You’ve got the animation skills, you know the technical side of the business inside and out… Becoming an animator should be a breeze, right?
While having the technical skill and know-how certainly puts you on the right track to becoming a professional animator, things might get trickier when you are faced with managing the expectations of real-life clients and keeping them happy.
This is a common issue that many aspiring and veteran animators alike all face. Issues with client management can arise when, for example, you have a hard time working well and manage your time because you ended up connecting and working with the wrong animation client.
Not being on the same page as your clients may become a big headache at the start or in the middle of your animation process.
In order to avoid having disagreements with your animation clients and making animations that fall short of their expectations, you need to read our set of questions to ask your animation clients in order to meet (and exceed!) their expectations.
1) What Is the Purpose of Your Animated Video?
GIF by Amazon Prime Video by GIPHY
There can be many reasons why a business would like to have an animated video. It could be to inform their target audience about their new product or service, talk about a new offer, entertain them, or a multitude of others..
What do they want their audience to feel, think, say, do after watching the animated video? What mood or tone do you want your video to convey? Do you want it to be funny? Serious? Professional? Make sure all of this is clear to you before you begin your project!
2) Do You Want Your Video to Have Characters?
GIF via GIPHY
Some videos can be informational in nature while some videos have a storyline and a character. Knowing whether or not you’ll have a character for your video will help you have a better idea of how to come up with what you’d like to do for your client.
3) What Products and Services Do You Sell?
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Knowing all about what a business does and sells will help you create the best animated video for them. This info is key in guiding you towards what content, color, fonts, character look, etc. to use.
Also, it will allow you to make an animated video that clients will be able to easily understand and relate with.
4) Who Is Your Target Market?
GIF by MTV’s Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club via GIPHY
Who does your animation client intend for this animated video to target? Will it be for children, adults, students, college students, health workers, businessmen, etc?
What is their mindset or way of behaving that you want to change? What do they usually have struggles about in their daily lives?
The target market of your video will affect the style of storytelling, animation, and tone of the video.
5) Have You Hired Other Animation Studios Before?
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If your animation client has hired an animation agency, marketing agency, advertising agency, etc. before, ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the animation agency and what problems they encountered.
You should also ask them how they heard about you and why they decided to work with you instead of another animation agency.
Did they decide to choose a different animator just for the sake of change? Did they have a hard time communicating with the animator? Did they not like the animation style of the animation agency? Was their animated video pricing of the animation agency high and unreasonable?
Asking these questions will help you compare your animation with your competition’s so you can deliver a more high-quality video.
6) Who Will Provide the Script?
There are some clients who already prepare the script for their animated video before coordinating with you. Meanwhile, there are also clients who have no idea what they want to say to their target market.
These clients expect their hired animator to be the one to make their own script for the video aside from the animation.
Making a script might seem fun, but it is also challenging, especially if the animation client still has no solid message that they want to give their target audience. Make sure to be clear on the expectations your client has for you.
7) How Long Should the Video Be?
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There are clients who have never hired an animator or an animation agency to make a video for them. They might have no idea how long an animated video should be.
You should find out about this as soon as possible in order for you to manage your time well and ask for the proper rate.
8) Who Will Your Voice Over Artist Be?
Some animation clients have a preferred age, gender, or accent for their videos. Ask your client what kind of voice artist they would like to have for your video.
Once you have a list of voice over artist contacts, you can let your animation clients choose a voice over artist by having them listen to them read a portion of the script.
9) What Animation Style Do You Want?
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Does the animation client have an idea of what they want their video to look like? There are many kinds of animated videos that your client might want.
Ask them if they want a whiteboard video, motion infographics video, 2D character animation, 3D animation, demo screencast, or mixed media.
Also, ask them if they have previously finished videos that you can use as a guide when making the animation videos. Ask them what they specifically liked about the video/s. Take note that their previously finished videos can give you direction, but should not be replicated exactly.
Come with your own interesting video ideas that your animation clients and their target audience will like.
If they’re still not sure about the video style that they want, you can ask them if they would like to have 2-3 videos with different animation styles that they can choose from.
10) Do You Have Any Special Instructions?
Some animation clients are vague in giving instructions while some give very detailed and specific instructions.
Ask your client if they have a branding or creative guideline that you could use as a guide while you work on their animated video. Ask them if they have a preferred font style, font, font size, colors, shapes, background music, etc.
Some clients may also want some additional animation services. Having a video with added animation services might help your client become successful in their digital marketing.
Your animation clients might not be that knowledgeable when it comes to animation services and technical terms, so you should be prepared to show samples of the various animation services you offer while explaining it to them.
Your client may also need subtitles as well as a shortened version of their animated video for social media promotion. If they will request any additional services, don’t forget to add that to your invoice.
11) When Is the Deadline for the Animated Video?
GIF by Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back via GIPHY
Timelines and deadlines are very important when making animation videos. The date you and your client should set should be reasonable and realistic.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask for an extension of the deadline just in case unavoidable circumstances happen while you make their animated video.
This way, you will lessen misunderstandings with your clients and also know how much time and effort you need to put into working on your client’s video.
12) Would You Like To Have All the Source Files for Your Project?
Some animation clients would like to have a copy of their animated video’s source files just in case they would like to make changes to their video. This includes Adobe Photoshop files, Adobe Audio Effects, voiceover, audio files, etc. Your clients will surely appreciate it if you ask them this question.
13) How Much Is Your Budget for the Animated Video?
This one is a biggie! Before taking on an animation client, make sure that they will be willing to pay for the rate that you give them. If you believe that their budget for the video is low, then you should negotiate with them and give them reasons why they should pay you what you’re asking.
14) How Will You Pay for the Animation?
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Some clients pay only when a finished video is sent to them while some clients agree on paying upfront, upon completion, 50% down payment than the other 50% upon submission of the video.
Talk to your client about how much and when they should pay in order to lessen misunderstandings along the way.
When it comes to dealing with clients, problems usually arise when both parties make assumptions or don’t clearly correct misunderstandings. It’s important to ask questions that will help you and your animation clients avoid confusion, disappointments, heated arguments, and even legal issues.
These questions do more than offer clarity; asking lots of questions shows your client that you care about their projects and want to give them a video made with 100% effort. This will lead them to give you good feedback and even become repeat customers in the future.
If you want to level up your skills as an animator, make sure to get a copy of our marketing handbook and join our masterclass.