate at start up may work for friends and family. Most beginning freelancers have already been bit by this model. So don't build it into your business plan. You'll end up doing everything yourself in the end because people will bale on you.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Asking folks to just collaborate at start up may work for friends and family. Most beginning freelancers have already been bit by this model. So don't build it into your business plan. You'll end up doing everything yourself in the end because people will bale on you.

Contracts would take care of some of those problems.

I disagree with a lot of the advice given here, to "map out" your future. I don't think you know enough to be able to come up wtih a plan. (This is not a bad thing.)

I suggest you gain as much experience as possible. Assemble storyboards. Draw. Scan. Put together your own animations, even if they're incredibly short.

Look to build a team. I called some local colleges and said I was looking for interns, and they connected me with a number of art students who wanted to be animators.

I started doing this a year ago, and I'm now heading a six-person studio (plus several contractors), making anime-style short animations. It's all self-funded, but man is it fun.

We all have our views,just got to choose the best one .

Dear People,

Well we all expressed our views and experience.It is definately good to share our views .I fell at Night doesn`t mean everyone will fall at night. The thing is be aware in the dark cos your eyes can`t see.

Well I have been observing this animation business for a pretty long time.You win some you loose some that`s the way things go.

So what I want to say is I am planning to myself finally go for a animation studio , will try to do what pixar does and would love you guys to give me advice like how to land up with contracts as well as if you guys can arragne work why not form a company.

Feel free people we can do it ...nothing is impossible.

Hardwork and team work always pays

So who`s in :)

hey kizeki.. i know i'm a lil late .. but lets jus say i had to register to share my ideas with you.. beside we have a similar liking of starting a studio.. here what my plan is..though its suppossed to be under wraps till now.. but then again ..i dont wanna be greedy..olright here's what i think..step by step..though its a long procedure..but mine doesnt take much time..
1. get to know animation..which Is important when ur gonna start a studio.'cause u dont want ppl to fool u ..or jus take money out of you..
- read stuff..keep urself updated..of whats new in hardware software.. google for answers .. check what kind of machines do international studios use..again keep upgrading and updating..urself
2. get a job in a small firm.. as a graphics artist or so.. work for 'least 6 months..'cause if u wanna work (yes work..jus listen) abroad they'll take u only if u have 'least 6 months of experience..
3. once u get into the company .. try and get all knowledge u can abt post production and pre production as well.. try conversing with the board of directors..share ideas..
4. jus give them an idea that opening up a branch for the studio in spain wld be great (like outsourcing) cheap and skilled labour..
5. you'd know what to do..then..

so..this is my plan.. it sounds a lil rediculous..but i like challenges..and i like achieving such tell me what u idea's olways welcome..

so.. take care till then ..and keep in touch ..we might meet someday..