Guy Wants Animation Like ‘Coraline’–Whatever That Was Guy Wants Animation Like ‘Coraline’–Whatever That Was
Bad Ideas

Guy Wants Animation Like ‘Coraline’–Whatever That Was

Check out this request on Elance where somebody needs 60 to 90 seconds of animation in the style of Coraline for a thousand bucks. The person writes, “At least, I think Coraline was stop motion…might’ve been 4D or some new fangled get the idea.” No, actually, we don’t get the idea.

A protip: when requesting work for a low price, you should at the very least do basic research and understand the technique you need. That effort is a basic sign of respect to the artist you’re hiring.

Not understanding what you’re hiring somebody to do creates the potential for misunderstandings between the employer and contractor. The person who sent this to me, Chris S., writes, “It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for the up front ignorance and the lack of respect for the kind of work he is seeking.”

  • Isn’t it usually a bad sign when a project sets out to blatantly rip off an already successful style? Isn’t this where the stupid CG blacklash started? With idiots guarding money identifying ‘trends’ that don’t really exist?

    It probably wouldn’t be so bad if he’d just said ‘stop motion’ but the fact he wants it to look like CORALINE is a bit tasteless. Not that Coraline didn’t look beautiful, but I’m sure if he can’t understand what technology created Coraline in the first place, he would struggle to grasp the concept of certain visual styles suiting certain projects and that his 90 second masterpiece might not look as identical to Coraline as he hopes.

  • I wish there were some sort of visible trail on requests like that so we could see what he eventually got and what he eventually paid.

    If anything.

  • Hulk

    Unfortunately that’s typical. I’ve been in LA for 10 years and have had my ups and downs in and out of ‘the biz’ but the one constant has been these kind of lowball offers from Know-nothing Jackass “producers”. They usually act like they’re doing me a favor by letting me work on their stupid project for free and usually without a contract. I fell for it once or twice when I was young and naive but I’m over it now. These are the same types of sleazebags who say to women “baby you ought to be in pictures”. Welcome to Hollywood!

  • Emmett Goodman

    This guy isn’t the first to do this. I find this all the time when interviewd by potential clients. They don’t seem to realize how much work goes into an animated project.

  • I’ve found that e-lance is especially bad in terms of lack of respect for the artist. Generally, the people hiring workers have no idea of what is involved.

    By the same token, they get people from all over the world willing to try their hand at it – for the experience – meaning “for free”. There’s always some “little old lady in a cottage” who will undercut your bid. Doesn’t matter what what quality of the work is – as long as the price is right.

    In my experience e-lance is a colossal waste of time. If anyone has had better luck, I’d like to hear from you.

  • chipper

    I could use some money. Do you think I can get paid if I get a little Coraline doll and push it around for a minute?

  • Mark Cee

    Unfortunately, this happens all the time with us. I think it’s because most people take animation for granted and assume “it only takes a few days, right?”

    It’s tiring and an insult to our profession. I would advise anyone who produces animation (stop motion in particular) to NEVER accept those paltry rates. All you’re doing is supporting their stupidity and undermining our hard work.

  • Smith

    The global business pond is filled with scum so thick it makes the BP gulf disaster smell like Tapioca. Money is no guarantee on its own, either. Taste can’t be purchased.

  • erlab

    Never heard of Elance. And, most likely, for good reason.

  • Keith

    I’ll do it with finger puppets for a thousand bucks.

  • Chris S

    I find it insulting, but really I find it very funny what some people will propose in writing! I mean, what’s the point? He needs it by the end of July. Even Granny in the cabin with all of her cats helping her build props couldn’t deliver that. If this guy is a producer, I might just as well inquire to set me up on a Brazilian jungle unicycle tour for tomorrow…. if there is a jungle in Brazil.

  • Tim Hodge

    To be fair… the proposed budget does state “MORE THAN $1000”.

    Of course, it is doubtful that he is looking in the neighborhood of a minimum of fifty times more than $1000.

  • Chucky Jonas

    I don’t think any animator without work and with bills piling up would mind some mullah.

    Shooting in 3s at 24 fps, you could end up making $100 per hour. Compare that to working at McCancer and maybe we can agree that semantics mean nothing.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Yair Landau? Mass Animation?

  • To be fair, he does start off saying “I know this is a tall order”. Naivety doesn’t make him scum, perhaps just a bit of a dreamer.

  • Wait, wasn’t Coraline made in 5d or something?

