Per-Minute Production Rates Are Climbing on Kickstarter

Transparency in the crowdfunding community is highly valued, and animators tend to be most successful when they are upfront about the length of the animation they plan to produce with the monies raised. The unintended result of this openness is that the opaque world of animation budgets has begun to fade away.

When Cartoon Brew published a crowdfunding report last month, we cataloged the per-minute costs of various high-profile animation projects on Kickstarter. The costs ranged from $3,333 to 13,750 per minute of completed animation.

Now, we look at two more recent Kickstarter projects that have recently achieved their goals: Michel Gagné’s short The Saga of Rex and Masaaki Yuasa’s short Kick-Heart. At first glance, the two projects could not be more different: Gagné is a former feature film animator who works largely by himself from a home studio, while Yuasa is producing his short using a full crew and traditional production pipeline at Tokyo-based Production I.G..

However, both films share one thing in common: they have budgeted their animation at $15,000 per minute. Gagné set his goal at $15,000 to produce one-minute of film, with each additional minute produced at a $15K increment. Yuasa asked for $150,000 to produce a 10-minute short. This is not a particularly high per-minute production rate for the type of animation that they’re creating, but it is on the upper end of rates for Kickstarter animation campaigns.

The takeaway: not only are more projects being successfully crowdfunded nowadays, but the per-minute rate for A-list animators is growing alongside it. Even with the aid of digitial technology, animation like the kind that Gagné and Yuasa produce remains a laborious, hand-crafted process. It’s encouraging that the backers of their campaigns recognize this since a decent per-minute production rate is essential for crowdfunding to make a sizable impact in the world of animation production.

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