Idea Blog

7 Ways to the Get the Most Out of Your Animation Studio

Denise McArthur 09.29.2014

Good is good, but great is better. When you go to a high-caliber animation studio, you’re all but guaranteed to get a very good explainer video in return. But great? Great can give you goosebumps.

A great video is lavished with love, adorned with delicate details, and polished to perfection. It doesn’t just convey a crystal clear message through animation—it actually animates the audience, enticing their eyes, enchanting their hearts, and spurring them to share the video with friends, family, and associates.

Great doesn’t happen by accident. Stellar videos are the result of seamless collaboration with your animation studio. Here are seven simple ways you can get the most out of your animation studio, securing the great result you’re looking for. 

1. Involve All Stakeholders Early On

Your video looks awesome—smart, fun, and catchy, it’s exactly what you and your colleagues envisioned. Then, with a couple weeks left, you show it to the exec upstairs. Nope, not his style. He wants to go in a completely different direction.

Whoops. Scrambling ensues. Sadly, last-second changes can’t always receive the same loving attention that earlier elements get.

Get your think-tank together from the get-go. One of the most common missteps we see is adding stakeholders late in the game. By not having everyone on board at the beginning, you’re not just missing valuable input from one of your team members—you’re also opening a can of worms.

Leaving someone out can make them resent not being included earlier, provoking them to poo-poo what you developed without them. Or they could come to a brilliant insight, only to realize it’s too late to incorporate. There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling of knowing exactly how to improve something, but not having the resources to do it.

2. Appoint a Point Person

Even if your company has an egalitarian structure that would a make a New Age commune seethe with jealousy, you do need to elect a project leader for your animation. This person will be tasked with pulling your team together, consolidating information, and communicating with the project manager on the studio’s side.

This ensures that your team speaks clearly with a single voice. Failing to appoint a dedicated point-person can lead to two people giving your studio contradictory directions, confusing your message and slowing the studio’s flow.

3. Zero in on Your Strategy

Once again, there’s no substitute for getting things right in the beginning makes a huge difference. Hone in on your strategy before you kick things off so you can confidently convey it to your animation studio.

Consider who your audience will be, what the objective of your video is, and what action you’d like viewers to take the instant after watching it. What color palettes do you want to incorporate? How would you like to see your brand reflected? Think too about the tone of your video: should it be silly, authoritative, whimsical, dramatic, funny?

Not sure how to find the words to describe your thoughts? No worries. We find it extremely helpful when clients send us examples of videos they like (or love, or hate).

4. Value the Power of Time

As artists, we love nothing more than making great work. We get passionately involved in our projects and don’t hesitate to tap into our free time to make them as magnificent as possible—that is, assuming there’s time to tap into.

Do your best to give your studio everything it needs at your earliest convenience. Letting a round of feedback slip for a couple of weeks might not seem like a huge deal, but for your animators, it can amount to a world of difference. Here’s a little secret: if you build in a little extra time, you’re going to get far more man-hours than you paid for—we simply can’t stay away from the work we love.

5. Give Frank Feedback

The truth will set you free—and make your video way better. When giving feedback, never censor yourself or hold anything back. Even if you’ve got a scathing critique—in fact, especially if you do—we want to hear it (don’t worry, we’ve got thick skin). The more detailed your feedback, the closer your final product will be to your vision.

Of course, we need to know if the messaging’s off. We’re also interested in your take on the creative side. Don’t be shy, let if fly.

Here’s the key to otherworldly results: don’t just tell us what you love or hate—tell us why! Guess what’s infinitely more useful than saying “We don’t like this bit, take it out”? Saying “We’re not sure about this part because x, y, and z”! You’ll give us greater insights into your thinking that will resonate throughout the entire video—not just the spot fix you’re pointing to.

6. Be Open to New Solutions

Feedback works best as a two-way street: an open dialogue, a free exchange of ideas. We respect your brand and your direction—no one knows your company or your goals like you do. At the same time, we expect clients to respect our experience and expertise. Not to toot our own horn, but we’re pretty great at making videos.

Sometimes what you originally had in mind doesn’t translate to video as well as you’d like. That’s okay. We may have a better idea about how to arrive at the same end-result in a more effective fashion. Being flexible and open to suggestions helps us do what we do best: produce incredible animations that achieve your ambitions.

7. Have Fun!

Yes, business is business, but hey, we’re still talking about cartoons here. Animations are made to be entertaining, imaginative, and fun. Allow yourself to enjoy the process and bask in the results. People produce their best work when they’re in a good place.

We love what we do—and we think you’ll love what we create, too. Keep these tips in mind when you begin a project and your video will be everything you hoped for and more.

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