Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Claus Toksvig on Producing Animation

Claus Toksvig
How do you produce and finance an independent animated feature film? It's far from an easy task, but not an impossible dream.

Our students at Escape Studios don't just learn animation, they learn the process of getting a film made from concept to screen.

As we get ready for our evening class in Producing Animation starting this September, we asked Danish producer Claus Toksvig, from Denmark's Animation Workshop, to explain the challenges of making an independent animated film outside of the studio system.

What are the challenges of running an animation studio?
The animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark
When you create a new studio, there are so many things to consider. Many of our studios have one main focus but at the same time they need to be taking in other projects such as commercials, educational shorts etc in order to keep the studio running while putting together finance for the upcoming co-productions.

How do you put together the finance for an independent animated film?

You have to starting with getting the distribution in place in each territory, then approach the various national film boards.

After that, it's about getting all the collaborating partners to sign off. This usually takes a while, anything from 2-4 years.

So, as an independent producer, one needs a number of films in development at the same time. In terms of technology and communication the world has become much smaller, meaning you can get the best each country has to offer.

How does an aspiring Producer learn the process?

Claus produced "Song of the Sea"

This is a tough question to answer! Something I have been wanting to do, ever since I started getting into production, is to make a course for Animation Producers. Well, you learn by jumping right into it, hitting a wall, and getting up again. Of course the next time you do it you are better prepared.

What advice would you give anyone seeking to make an independent animated film?

Claus: You can’t really compete with the major studios when it comes to budgets but you can seek out good material like them. A great story is always difficult to come by. So when you don’t have $120 million to spend on production and distribution, paying attention to great concepts and stories which can draw people in, is right on the top of the list.

I always enjoy that challenge, because you may actually come up with something that can compete with the big studios. Another very important thing is the team. There are a million things that can go wrong when making an animated movie. Looking at an average production period of 4 years these films are like small marriages. You had better know who you are saying YES to.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2017, follow this link.   To apply, visit the offical page here.

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