1. A project lives or dies by the engagement of the creator
The success or failure of a project is determined by the level of engagement of the creator/director. This is perhaps the most important tip of all.
If you are going to start a project know that it’s going to take a lot of effort and attention. You are the captain of the ship. If you go missing, don’t answer messages, miss meetings, or don’t give feedback in a timely manner (24 hours max) the team will wane fast.
You are only human, so be sure to be clear to your team when you will be out. Appoint a stand in team member to take the lead if you must be out to cover and keep the production moving during any out times you may have.
If you do want to create an animated project make sure you have the time to dedicate to it. For instance, if you’re about to have a baby, it’s most likely not the right time to start a project.
2. Private or Public?
The only project pages viewable to the public on Artella are the Overview and Crew page. All other pages (your files, feed, etc.) are private and only viewable by your project crew.
3. Clicking the “New Project” button
Okay, so you’ve determined that you have the time to dedicate to make your project come to life. Now it’s time to fill out your project overview page. Here we go!
- Cover Image: An exciting cover image will attract potential crew members to your project. If you don’t have concept art we recommend reaching out to someone whose work you like and inquire to see if they would be willing to create a cover image for your project. Doing this will go a long way to making your project exciting from day one. We recommend having this cover image before you click the publish button on your project.
- Description: If you have them, be sure to use sketches and additional concept art in your description as this will only help attract people to your project. Be sure to let people know what type of funding you will be using on your project (even if it is a volunteer based project, it is important to let people know this clearly on your project overview page). Here are few examples of well built out project overview pages; Solstice, The Beacon, DUEL.
- Pitch Video: We’ll go into this in detail below.
Your project overview is not viewable by others until you click “Publish”. You can preview your project before you publish it and you can work on your overview as much and as long as you’d like until you are ready to make it visible to others; i.e. clicking the “Publish” button.
This video walkthroughs how to setup your project overview page.
4. Adding a pitch video
There’s no doubt projects that have taken the time to create a pitch video are amongst our most popular and most active projects on Artella. We highly encourage you to make one as it will help others learn more about your passion and excitement for the project.
The team at Kickstarter created a great “dos and don’ts” walkthrough for simple pitch videos. We highly recommend following these guidelines for your Artella pitch video.
Here are some examples of projects with pitch videos on Artella:
5. Important tips for posting Open Positions
Post Open Positions in stages: A common mistake is to list EVERY position you think you’ll need right when you publish your project. The problem with this is that you’ll get people you need much later in your production and, by the time you need them, they will have moved on or have lost interest.
The ideal is to list the TOP 4 – 5 positions you need right now on your production. This will allow you to dig in with a smaller team and tackle what you’re working on, and right in the stage you are in. As you near the end of that stage, post the next 4 – 5 positions you need and begin searching the online portfolios within the community for potential candidates and reach out to those that interest you.
These are the general stages we recommend recruiting in:
- Pre-production 1 – Production coordinator, editor, CG supervisor (your technical counterpart who will be your right hand throughout the production process), Artella specialist (trained members on our file management system – pipeline), concept and/or visual development artist/s , character designer, storyboard artist and/or previsualization artist.
- Pre-Production 2 – Social media manager (start thinking about your audience early on and, at this stage, you’ll have some things to start sharing), Modeler/s (hard surface, environment and character modeler), rigger and one animator a bit later into this stage to start testing the rig before animation officially begins.
- Production 1 – Color key artist, surfacing/texturing artist/s, layout, animator/s.
- Production 2 – FX, simulation, lighting artist/s, compositing artists, sound designer (once cut is locked) and composer.
- Post Production – Color correction, sound mixer (could be your sound designer).
Understanding the production process is a topic we will go much deeper into in future blog posts. For now you can get a general sense of the stages an animated film goes through to get an idea of how the above stages relate.
6. Funding Type: Paid, Crowdfunded or Volunteer based
If your project is being created to make money (e.g. a product, a pitch for a TV series, a game published for profit, etc.) then you should find a way to pay your crew members. Be it through crowdfunding, savings, equity sharing of potential profits, Patreon, or some other method. We’ll go deeper into this topic in a future blog post.
If your project is simply being made as a passion-based project then it is common to ask others to work on it on a volunteer basis. Professional artists will most likely want some form of payment, so, if you’re doing a volunteer based project, remember not to be too picky as the next great artist might be someone who just needs a little more time on a project like yours.
We’ve talked before about Crowdfunding and there is an excellent course on Udemy we recommend if you’re considering going this route. Just know that the fate of your crowdfunding campaign is generally determined before you hit the publish button. So be sure to read the article and check out the overview video on the Udemy class at a minimum.
Crowdfunding button. On Artella you can enter the URL of your crowdfunding campaign and a button will automatically be added to your overview page. Then, when people visit your overview page for open positions, they will see that you are making the effort and they may want to help support your project, too.
7. Social Media
It’s never too early to start thinking about your audience. Pick the social channels you want to build your audience on (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) and start building your following. In #5 above we recommended having a social media manager on your project, who can run this part of the project so that you can stay focused on the project itself.
8. Legal stuff: NDAs, Contracts and other good stuff
NDA’s: or non disclosure agreements, are common on projects. A non disclosure agreement is a good way to give you peace of mind on several things:
- It keeps your idea protected and private to just the people on your crew.
- It asks that your crew members do not share anything outside of the project itself.
- It gives your team the sense that your project is legit and that you are all taking it seriously.
NDA’s can be tricky to enforce as your team will most likely be spread out across the globe and laws vary between state-to-state and country-to-country.
Here is an example of our company NDA. It is not meant to be copied or reused, rather it is meant to give you an idea of the type of information you might consider having in your NDA.
Contracts: If you are paying people or sharing crowdfunding dollars you will want to have a contract in place for payment. Your crew members will want to know how they are paid, when they will be paid and how much they are going to be paid.
LegalZoom is a great site that covers a wide variety of topics from NDA’s, employment contracts through to incorporating if you choose to go that route.
A note on legal docs: We work hard to make our legal documents human readable and short. This is helpful for most people as they will better understand what they are signing and removes confusion.
9. How much attention to give your crew
Weekly meetings: We highly recommend meeting with your crew once a week and providing them with focused tasks for the upcoming week. You can also address any issues, challenges or concerns your team has at that time.
Answer your messages: You may get a lot of inquiry and applications to your project. It is common courtesy to reply back to applicants within a 24 – 48 hour window. Even if it’s not going to be a fit for your project it’s best to let them know so that they don’t sit around waiting to hear back… yes, they are waiting.
Checking your Project Feed: To keep your project active, we recommend checking your project feed several times a day. If a day goes by without something being posted then we recommend finding something that you have moved forward and post it up as this will keep the team engaged and alert.
An active project is a healthy project.
10. BONUS Material – Production Management Docs
Here are some docs we’ve cultivated with several other project that will help you project manage your production. Make a copy of the docs (File > Make a Copy…) and use them as you wish. Let us know if you make improvements.
We hope this helps you get your 2D or 3D animation production started and off in the right direction on Artella.
Article By: Bobby Beck – Co-Founder and CEO of Artella