The report card for this Year’s Resolutions which I set at the beginning of the year in the post “New Year’s Resolutions for an Animation Studio” is not the best report card I have received. While some of my priorities have changed I thought it would still be fun to look at the goals I was aiming to reach for this year as we come to the year’s end. While I didn’t achieve as many goals as I hoped I still feel this year has been a huge success. Just don’t show this to my parents since I might get grounded. LOL
At the beginning of last year I was coming off of a busy project with Toys’R’Us, and my work-life was very much out of balance. I feel I have done a much better good job at keeping a work-life balance this year. If at all possible I try and only work during “working hours” on weekdays. Yes, I might be checking and responding to work emails on my phone during my personal time I try and keep it to a minimum. I also multi-task at night when watching TV by reading business related articles, but this is something I enjoy doing. I guess when your “work” is also something you enjoy it is very difficult to separate them. I could always continue to improve on this, but there is always room for improvement with everything you do.
3 new Major Clients:
When it comes to clients this year was not as good of a year as I hoped it would be. I set the goal for 3 new major clients, and now I realize how ambitious this goal was. While it’s always good to set your goals high it is not a good strategy to set them so hight you will have no chance of reaching them. This one was nearly impossible for a new animation studio. It would have been really nice though! While I have had a lot of clients contact me the majority of them didn’t have the budgets required for me to take on the projects. It is a very challenging and competitive time, and I’m competing against studios who have been around much longer and are more established in the industry.
I had the goal to grow my team this year, but I’m still a company of one. The company is setup in the virtual studio model, and I’m working exclusively with freelancers. This is mostly due to the fact I did not have the income to bring on anyone full time. The one major change to my company’s structure was changing it from a sole proprietorship to an S-Corp. So in away the company did grow, but not in the way I was thinking when I set my goals. Adding others to the team is still one of my top goals, but finding out how to make that work is not easy. At this point having an assistant would be amazing to help me get through my daily tasks, so I can focus on the more important parts of the business. A smarter choice might be to bring on a partner who’s skills are complimentary to mine.
Develop my own IP:
This goal was more of a “It would be nice”, but I did not imagine I would actually be able to do it. Not only did I develop our own IP(Intellectual Property), but we are actually making it. In May of this year we started developing our own animated short which is currently called “Bink”, and we are planning on finishing production early in 2016. Any of you who regularly read my blog knows it has been the main project I have been working on this year. It came out of the need to show clients the quality of CG animation we can do, and since we currently had no fully animated content on our company’s demo reel I needed to find a way. I knew in order to get respectable clients I would need to have something to show, and this is why creating our own shorts moved up in priority. I’m very excited about our progress on the short, and looking forward to being able to share the first episode with everyone.
Continue to learn:
This was an easy one for me. I have learned so much from running a business and producing an animated short. With the business, I have tried and failed on many things, but also have had a lot of success. I have learned a great deal from both. I’m learning more about marketing, corporations, taxes, financing, networking, and many more. With the short I knew a great deal from working at DreamWorks about a very specific part of the production process, but I’m learning things I had no idea about. I thought I knew a lot about an animation pipeline, but my understanding was only so deep. The technical challenges to make sure assets and shots work with downstream departments is a huge eye opener. I know I will never know everything, but I have been lucky enough to work with an extremely talented and intelligent group of people who have been a huge help. This is only one part of what I learned during this process of producing the short.
10,000 Facebook Likes:
Yes, another very ambitious goal I had, but did not achieve. The week I wrote the goal I had gained over 512 likes in 1 week, and thought if I kept even half this momentum I would easily make it to 10,000. Well there was a lot of weeks I did not gain any new likes, and none of the other weeks were even close to 500 likes. At the beginning of this year I had 1,450 likes, and I’m currently at 4,417. While this is still an almost 3,000 gain it is nowhere near my 10,000 goal. The larger my social network the easier it will be to get our shorts out to more people. The other point I should mention is it is not all about numbers, but the quality of those likes. We want to get our content out to people who really want to follow our story, or potential clients who might send work our way. So while I want to reach as many people as I can I also want to target my likes to be from the right people.
While I like to think I did some good I feel I did not do enough, and this is why I’m considering this a miss. While it is easy for me to use the excuse of how busy I was it is a pretty weak excuse. I hope next year I can find ways to give back to my community, or other people in need.
Government contract work:
Last year I was looking into doing government contract work. I was going to classes about how to get government contracted projects and not only learned it is very difficult, but currently impossible for me. They required your business to be around for at least 5 years. This ruled me out instantly, so I put it on the back burner for a few years until I’m a more established business.
This was added partially as a joke, but also out of a desire to get my business into the “history books”. I kept trying to add Eric Miller Animation Studios to Wikipedia, but they would instantly take it down with the reason “no sign of real notability”. It became a goal to get a Wikipedia page for my business to stay, and not be removed. In February I was able to get an Eric Miller Animation Studios Wikipedia article up on the site. While this was mostly a person mission of mine it turned out to be great for business. I have been receiving a good amount of traffic to my company’s website from my Wikipedia page.
While I did not achieve as many of my goals as I hoped I did make a lot of progress this year. I hope 2016 will be our best year yet, and each year after will be better then the last.
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.