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Information Gathering on Animation as a Business

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I am looking to start my own entertainment content production entity. Originally I was planning to work as a production assistant and eventually producer in film and television for a few years before founding my own company, but I am now considering a simultaneous approach - or even going the purely independent route. My current thinking is to start out focused on animation - 3D, traditional cell as well as non-traditional techniques - supplying content to cartoons, films, game studios and so forth as a contractor as well as developing original IP and marketing product. My question is what the general business model and profitability of such operations might be. I'm not an artist, and I only tell other people's stories - folk tales - but I excel at logistics and infrastructure/administration. My intent is to establish and then grow an environment that provides artists with everything they need to realize their visions, then expand my facilities to related efforts such as creating feature films and video games. What can you tell me about the market for traditional and non-traditional animation? What's the state of the comic book and graphic novel industries? What special considerations unique to these markets should I keep in mind? One last thing: I don't intend to leave New York, so any comments on geographical quirks would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Comic book industry is turning back into a hobbie thing again. I don't think it will be a good investment for a wile.

The big $ as I see it are in the concept/storyboard areas... I mean their used for everything! Video games, movies,3d demos(Tech demos, not game demos), cartoons, anime... They all require story boards before actule products can be created.

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That's an excellent point. I had always thought storyboarding and visualization were done in-house, but now that you mention it, that really wouldn't make sense. A producer/director combo planning a new film wouldn't necessarily have the art skills between them to generate complete storyboards, for instance, though I imagine a video game company might. They'd probably generate key elements, though, then either delegate or outsource/contract the grunt work of high-quality visualization and massive quantity.

Thanks for that, I'll look into it.

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I had always thought storyboarding and visualization were done in-house, but now that you mention it, that really wouldn't make sense. A producer/director combo planning a new film wouldn't necessarily have the art skills between them to generate complete storyboards, for instance, though I imagine a video game company might. They'd probably generate key elements, though, then either delegate or outsource/contract the grunt work of high-quality visualization and massive quantity.

Feng Zhu Design does the same thing that you're interested in doing, as does Massive Black. So, yeah, contracted concept design and storyboarding does have a market.

As for staying in New York, it might not be the best place to be located, unless you'd send artists out to different locations. The West does have a higher amount of film and video game companies. The reason I think it's good to have artists physically located at the job site is because artistic visualization requires much discussion and reworking. Doing those things is much better in person than with webcams or such. Of course, not all companies will care as much about that, but that's my take on how I think it works best.

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