9 top tips for creating award-winning animated shorts

wildlife crossing makers

Here Anthony Wong and David Tousek share some top tips and advice for creating award-winning animated shorts...

01. Start right

Keep the story clear and simple. This is the foundation of your animation, get this right and the project will be easier later. Consider a classical story structure and try to tell the story with as few shots
as possible.

02. Get feedback

Ask producers what they think about what audiences want. To do this, it helps to produce samples and look for early feedback wherever possible.

03. Be realistic

You have a small team and budget, so don't overstretch your resources. Keep the number of locations low and ensure that the number of characters and rigs is also low.

04. Find new styles

Consider the different styles of animation other than the ‘Pixar‘ way. There is huge room for creativity in the way your characters are animated, and finding new styles can be both creative and original as well as time-saving.

05. Keep deadlines

Consider the animation stage to be the most critical deadline and work toward that moment adjusting everything else to it. If you know you have only four animators and two weeks, plan your story, assets, and animation style accordingly. If possible, plan to animate under one roof. Team collaboration is a huge boost to solving issues in real time.

06. Find your film

It’s important to see the whole, bigger picture so don’t get stuck with polishing until the entire film seems to work. Try to catch problems early on. Storyboard your film early and show it around to people you trust for feedback.

07. Use your community

Set up an online forum – a communication platform. Get people to follow the progress and comment on it. People need to know, especially if they work online, that there is some progress being made.

08. Find the right people

Get a director that is hard working, loves to work with people, is full of empathy, wants to learn new things and communicates well. A good director must be a step ahead of everybody else on the project.

09. Put in the effort

Always do more work than others. If it is your film, people need to know you care and are working harder than them. Be an example. Don’t go into a project you are not completely convinced with.

Words: Paul Hellard/Alice Pattillo

Anthony Wong has worked at Disney Feature Animation on many films, including Mulan, Hercules, Fantasia 2000 and Tarzan. He currently works at Pixar and was the animation director on Wildlife Crossing. David Tousek is an art director and 3D character animator. He is also the founder of Anomalia.

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