Good News, Bad News

Good news: I’ve found the company that I want to do the animation.

Bad news: It’s going to cost more than I anticipated.

At $50-$100 per second (yes, that’s per second) for basic animation, I realized almost immediately that I’d either have to cut back on the animation I’d planned or raise more money than I initially envisioned.

I’ve decided to do both.

Animation will be critical to help the viewer follow some fairly abstract concepts regarding measurements on a grand scale. And while I plan to have quite a few interviews throughout the piece, my decades old mantra is “talking heads are boring.” It’s okay to show people talking on camera part of the time, but it can get old really fast.

At least this has helped me rule out some other things I’d been thinking about, like pop culture clips related to the metric system…I just won’t be able to afford them. I’ll also need to be more creative about how I tell the story. I won’t be able to use animation as a prop to throw up on the screen during less interesting parts of the story, I’ll only be able to use it when it’s really crucial.

From a donor standpoint, I want to have a price point that seems reasonable. Fundraising is going to be difficult enough without a budget that at first glance seems gilded.

I had also thought about using a professional service for the final editing, but at $200 an hour, it will be cheaper to buy the equipment/software I need and perform the work in house. That’s okay. Editing is one of my favorite parts of the production process. It’s when you finally get to see all the disparate parts of the production finally come together into a cohesive whole. My rule of thumb is to allow eight hours of editing for every 15 minutes of final product. And that’s after you’ve already figured out where all shots go and how long you want them to be. That probably seems like a long time and maybe it will be faster with all digital production, but making sure that everything flows together in the right way and layering on music and any sound effects takes time and attention.

Now to hunker down and read my source materials. In my next post, I’ll try to give you an idea of what I’ve been try to absorb.

I also want to get the work started on the logo, so that’s also on my agenda.


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