When I was younger, and decided I wanted to start my own animation company I wanted it to rival Walt Disney Animation. You have to love the naive imagination of a young boy. I might not have given up on those dreams, but the reality of the difficulty of the goal I set is more apparent.
Around this time a year ago I knew I was planning on leaving my job at DreamWorks Animation, and my last day was quickly approaching. I had been trying to figure out the best way to start my company, and I finally had a plan. It might have been a shot in the dark, but it at least had a chance for success.
Since the day I officially starting Eric Miller Animation Studios my strategies have changed many times. I have also learned a great deal along the way. As I was trying to find my way I changed who I thought my target clients should be, and what services I should offer. I was making decision based on bringing money in instead of what I wanted my company to be. I was looking into doing cheap explainer videos, and white board animation videos. I thought they would be easily marketed, and quick to produce. I never stopped to think if it was something I enjoyed doing, or if it was the best move for my business.
I was also wasting a lot of time talking with “clients” that wanted to make animated videos, but did not understand what went into making them. They wanted Pixar quality animation, but wanted to get it done for pennies. Creating bids, and trying to find artists that would be willing to do the work for less in order to hit these unrealistic budgets was taking an incredible amount of my time. More often then not these projects never even happened.
I was working really hard with no real payoffs, and I knew something needed to change. I looked at my company, and at what my own goals were. I asked myself, what kind of work do I want to do? What will I be proud of, and inspired by? What do I want my company to be known for?
After thinking hard on each of these questions the solution was very clear to me. I want to create high-end computer-generated animation, graphics, and stories with heart. I did no want to worry about being the cheapest, or fastest, but instead I want to offer the highest quality animation. In addition to offering extremely high quality work I also want to be known for being the most organized with the best client experience possible.
My ideal clients are the larger studios that are looking for smaller animation houses to assist with their feature and episodic projects, as well as marketing, and other needs. Also ad agencies requiring high-end animation and graphics for commercials, and game companies looking for game cinematics.
I also plan on using the money generated from the service end of the business to fund our own internal animation projects. This is where my true passion lives, and it is important for me to constantly be creating and telling stories.
As Steve Jobs would always say “There is one more thing…”. I want to explore the future of entertainment, and I feel the next big thing is in virtual reality, and augmented reality. I want to create content, and quality entertainment in these areas. I feel like the future of entertainment is heading in this direction, and computer-generated animation is the perfect medium for it.
I hope refocusing my efforts will lead to more ideal clients, and allow me to do work that I’m proud of. I might have less clients, but the ones I will get will hopefully be the right ones. My strategy for the company will continue to evolve, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to follow my dreams.
If you have not already, I hope you will join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog. If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.