Working alone vs working w/ a team

Are you better off working on your animated short alone or with a team? Let’s talk about it on today’s episode of the Expat Animator.

TRANSCRIPT:

  • To decide if you should work on your next animated project alone or with a team will ultimately depend on your personal situation. I have done both, so I can talk about my experiences with each. I will also talk about the pros and cons of each.
  • My experiences working alone
    • TREP is my one major project I animated completely by myself. But just because I did all of the animation, backgrounds, lip syncing, coloring etc., I did still enlist the help of a team.
    • I needed help with editing, music, sound effects and voice overs.
    • There are shorts I animated that I did do ALL of the work on, but for now I will talk about working on TREP.
    • Positives of working alone
      • No need to check in with anyone
      • You get to make what you want
      • No compromising on ideas
      • You can work at your own pace
      • You get to be the director
      • The final animation is yours (good or bad)
    • Negatives of working alone
      • It can be hard to get motivated sometimes
      • No one to bounce ideas off of
      • You have to do ALL the work yourself, even the tedious production work like coloring and lip syncing
      • Harder to promote the finished piece if only one person has a vested interest in the project
      • You are your own tech support
      • Staying on schedule can be difficult
    • TREP was the largest project I have ever animated that I did on my own. I’m glad I did all the animation myself, but if I were to do it again, I would probably have made the runtime much shorter than the 20+ minutes it ended up being.
  • My experiences working with a team
    • I animated Traveling Gringos with my friend Eric.
    • The stories are based around our real life travels, so the writing came quick.
    • Eric wrote the scripts and prepared them for voice overs.
    • But Eric didn’t have any animation experience, so I taught him how to do things like lip syncing, coloring, and of course he did some voice overs.
    • We soon realized that we needed a dedicated office space to work in.
    • So we even rented an office downtown.
    • Having a dedicated space to work in helped us work faster as we could collaborate in real time.
    • The office also helped the voice recordings, as we had a dedicated recording room.
    • Positives of working with a team
      • The work can get done faster
      • You have more brains to come up with more ideas
      • Co-workers can motivate you when you don’t feel like working
      • More energy in the office
      • If a team member is out sick, work continues on
      • More people to help promote the final film
    • Negatives of working with a team
      • Not a great portfolio piece:
      • Egos get in the way
      • Nobody wants to do the tedious production work, like coloring the drawings or lip syncing the characters.
      • Personal issues can affect production
      • Team members might not be pulling their own weight
      • Scheduling conflicts
    • Traveling Gringos was my best experience working with a team, even though it was just the two of us. I know it helped us work faster having the office space. Sure, we could have worked remotely and saved the office overhead, but I really doubt we would have completed all 100 episodes.
  • Hopefully that helps you decide if you should work alone or with a team on your next animated project. There is no right or wrong answer, and ultimately you will know what is right for your project. I would recommend keeping the project as short as you can. Limit the run time to under one minute. This will help you get the project finished even if you think you chose the wrong option. You can always try the other option for your next project.
  • That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me. This has been Patrick Davidson, the Expat Animator, see you next time!