The rapid advancement of computer technology has made it easily possible for any novice or hobby animator to create and produce professional quality animated films and graphic designs. Technology has leveled the field so much that developing and establishing producers can to create these films at a fraction of the costs of mainstream companies. Companies like TimeView Media are seizing this opportunity and is in the process of developing the 3D animation film FranknSon—on an independent film budget.
Independent film, or indie film, is film financed and produced outside of a major film studio. The financial source for these films usually comes from various remote resources or investors. Since the cost of digital production and animation equipment has declined and its availability so widespread, many indie film writers, animators, and producers no longer have to depend on being able to use major film studio equipment to produce their films. The only two concerns about this would be—will the storyline and the visual quality of the film be able to attract an audience and be able to compete with the animated films of the major film studios? It can all come down to the creative know-how of the animator and producers—and a carefully outlined and moderate, animation film budget.
PIXAR's 1995 animated film Toy Story's film budget was $30 million dollars with an overall gross revenue of $360 million. Now, if we can fast forward to PIXAR's latest in the series of Toy Story films, Toy Story 3, the production budget was $200 million and has since become PIXAR's highest grossing movie, topping $1 billion worldwide. So what would an independent film project outside of the big Hollywood animated film studio's stand to profit?
For contrast, let's take a look at the independent animation film Hoodwinked, which was written and directed by Todd and Cory Edwards. Even though the quality of the animation was blocky and unrealistic, it still grossed more than $110 million worldwide—from a budget of only $17.5 million. A huge part of Hoodwinked's popularity and success was due to its originality and brilliant storyline. So curiosity set me out to seek an independent film animator to ask about this new advent to animation film-making and the potential to make movie gold, from straw. I was fortunate to discuss this with Orlando Rivera, co-creator and director of a new and in-progress, independent animation film, FranknSon.
I want to first ask about your background and what your direct is involvement in the film?
I am a graduate of The School Of Visual Arts in New York City where I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Animation back in the '80s. I have been a Visual Effects (VFX) supervisor for feature films, and other shorts like One Soul (Terror Film Festival Nominee for Best VFX). I teach and speak at events like the Trenton computer festival on subjects like accomplishing Hollywood digital effects on a indie budget, Transmedia, and related digital technologies. I have a lot of of experience in Information Technology (IT), new media, streaming, development and content creations. Clients have included AT&T, QVC.com, Ernst & Young (E&Y), and Sony/BMG.