Another month, and another animation company update! These months are flying by, and it feels like the year will be over in a blink! Here is what we have been working since my last update.
I get excited at every stage of the animation process, but lighting is one of my favorites. It is like putting the final puzzle piece revealing the complete picture. You start to see how beautiful everything you have been working on is when it all comes together. We have started to light the shots, and will soon start seeing final renders. Up to this point we have only seen work in progress renders of still images, but soon we will be seeing fully lite animation. On top of that we now have fur working on bink, so getting to see him in his final form is very exciting.
This is our client project we have been working on in addition to the “Bink” short. This project has had a lot of challenges, but I have been learning a great deal from the experience. Even more then what I learned from working on Bink. Working on our own short we don’t have the added pressure of a deadline, but with a client project there are milestones, and a deadline I need to make sure I hit. This means when you have a setback there is a lot more stress to make sure you get back on schedule. This short has a very different look and feel then what Bink has, but it is really starting to come together. I can’t wait until we finish the first episode, and can share it with you in July.
LA Society of Creative Professionals:
Last night we had our 9th society mixer at the Riverside Restaurant in Toluca Lake. We have been getting a really great turn out for the last few mixers. We have had a nice mix of regulars, and new people coming.
There are always great conversations, but last night I had a conversation with a few people which highlights a lot of the concerns artists in Los Angeles have. We were discussing how an artist used to make much more money then what they make now for the same kind of work. There is so much more competition then what there used to be, and people are willing to work for less to get the work. It was mentioned how anytime someone takes a job for less then what it normally goes for then it drops the price industry wide. Really this is simply basic economics of supply and demand, but it is having a real impact on these artists.
My experience is that often a client has a fixed budget, and are trying to get a project made. It is a situation of you wither find a way to make their budget work, or you pass. While a lot of senior artists want you to pass on the work forcing the client to raise their budget, but the reality is they will most likely find someone to do the work for what they have to offer. These clients tell their friends and next thing you know no one wants to pay $1 for a service when they know it can be done for $0.90.
These are all valid concerns, but unfortunately this is the way things are going. While it might seem to only be about money if what you have to offer is a higher quality you can still charge more for your service. If communication is easier, or you provide better customer service you might also be able to ask for more. As technology makes it easier to work with anyone anywhere the supply is increased. As long as there are people willing and able to meet the demand at a lower price it is going to lower the rates industry wide. There will always be a breaking point. People can’t provide work without enough pay to cover their bills for to long. They will either find a way to make it work, or go out of business.
I’m kind of stuck in the middle. I have clients who want to get their project made, but have extremely low budgets. If I want to try and make it work, then I need to find artists who are willing to work for less then their rate. This often means looking for talent outside the US. It really comes down to who can offer the best service at the most competitive price. The hope is as I grow my company I can offer a higher quality, outstanding communication, and the best customer service, so I can ask for higher rates.
While running my own business has been challenging I’m still happy I made the decision to follow my dream. I have learned something new every day, and I’m always working to improve the business. I spend a lot of my time in the evenings reading a lot of business related posts and articles. If any of you have any suggestions for great business reading material I would love to hear about it. I enjoy reading Entrepreneur Magazine, and other similar publications.
I think it is fair to call EMAS an international company, since we have clients and artists outside the United States. While most of our artists our in the US we do have a decent amount of artists outside the country. Mostly in Southeast Asia as you can see on the map below. It is interesting to think we have work being done on projects 24 hours a day. This is also why I’m often responding to emails late into the evening, and as soon as I wake up in the morning.
If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog. Also, 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.