How to start an animation studio today

How to Start Your Animation Studio Today

So, you’ve decided to start your own studio. What are the next steps?


Perhaps you feel the studio you work for is holding you back from your potential as an animator, you’ve had enough of the pressure of going it alone as a freelancer, or you want to start building the resources to take on larger projects. In this article, we explore the daunting next step—how to lay the foundations for a future studio of your own.

1. Check your experience


Hopefully, you’ve made the decision to start your own studio because you feel confident in the experience you already have, whether through freelance animation or working in studios.

Think carefully about the kind of experience that will drive your future studio and allow you to stand out from your competitors. Is there a specific type of business you’ve worked for again and again in the past? An animation style which you know how to pull off to a high standard? A promotional video template you’ve perfected?

checking your experience before starting a studio

2. Check what you don't know


Just as it’s important to establish the strengths of your new studio, it’s also worth checking the gaps in your knowledge. Running a studio requires a wide range of skills which are unfamiliar to many animators. Ask yourself how confident you feel in the following:


  • Company registration
  • Accounting and marketing
  • Tax and insurance
  • How to pitch and quote a project
  • Company registration
  • Accounting and marketing
  • Tax and insurance
  • How to pitch and quote a project

If you’re unsure about any of these, it’s time to do some homework! Starting a studio means that you will have to learn lots of new skills in a short space of time. Research, do some short courses, and ask more experienced contacts you might have to get on board!

3. Check your funds


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Having a lucrative client or project already lined up can help to kick-start your studio, but before you start out, make sure you know where the money’s coming from.

Before starting your studio, it’s a good idea to save as much as possible and gain early financial security before you begin. If this isn’t an option, try to find someone who’s willing to invest in your start up business—do you have any family members, friends, or business contacts you can get on board?

The other, riskier, option is to take out a loan. This route merits extreme caution and should only be something you consider if you have a guaranteed source of future income from an upcoming project.

Having a lucrative client or project already lined up can help to kick-start your studio, but before you start out, make sure you know where the money’s coming from.

Before starting your studio, it’s a good idea to save as much as possible and gain early financial security before you begin. If this isn’t an option, try to find someone who’s willing to invest in your start up business—do you have any family members, friends, or business contacts you can get on board?

The other, riskier, option is to take out a loan. This route merits extreme caution and should only be something you consider if you have a guaranteed source of future income from an upcoming project.

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4. Put yourself out there!


Starting a studio means making your voice heard. Without a visible presence in the market, finding leads to take on will be nearly impossible. Here are some of the ways you can develop your brand presence:


Portfolio

Showcase your proficiency as an experienced animator through your portfolio. Carefully select the best-looking projects, displayed clearly, and make them easy for clients to access. Great places to display your portfolio include your website and social media, or other visual platforms like Artstation.

portfolio for starting a studio

social media start a studio

Social media

According to social media management site hootsuite, over half a billion new users joined social media in the last twelve months. Clearly, this is not a platform your business can afford to miss out on. You should aim to have a strong social media presence across all the main platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to ensure as many eyes as possible are on your business.


Website

A website is the keystone to marketing your new studio. Here your clients will see your past work, get a feel for your brand, and decide whether your studio is a good fit for their project. It’s a good idea to have a studio email linked to your website, complete with good-looking signature graphics to make it as easy as possible for future leads to get in touch.

2D animation visual

Webinar image

Networking

As well as establishing a digital presence, part of promoting your business should include online and in-person networking. Look for events going on near you and put yourself out there to meet like-minded animators, potential clients, or contacts who might have the skills you need to help your studio grow.

4. Put yourself out there!


Starting a studio means making your voice heard. Without a visible presence in the market, finding leads to take on will be nearly impossible. Here are some of the ways you can develop your brand presence:


Portfolio


Showcase your proficiency as an experienced animator through your portfolio. Carefully select the best-looking projects, displayed clearly, and make them easy for clients to access. Great places to display your portfolio include your website and social media, or other visual platforms like Artstation.


portfolio for starting a studio

Networking


As well as establishing a digital presence, part of promoting your business should include online and in-person networking. Look for events going on near you and put yourself out there to meet like-minded animators, potential clients, or contacts who might have the skills you need to help your studio grow.


Webinar image

Social media


According to social media management site hootsuite, over half a billion new users joined social media in the last twelve months. Clearly, this is not a platform your business can afford to miss out on. You should aim to have a strong social media presence across all the main platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to ensure as many eyes as possible are on your business.


social media start a studio

Website


A website is the keystone to marketing your new studio. Here your clients will see your past work, get a feel for your brand, and decide whether your studio is a good fit for their project. It’s a good idea to have a studio email linked to your website, complete with good-looking signature graphics to make it as easy as possible for future leads to get in touch.


2D animation visual

Want to know more?


We’ve developed an award-winning course to help you found your own studio, including this free list of detailed steps to help you succeed in the industry. Find out more here, and start your studio today.


Interested In Starting an Animation Studio?



Take The Animation Career Quiz

Are you best suited to a studio role, freelancing or ready to start a studio of your own?
Take the quiz and plan your next animation career steps.

Animation Career Community & Resourses

Want to meet like-minded animators & studio owners? Sign up for free to the Start A Studio Animator community today and connect with other artists.


Animation Studio Startup Course

Check out our award-winning online course on planning and launching a creative and viable animation studio. Taught by award-winning small studio founder Jon Draper.


Interested In Starting an Animation Studio?


Take The Animation Career Quiz

Are you best suited to a studio role, freelancing or ready to start a studio of your own?
Take the quiz and plan your next animation career steps.

Animation Career Community

Sign up for free to the Start A Studio Animator community & network with likeminded artists.


Animation Studio Startup Course

Checkout our award-winning online course on planning and launching a creative & viable animation studio.


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