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Why a Complete Animation Pre Production Checklist is a Must

ben marvazi 2020

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"The pre production checklist is like a roadmap that guides you through the entire production process, helping you stay organized and prepared."

Jane Johnson

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of animation, preparation is the key to success. As a freelance animator or animation studio owner looking to make a mark in the industry, having a thorough pre production checklist becomes not just a nice-to-have, but a must-have.

This pre production checklist is the roadmap that guides you through the entire animation process, from the initial idea brainstorming to the final animation rendering. In this blog, we will delve deeper into why such a checklist is crucial and how it can catapult your animation career or studio to greater heights.

Cover GIF by ÈS.B Studio via GIPHY

Understanding the Importance of a Pre Production Checklist

1. The Power of Planning: Blueprint of Success

a South Park character opening up a blue print with shapes on it

GIF by South Park via GIPHY

Embarking on an animation project without a pre production checklist is akin to building a house without a blueprint—it’s possible, but fraught with potential mishaps and inefficiencies. A comprehensive pre production checklist outlines every step you need to take, helping you visualize the trajectory of the project and anticipate potential challenges.

It acts as a guidepost, reminding you of important milestones and tasks, and helps you to avoid forgetting or overlooking crucial steps, thereby ensuring the project’s success.

2. Enhanced Efficiency & Time Management: Smooth Sailing Amidst the Storm

a girl working on her laptop and looking stressed with sweat dripping down her forehead and a clock spinning around really fast

GIF by Kroppa Digital Agency via GIPHY

In the fast-paced animation industry, every minute counts. A well-defined pre production checklist ensures you utilize your time optimally. It allocates tasks and outlines their sequence, saving you from the chaos of uncertainty and last-minute scrambles. 

It becomes your efficiency tool, enabling smooth transitions between different phases of the project. This is especially beneficial for animators managing multiple projects, ensuring no detail falls through the cracks.

3. Quality Control and Consistency: The Seal of Excellence

an elf winking within a pink circle with the text quality control written around it

GIF by Erika Esposito via GIPHY

The hallmark of any great animation is its consistency and attention to detail. A comprehensive pre production checklist becomes your quality control tool. It helps maintain a consistent standard throughout your project and allows you to carry out quality checks at every stage. 

This ensures the final product not only meets your high standards but also exceeds your client's expectations.

The Elements of a Comprehensive Pre Production Checklist

An exhaustive pre production checklist should encompass these crucial steps:

1. Concept Development

a Pre Production checklist starts with concept development like this penguin wearing a green sweater and scratching his face and then sticking his flipper up with a light bulb that appears and the text "I got an idea"

GIF by Pudgy Penguins via GIPHY

This is the first and perhaps the most crucial step in creating an animation. The concept sets the tone, theme, and message of the animation. It’s the seed that eventually grows into the animation itself.

2. Scriptwriting

a pink and blue pencil writing patterned lines on a yellow note pad against a blue background

GIF by Julie Smith Schneider via GIPHY

Once the concept is defined, it's time to weave the narrative. The script forms the backbone of the animation, driving the storyline and ensuring the concept is effectively communicated.

3. Character Design

multiple characters changing outfits and poses with most of them holding a mobile phone and dancing

GIF by Golden Wolf via GIPHY

Characters breathe life into the script. This step involves creating unique and relatable characters that resonate with the audience and drive the narrative.

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4. Storyboarding

an animator drawing an arrow on a storyboard of abstract characters

GIF by Alex Boya via GIPHY

Storyboarding is the process of visualizing the script. Each scene is sketched out to provide a visual representation of the narrative, forming a blueprint for the final animation.

5. Animatics

an animatic of two characters fighting and jumping in the air

GIF by Ghost Satellite via GIPHY

This step involves creating a preliminary version of the animation, complete with rough motion and sound. It’s like a test run that gives you a sense of the final product.

Despite having a solid pre production checklist, you may still face challenges such as lack of experience, time management issues, or even fear of failure.

This is where our Animation Business Accelerator program comes in. This comprehensive program is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome these challenges and more.

Further Benefits of an Animation Pre Production Checklist

Stress Reduction: The Calm Amidst the Creative Storm

an animator sitting at his desk creating an animation with head phones on and his dog sleeping under the desk

GIF by Derek Moorhouse via GIPHY

Creating an animation, whether it's a short clip or a full-length feature, involves numerous intricate steps and a lot of creativity. It can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you're new to the industry. 

However, having a well-thought-out pre production checklist can significantly reduce this stress. The checklist acts as a safety net, ensuring no crucial step is missed. This level of organization can bring peace of mind, allowing you to focus more on the creative aspect of the project rather than worrying about potential oversights.

Enhanced Communication: Harmonious Symphony of Collaboration

6 different people all connected via digital channels against a dark blue background

GIF by LabXchange via GIPHY

A project's success isn't solely dependent on the efforts of an individual; it's a result of effective collaboration between various team members. A pre production checklist plays a vital role in ensuring seamless communication among team members. 

It allows everyone involved to understand their roles and responsibilities clearly, thereby reducing potential misunderstandings or conflicts. In addition, it gives stakeholders and clients a clear picture of the project's progress and what can be expected in the next stages. This transparency fosters trust and enhances overall team collaboration.

Cost Management: Financial Foresight for Success

Mr Crabs sitting in a pile of money notes grabbing a whole bunch of cash in his right hand and in his left hand and looking at it

GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants via GIPHY

Budgeting is a critical aspect of any animation project, and unexpected costs can be a real setback. An elaborate pre production checklist helps in cost management by outlining every step and its associated expenses. 

This allows you to plan your budget effectively, allocate resources wisely, and keep unexpected costs at bay. By ensuring financial efficiency, the pre production checklist becomes an integral tool in the overall success of your animation project, providing stability and foresight in an industry where financial hiccups can often lead to major setbacks.

Checkmate with Your Pre Production Checklist

a penguin wearing a blue hat with yellow stars on it playing chess and moving the queen with the text saying "checkmate"

GIF via Pudgy Penguins by GIPHY

In the strategic game of animation, your pre production checklist is your winning move. It not only keeps you organized but also enhances efficiency and ensures a consistent quality of work. Yet, having a checklist alone isn't enough to guarantee success in this ever-changing and highly competitive animation industry.

To further bolster your freelance animation career or your animation studio's growth, consider joining our Animation Business Accelerator Program. Moreover, you can sign up for a free strategy session. Here, we go over why you're not achieving the level of success you desire and get advice on what steps you need to take to live your dream life. 

We encourage you to also check out our blog on "How to Start an Animation Studio". It's time to propel your animation journey with the right resources, the right guidance, and of course, a comprehensive pre production checklist. 

Remember, the magic of animation begins with the meticulous planning of pre production. Here's to your success in the enchanting world of animation!

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