Search form

Student research question: Need an average budget estimate for an animated TV series

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Student research question: Need an average budget estimate for an animated TV series

Hi, I'm a multimedia student and I'm doing a project for my class which entails presenting a basic budget estimate for an imagined project, and I chose an animated series. A couple of other threads on this forum have helped me with project already, so I figured I'd just ask people here as a supplement to the research I'm already doing.

The "project":

[*]Fixed-length animated series. 13 one hour-long (44-minute) episodes. Sci-Fi Action/Drama for older audiences, similar to Heroes and the new Battlestar Galactica.
[*]2D/3D blend. Animation done either overseas or in the US. Quality level equal to that of Futurama/Kim Possible/Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Clone Wars microseries/The Boondocks/W.I.T.C.H./etc.
[*]Majority of music done by a real orchestra and other live musicians.

I've got a basic overall average estimate of $2 million per episode (going off the $1 million/episode costs I've seen mentioned for Futurama and Avatar), but I need a more detailed breakdown, and I'm struggling a bit with the average costs on that front. How much of that would be for the:

[*]Directors & Producers?
[*]Designers (Character, Background, and Prop)?
[*]Storyboards, Layout, and Timing?
[*]2D animation - and would there be much of a difference in this cost depending on the animation studio's location (Korea, Japan, France, USA)?
[*]3D animation?
[*]Compositors & Editors?
[*]Music & Sound Effects?
[*]Main cast members?
[*]Minor cast members (incidentals, walla, etc.)?

(T_T) sad but true

our animation company here in manila is producing a lot of animated series aired in disney channel.
some of the shows finished:
kim possible
brandy and whiskers
the replacements
lilo and stitch
emperor's new school
and the list goes on.....

here's the sad part;
the company is giving us a rate of $6 per footage.
production heads and superiors are cutting the supposed to be $20 per footage salary from the artists by almost 1/3 of the original rate given by our clients.
good quality shows but poorly given the right salary.

so im looking for a new animation studio right now,
to get my work's worth.

I really doubt Futurama costs $1 million per episode. I'd buy $500K, maybe $650--but not a million bucks for a 22 minute show--that's about 4 times the "usual" price.

I'm not going to give you the straight answers because then you will not really learn anything, but here's some things to consider:

The big variables ( in reality) concern outsourcing aspects of the production--and if you want to model something "realistic" then you have costs concerns.

Realistically speaking a 44 minute, prime-time animated series is a chancy proposition and its never been done before because of costs--but that's beside the point here, and you might want to propose two budget models for your idea--one outsourced and one kept "at home".

If you go with outsourced, most of the proudction segment is usually sent out. Sometimes part of the pre-prod, sometimes a little bit of post.
But if you keep pre- and post over here and just send the layout and animation overseas you can cut costs considerably.
The trick is to find out what a weekly wage for a technically skilled worker would be in the country you'd outsource the work to.
If the hypothetical wage is $100 per week for a given animator, and you have a 1 month schedule, and a quota of 40 feet of animation per week--of which all are considered reasonable--you can arrive at a sum for production.
This will calculate the numbers of animators that would be needed to finish the work in that amount of time, as well as inbetween it, colour it etc.

Now the wages for North American talent on this kind of job wouldn't sit down for no $100 a week........that much is sure.
These days, a $1000 a week rate is considered low for positions like storyboarding. Feature film boarders can make between $5000 to $10000 per week, and you can half that for TV.
Layout is similar, and those would be freelance rates, NOT salary. Directing is usually a salary rate, and cover the length of the prduction--usually around $60-$100K or more for a given season.
North American rates also vary depending on the location the production works out of. Base it in Canada and the costs can lower, base it in LA and you'll logically have to raise them as there is a difference in the cost of living.
What would be a excellent rate in Vancouver would be low in Los Angeles.
The hint for most of the rest of the positions is that they are usually factored at a decent weekly income for that area.

Obviously, if its all kep on this side of the pond the costs are going to balloon no matter what you do. If you outsource the "project" you can run numbers that stay somewhat in the sane threshold, but that's why running two budget sets can actually show something for your project.

Good luck with it.

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

Thanks for the information!


are you just looking for budget? And need to understand how that works?
or want to do this movie as well


Outsourced Services
YIM: asifbiz Skype: cubexsystems

Snap Animation Studio !!!!!

Snap Animation Studio A creative, reliable, cost efficient & economical production house…

Ultimate quality and cheapest rate in the market (Save Up to 50% Production Cost).

Please take a moment to learn more about Snap Animation Studio at our website, range of services, and the areas in which we lead the competitiveness.


Sir, We would like to introduce ourselves as one of the leading Animation Production House, we will do all division of animation work. plz .concat for details.

We do:
1. Digital and Cell Animation,
2. Flash Animation
3. Animated TV Series
4. Animated Feature Film
5. Animated Music Video
6. Edutainment Animated CD / DVD

It will be our ultimate pleasure to provide our services to you.

WEB site:


Best Regards
Amitava Sengupta
Marketing Manager, Aniway. Kolkata. India
M: +91 9230570506

We give you a quality Animation & Best Rate- pls. contact

Web site:
Mail address:
Ph: +91 33 64578100 / 64578200 / 64578400