The term “independent animation” is broad and can encompass various styles, formats, and production scales. It refers to projects that operate outside the traditional studio system and are funded and produced by a dedicated team. These 2D animation studios for hire, While some may point to well-known examples like VivziePop’s “Helluva Boss” or Lackadaisy Cats, independent animation spans a wide spectrum, from micro-sized vignettes to full-length feature films. It’s about creators having full autonomy over their projects, even if they seek external support for distribution or funding.


Now, let’s discuss the different types of independent animation projects you might consider when venturing into this exciting world.


  1. Animation Tests and Micro Projects

A great starting point for independent animators is creating small tests. These can be brief animations or storyboards that range from a few seconds to a minute. Artists like Teleporte and Keca Flip Notes have gained recognition for their simple yet captivating tests, often created with minimal resources. This approach allows you to experiment, be playful, and get a feel for the animation process.


For instance, animating a character doing a dancing loop, as I did with my “Dancing Dogs,” can be a fun and engaging way to connect with your audience. These tests don’t necessarily need to be fully polished or colored but serve as a creative playground for exploration.


  1. Animatic Story Reels and Story Times

If you’re more inclined towards visual storytelling, consider creating animatic story reels or story times. Artists like Rad Sechrist, Kill Art, and Ethan Becker excel in conveying narratives through storyboards and animatics. These projects focus on visual storytelling, incorporating music, dialogue, and sound to evoke emotions.


Creating a compelling animatic provides a solid foundation for a potential future animation project. It allows you to gauge audience interest and decide whether to invest more time and resources into a full production.


  1. Skits and Short Films on a Limited Budget

To thrive in independent animation, it’s essential to work smartly within your limitations. Skits and short films with engaging stories and characters can be powerful tools for conveying creativity without a substantial budget. Creators like Worthy Kids and Simon’s Cat showcase how impactful short, well-executed animations can be.


These projects can be vignettes, capturing brief moments in a character’s life. They don’t need to be fully finished skits; even incomplete snippets can be engaging and relatable. The key is to focus on aesthetics, vibe, and storytelling rather than solely on elaborate animation.


  1. Short Film Features

Short film features are more ambitious projects that aim for recognition in festivals or studios. While they may not necessarily require a huge budget, they demand considerable time, effort, and meticulous planning. Students often create films in this category to showcase their skills and attract industry attention.


These films, such as my student films, may not be perfect, but they reflect the dedication and hard work invested in them. They serve as valuable assets for independent filmmakers looking to establish themselves in the industry.


  1. Full-Length Episodes, Pilots, and Features

The pinnacle of independent animation lies in creating full-length episodes, pilots, or even feature films. Visionaries like VivziePop, with “Hazbin Hotel” and “Helluva Boss,” have demonstrated that independent creators can produce content of studio quality. However, undertaking such projects requires significant financial investment, a committed team, and a well-established workflow.


For those new to independent animation, starting with full-length pilots may be overwhelming. It’s advisable to build experience and confidence through smaller projects before venturing into more extensive, labor-intensive endeavors.


In conclusion, the world of independent animation is vast and diverse, offering numerous avenues for creative expression. Aspiring animators should start small, experimenting with animation tests, storyboards, or short skits. Building a community and gaining confidence in your skills can lead to more ambitious projects over time.


Remember, independent animation is not solely defined by elaborate productions but by the passion and creativity poured into each project. Embrace the process, learn from mistakes, and let your unique voice shine through your animations.


Whether you choose to create micro-projects, animatics, or full-length features, the key is to find joy in the journey and to continually refine your craft. Independent animation is a thriving community, and there’s room for creators of all levels and styles. So, take the plunge, embark on your animation adventure, and see where your creativity takes you.