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What should I charge for a 30 second animation.

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What should I charge for a 30 second animation.

I'm going to do a 30 second animation for a client who is working on a short film. Since I've never charged for an animation before I was wondering if you all had any input as to what kind of price I should ask for. I will definately need to cover my costs (as I'm going to have to purchase the software I will be using for it, which will most likely be toonboom. Maybe also some compositing software if I need it).

The actual animation is going to be traditionally animated and cleaned up and colored (b/w) in toonboom. The animation will also need to be givin an aged effect as well.

Any ideas?

-LK-'s picture
Lindsey Keess Animator

Lindsey Keess

I'm reminded of the famous story about the boy who was ashamed of his virginity.

"Everyone else is doing it," he thought, "I just need to get a start. After that it'll come easy."

But what could he do? Where could he go?

His teacher? His priest?

"Well," he said to himself, "Those fraternity boys seem to get a lot of action. Maybe I'll party with them."

And party he did. Party until he was bloody and couldn't stand anymore. Party until he was blinded with oozing eyes. Party, indeed.

Was it good for him? Who can say? The boys from Chapter 322 had a great time.

And he got that experience which he had wanted for so long.

{insert ad hominem insult here}
{anonymous signature}

{see above for expression of wanking exstacy in icon form}

A bit of professionalism wouldn't go amiss.

all that from an "asterisk"

How incredibly appropriate that your corporate id is the visual representation of an a**hole. Fits you perfectly..

Hey thanks for the constructive advice for all on what someone SHOULD actually charge or take into account when pricing a job instead of a blanket statement there Dick.
If its wrong and you believe it to be wrong why wouldnt you add some corrective measure instead of your insulting condescending tone?

It sure seems to hold true that there are a LOT OF ARROGANT JERKS in the animation industry which is a sad quality to have for such a magical craft.
Thanks for the input DICK!

Totally Out of Line

How and why this thread exploded into name calling and insults I'm not sure, but I would ask that it stop immediately.

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.

Yeh, it was a little harsh, Swankaman, and you were not trying to disgrace the industry but after seeing Richard Oconnor's reel he has the stuff to back up his statement....however it came across.

And I am a lousey business person.

I had had learned watching the movie Lorenzo's Oil that "arrogance" comes from a word meaning to claim for oneself. Nothing wrong with claiming for oneself. If one claims something that is indeed theirs, I think that arrogance is justified. Now someone like me who hasn't worked for a studio in 3 years pulling such a statement, I should have my clocked cleaned.

But I'm the first to rant about rights and then acquiesce. Sometimes (to borrow what Robert Frost said about writng) animation is not a career but a condition and we feel we just HAVE TO do it. It's not right but that's how it feels.

Jabberjaw? Really?

i believe traditonal animation is budgeted at $10,000 minute depending on the complexity. but check with others first.

$10,000/minute is not a bad number (maybe a bit low... I have done work for higher in commercials), depending on what the job is for, and depending on how credible you as the animator are to charge that amount. Forgive me, but it sounds to me like you (-LK-) are rather young (inexperienced), so I cannot see anyone paying that kind of money for a minute of animation from you. I don't mean to sound condescending or anything, but... Just looking at it realistically.

Honestly, I think that someone with very little to no experience would be lucky to get $1000 for 30 seconds of animation. I know this sounds low, but you need to look at it from another perspective. You are getting some experience from it, possibly some exposure, and you can put these things to use later on when bargaining on future projects. You don't want to scare this guy/girl making the indie short film away with big numbers, and lose your chance to gain that experience. Just make enough to cover your costs with a minimal profit.

That is just my opinion...

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


Heck I asked for $700 for 3 minutes (of low quality kiddie stuff) and was told that was too high! Good to know..

Ok... thanks for all your input.

Keep in mind that the client is applying for a grant for the film. She has to submit a breakdown of the costs, and as I was previously doing this without pay she has just asked how much I would charge. If she get's the funding then I get paid for it.

I do have commercial experience, as I did work on an animation for broadcast for a local cherity. I have however never really gotten paid to do animation yet, that is why I'm asking how much to charge. I need to know what is usually expected and what would be resonable. I don't want to ask for too much yet I don't want to ask for too little.

Lindsey Keess

Charging that low disgraces everyone in the industry.

Have a little dignity.


FYI Jackass I was looking for some experience and was told by several members of this board that it was a reasonable amount for the quality demanded.Maybe I should have done it for free??? Would that have maintained some dignity????

LOL saweet I didnt know we could swear in here!!!

Seriously though, one approach is to determine your skillset/talent and decide what you're worth on an hourly basis. $20.00 per hour? $45.00 per hour? $70.00 per hour?! Whatever, just be fair. Then estimate how many hours it will take you to complete the project. Don't forget to allow time for character design, layout, storyboarding, blah blah blah. Once you have that number... multilply it by two. This is a standard used to allow time for revisions and what not. Then all ya gotta do is mulitply your hourly rate times your man hours! Keep in mind how badly you want this gig and how valuble the experience is to you. If it's a great experience, then you may want to trim some moolah off just to make sure you don't overwhelm your potential client.


oh, and SIGN A CONTRACT!!!