How to Run An Indie Animation Studio: The Aaron Augenblick Interview


(This episode contains strong language.)

Over the last fourteen years, Aaron Augenblick has built up Augenblick Studios into one of New York City’s most respected production studios. The studio has produced animation—in Brooklyn!—for series such as Wonder Showzen (MTV2), Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), Superjail! (first season, Adult Swim), as well as the festival circuit hit Golden Age. The studio’s current major project is an animated feature based on the Ben Stiller live-action pic Zoolander.

In the latest episode of Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum, Augenblick talks about creating a studio from the ashes of bad advice, how a young studio finds work, the challenges of being a studio owner and artist at the same time, tips for building an artistic community and fostering studio pride, why he refuses to expand his studio beyond a set number of employees, and the importance of submitting animated shorts to festivals even if you’re producing commercial work.

LINKS RELATED TO THIS EPISODE
Augenblick Studios: WEBSITE and FACEBOOK PAGE
Cain’s Tavern: WEBSITE and FACEBOOK PAGE
Golden Age series
Ramblin’ Man:


  • Mike Rauch

    Might be the best, most informative episode of FFAF! Thanks guys.

    • FFAF

      Thanks Mike!

  • Tim Rauch

    I agree with Mike, my favorite FFAF! I always wanna hear what Aaron has to say.

    • FFAF

      Thanks Tim!

  • Pedro Nakama

    Very good!

  • Ant G

    For a sec I thought Aaron was referring to Will Ferrel’s experience in Megamind which would have shocked me because I love that movie so I looked it up and I guess it would be Curious George. I wonder what happened there, I never bothered to see it.

    • Dilly Philly

      it was megamind. it didnt have to do with the final outcome of the movie, the shitty part was in the making of the movie. lots of disorganization and stress.

      • Bob Harper

        That makes sense, I was racking my brain thinking Oblongs? Curious George? Then realized he wouldn’t have done Megamind if he already had the bad experience. Shame because I think he could add a lot to a character if given the freedom.

  • Phil Willis

    Best FFAF since JJ Villard in ep 17.
    Great work guys.

    • FFAF

      We love you Phil.

  • Dirty Laundry Day

    I have to agree with everybody here, this is really one of the most informative and eye opening podcast from FFAF, more of these please.

  • Dino

    Great episode, great guest. Please more of this illuminating, on-topic interview style, and less of the uncomfortable-sounding “yes-and” shtick.

  • Tomm

    Great stuff, found a lot in common with this guy …

  • andy kennedy

    Great podcast, thanks guys!

  • Hulk

    Great Interview!!!! I too have always wanted to start my own studio but haven’t been able to get one off the ground (yet). My question would be: how did he consistently get freelance jobs that paid enough? He said his studio took anything that came his way. I did that for a few years too but usually ended up broke. My experience has been that most clients don’t pay enough, if they pay at all. Certainly not enough to cover overhead for a studio and/or save enough money to make my own shorts. If that had been the case, I’d have my own studio too by now. Is the problem living in LA vs. New York? Was it just the timing? What’s Mr. Augenblick’s secret? What advice would he have for seeking clients who can and do pay enough to cover your expenses and make a profit?

    • flamtastic

      My guess the formula is hip, simple design = low production costs + NY.

      They are a bit too giddy on this interview to get any real dirt.

      • Joseph

        The designs in Augenblick are pretty damn complex and work intensive, especially Super Jail and Ugly Americans…

  • http://sportingnerds.com Sco Jo

    I really like watching Wonder Showzen episodes on the Liquid TV website, which I just discovered. Just throwing that out if anyone’s interested.

  • Ari

    working at mtv for two years on a entry level salary funded his studio for a year? Did he get a bank loan or have other help? would appreciate another podcast that really discusses the business side of things