  • Mark Cee

    Chucky Jonas- By the time you have built a puppet along with a set and lighting, your hourly average will have whittled down to less than $10.00 an hour. Then throw in your speedy theory of shooting on 3’s at 24fps… You’re now paying out of your own pocket to get something that will look nothing like Coraline. Not only that, your inexperienced “director” will take all the credit for your hard labor.

    And you’ll still be in debt.

    I’d rather work at McCancer.

  • ZAR

    Ordered from Morons ‘R’ Us?

    Come… on! Can’t you ask ANYONE how much such a project will REALLY cost before you embarass yourself in public?

    “I’d like to have a diamond ring for $50!” – “I could show you one but you couldn’t see it!”

  • Steve Schnier says:
    I’ve found that e-lance is especially bad in terms of lack of respect for the artist.

    So true. So painfully true.

    In my experience e-lance is a colossal waste of time. If anyone has had better luck, I’d like to hear from you.

    I have. This doesn’t deny that online freelance is for the most part full of conniving ignorant leeches, but I’ve managed to get about three or four ‘ok’ jobs from different little companies here and there in the last few months. All from just occasionally browsing the ColdHardFlash forums.
    The pay for them isnt great. The work’s monotonously simple. But hey, free money.

    And I haven’t heard the “we cant pay you but it will look good in your demo reel” schtick in months.

  • Jay Sabicer

    The disrespect of “the craft” is as old as business, itself. There is a website called that chronicles this with new entries every day.

    We should demand a nationwide law that business schools have several mandatory classes on understanding subcontracting, freelancers and the actual costs and timeframes of labor. Most of all, this universal truth should be rammed down their throats:

    You can have it:

    but only two of the abovementioned is realistic. Having all three is IMPOSSIBLE.

  • I’m always willing to give people some slack. After all I am the animator and they are not, so I will assume just a lack of knowledge. If I’m interested in a job and see some possibility to adjust the expectations and payment, I write back and educate them about how long it would take to do what they want, and what they reasonably could expect for their money and within their timeframe.

    And don’t forget that other people are most likely not trained to express their ideas. Something like “must look like Coraline” is a good starting point for a discussion in which I ask them wether they mean the technique, the design, the theme, or whatever. Often we end at a very different direction, which, if I get the job, can be very satisfying for both sides.

  • Randy Koger

    Chucky Jones….I’m confused…what is “mullah”?

  • David

    We had a little chuckle a while back about this one:

  • Giovanni Jones

    Sad that this is the sort of person in authority in so many places, holding the purse strings, making the money and getting the credit. Why can some people get away with everything and gain everything too?

  • Warhead

    *facepalm* Not a good sign if he doesn’t know how the style he’s imitating was animated.

  • So apparently Coraline was made for under $500K. Good to know.

  • FP

    –e-lance is a colossal waste of time–

    Not colossal – just very large. It’s like panning for gold. I frequent elance and dozens of other online venues to get work. The stuff that pays most appropriately is usually motion graphics. Words and graphics zapping around the screen, a day or two of work, a fair hourly rate, the rent & utilities get paid. Not “real” animation, but it keeps the After Effects skills honed…

  • David

    @ Randy Koger — I think he meant Moolah.

  • Chucky Jonas


    Definition of mullah:


    It’s always very important to read the client’s request. He doesn’t mention making the dolls. Unless he/she has any, this could be a business opportunity to make even more money.

    An advice to my fellow colleagues. Use your knowledge to your advantage. The ignorance of your client can work as leverage to make money. If you want to lose money by imitating Laika go for it, be my guest. On my end I always check the $/hr rate and adjust accordingly.

    The vox populi is you get what you pay for. Show your client what the end result would look like with the fore mentioned budget and a better demo with 3 times the original budget. They will go for the expensive one 8 out of 10 times.

    Don’t try to educate your clients, you’ll lose your time. Get things done and everybody will be happy.

    Don’t be a McCancer drone, working for them would be failure.

  • JD

    If you can draw like that and make a living. More power to you. You’re self-marketing skills must be second to none.

  • Peter

    No matter what happens somebody will learn something valuable from this job. It may be the client discovering that animation is an alternative definition for grueling labor and that it is truly a craft. Or it may be the fresh talent who spends the next month and a half making models, sweating under a hot lamp and editing in the dark only to find that they have wasted their summer and landed in the red. Or better yet both.

  • Tim

    To Chuck Jonas, If the poster had the puppets and sets made, I think he would know that what he wants is stop motion animation. Also, I seriously doubt that anyone can animate up to 90 seconds of footage in a 10 hour day, thus making one hundred dollars an hour, and if one could, it would certainly look nothing like Coraline.