Animation studios are often the first place that comes to mind when someone is looking for a job in filmmaking, but how can you tell good animation studios from bad ones?
Good animation studios will have work available. While they may not have any public work now, chances are many of their animators are currently working on big projects or waiting for new projects to begin. If they have no current projects, it means they are either about to shut down or haven’t been able to acquire future work yet. A studio without work available is riskier than one that’s busy with active work because there’s no guarantee that employment with them will last.
The quality of previous works can indicate whether an animation studio will produce high-quality works. If their previous work has an overall poor quality, then there’s no reason to expect that they’ll make high-quality work in the future.
The animation studio should explain how much animating they are doing themselves. They should make it known whether or not they take on outsourcing projects, and if so, who they outsource them to. Outsourcing studios are typically not held accountable for deadlines unless the client specifies that the outsourced studio must adhere to specific deadlines to have an acceptable product by a particular date. Out of all animation studios Australia, those that operate without any outsourcing companies tend to have higher quality works since everything is controlled in-house rather than delegated.
When a studio’s production process is stable and chugs along nicely, it means the studio knows what they are doing. If their production process continuously seizes up from time to time, it probably means they have a poor working system that requires much improvement. While experience doesn’t necessarily prove that they will be able to produce high-quality works within a short amount of time, it does show if the studio has been around for a long time and acquired many projects or not.
A talented animator could create decent works at home using software such as Toon Boom Studio or Anime Studio Pro, but producing high-quality work often requires having multiple animators work together in one room where ideas can be exchanged quickly. Animating by oneself typically lacks the same level of productivity as animating as a group.
Animation studios that work with other companies should agree on scheduling and deadlines. If the studio often misses deadlines and has issues with punctuality, problems will arise if the client imposes strict time constraints. This also means delivery dates must be negotiated beforehand and ensure that both parties involved know how much the project should take to complete.
Can you talk to some of their clients? Ask them what they like or dislike about working with them. Learning about past projects can help determine whether or not they have any unresolved quality issues or outstanding disputes with past clients. Any negative feedback from past clients should indicate areas where improvement is needed. These could include animation errors, product glitches, poor communication, and problems with deadlines.