Using animation as a medium for telling a business story, whether that’s for a corporation or an SME, is liberating. You can pretty much create what you want, there’s no limitation on what you can create digitally. You can have a cast of thousands, or jet to the moon – whatever is going to get your point across, with few ‘real world’ constraints you’d have to confront if you tried to film the same scenes.
However, this doesn’t mean that animation is without its complications when it comes to the financials. I’ve been trying to think of an analogy for how filming compares to animation when it comes to budget spend. And it was only after cooking a few too many dishes from this great Spanish cook book that it occurred to me that filming is like a three-course meal, whereas animation is more like tapas. Let me explain.
On filming projects, the budget is spent on three key areas. Pre-production is the ‘starter’ a relatively small dish to ensure that your appetite is prepared for the main course. Filming is usually the most substantial part of a project, like the main course of the meal. You’ll need a lot of crew, a studio, cast, all coming together for a great couple of days’ filming. With a main course, once you’ve ordered it, you don’t usually go back for more. You just make do with what you’ve got on your plate, which in any good restaurant is ample enough. With filming, you take the footage you’ve filmed and work it as best you can. Then you have the dessert course, the post-production. While this can still clock up some hours and cost, it’s more contained, and spending easier to predict.
With animation, it’s more like a wonderful selection of tapas. Rather than the ‘big event dish’ of the filming days, the pre-production merges into production, with each iteration of the sequence improving in quality. And as you go along, new ideas pop into your head, adding another 15 secs of animation here, a more complex movement build there. And like when you start ordering all those delicious dishes at the tapas restaurant, before you know it, crockery is scattered across the table, and the bill’s over £50 a head.
We help our clients manage their spend by starting with a storyboard, so we get the broad ideas down in still form. Next, we do a simple animatic, a dummy voice over read with simple static images We use some stock images so we can try concepts to see if they work without spending a lot of time designing artwork that might not make the final cut.
We then deliver versions of the project, using a world-class video review software. This allows all those involved to make and respond to comments, prompting discussion and moving the project forward swiftly and with a clear consensus on what changes are to be made.
We also try and be generous to our clients, and not watch the clock too closely. After all, we know how easy it is to tuck into those patatas bravas…