How to become rich as a cartoons animator

I have been an animator and director of professional animation for television series and major motion pictures for thirty years and I have been a character animation instructor for the freshman class of 39, California arts for two years. As an independent producer of animation films, I followed my muse and directed award-winning music videos *. I therefore have some experience in the animation industry.

My students at Cal Arts sometimes asked how rich you became as a facilitator. In the second golden age of animation, the newspapers reported that Disney animator, Glen Keane, was earning a million dollars and that students came to believe that it was the going rate. I have pointed out that Glen Keane's salary made headlines because it was the exception and not the rule. In addition, newspapers did not give details. The million could have been a potential if the films he was working on became exceptionally profitable, he might have collected royalties and his million could take the rest of his life to accumulate. This still impressed the students, so I tried to answer the question of how to become rich in animation.

The quick and easy answer is: you do not do it Again, Glen Keane was an extremely rare example and very, very few people will ever reach his status. He reached the peak of his field when this area was turned into "The Second Golden Age of Animation" and during the economic boom of the 1990s. As in the good old days of the Clinton years , the animation film industry in America is long gone for artists pens and pencils, but I have developed a plan to give students at the time what I would still recommend aujourd & # 39; hui.

To become rich in the field of animation, one must possess a character who becomes a "star". Note that I said "own" and not "create" because there is a difference not too subtle. Most of the famous and successful animation legends we remember from our youth did not create their characters but hired a designer to do it for them. Does anyone remember who actually conceived the Fred Flintstone character for Hanna-Barbera?

First, you must have a character with a potential "star", which means a sufficiently unique and easily identifiable concept. An example might be the creation of my former student of Cal Arts for Nickelodeon Studios, Dexter's Dexter's Lab. Take a look at him and you will be able to instantly say that he is a "scientific kid". Or again the show of another student, The Power Puff Girls, who are superheroes in kindergarten. In both cases, they took on a simple character; a little boy and three little girls and gave them "jobs" traditionally belonging to adults; scientist and superhero. Instantly understandable and fun. It is also extremely important that these characters have a very simple graphics, easy to animate, easy to recognize remotely and easy to print on a cup Happy Meal.

In the world of animated music video, the studio that created Paula Abdul's cartoon character, MC Scat Kat, tried to catapult him into his own cartoon show. The attempt was unsuccessful, but they had the right idea. Most often, it is the musicians who play their own cartoons when they are transformed into animated characters.

Back to plan. Second, do not even try to present your new character to the animation producers, they pay a lot of money so that the employees occupy 9 to 5 positions in order to propose show ideas, they do not go buy one in the street. The best you will get will be a show that will look amazingly like your album that will come out a year after you have presented it and to whom you will be told, "Thanks, but no thanks."

So what are you doing? You do what a professional would do if you present a show. You create merchandise based on your character and sell them in any way you can. You can start by publishing a small children's book featuring your character, print out copies and distribute them for free at each nursery, in the pediatric waiting room, in the waiting room for pediatric dentists, in the library. high school and wherever books are distributed to young children. In this way, you "test" your character and when you take T-shirts, other clothes, toys, lunch boxes and any other product or product on which you can print the identity of your character on the local children's clothing shops, you can pretend that all the children of the city already know and, hopefully, love your character. Of course, you have also included a website address in every book from which parents can buy directly more products. With sites such as Cafe Press, it's not even necessary to manufacture these products yourself. This can be done on demand, without any initial cost.

Of course, in addition to the talent needed to create your star, write and illustrate his adventures, you will have to burst yourself to distribute your gifts, solicit salespeople and collect all the money you owe, which is about half a year. -douzen separate full-time jobs, but once your character has proven his power as a spokesperson, spokesperson, spokesperson, spokesperson or other, the TV producers will come to you . Think of a comic book as another source of income for your character, and one of the last.

* The gold plate in the video clip of the Chicago International Film Festival