Comment of the Day: One-Month Animated Feature

One Month Animated Feature

Our post about Ryan Estrada’s quixotic quest to produce an entire animated feature in one month sparked a discussion in the comments about whether it’s possible for anybody to do such a thing.

Robcat2075 did the math and thinks it’s a feasible idea. He explains how in his comment:

Well, lessee…

-If we take 40 minutes as the Academy minimum for a feature that’s 2400 seconds to fill…

-If you shot on 4’s that’s 14400 drawings needed…

-Ub Iwerks famously did 600 animation drawings in one day…

-14400/600 = 24 days, leaving 7 days for painting, backgrounds, post…

It’s possible! A cleverly planned production might get done.

Good luck!


  • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

    Also, if he works with a lot of replacement parts on top of only a few key drawings to cycle through that also helps. He also seems to have most of the audio started/ready to cut in. So that helps a ton.

    I did feel like sweating bullets when I read his list of resources though. Only Photoshop and Final Cut? I’d be super nervous to work without a more intuitive compositing software. At least having Flash would make me feel like I could do something similar to this, personally.

    I’d never make it though. I’d be way too distracted by that awesome, inviting, tropical locale. Ryan must have a will of steel!

    • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

      Most of the audio was recorded, but I’m only cutting it now.
      Yes, I realize that I am using the dumbest software possible.

      • Ryoku

        You’re using software that I see everywhere, Photoshops basicly Inkscape with a ridiculous price tag but I’m not familiar with Final Cut.

  • http://orangecow.org Garrett Gilchrist

    I’m guessing a little Hanna Barbera limited animation here. His original comic is pretty dialogue happy, so he might be able to pull this off. He’ll just be very very tired at the end of it.

    • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

      Yeah, I tossed out my other scripts in favor of this one for this project BECAUSE it’s dialogue happy. ANd yeah, I intend to do a lot of limited animation and reused stuff and whatever kind of cheating I can come up with.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    If 40 minutes is what defines a feature – then I’ve animated 2 minutes of footage in a day – of course not top quality, and in Flash, but animated none the less. Question is – does this challenge include all of the preproduction such as BGs, script, etc. Even if that stuff is ready, this is still an impressive challenge.

    • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

      The script was done in advance, and a lot of the voice recording was done in advance, but not edited. Still waiting on some tracks. The BGs are all live action, taken from old public domain footage, so that was done decades ago, but is being edited now.

  • tonma

    I think the main issue here would be coming up with a result that would actually hold audience attention for 40 minutes. This is just math and doesn’t take account of creative process, subtle aspects of animation, storytelling and such; those might lead you to redo a scene for better effect if in a less crunched project.
    If you OK all things in your first pass you might make it, but the result of that could ruin the experience for the viewers. The viewers CAN tell the difference.

    • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

      I know it. And I’m being oddly stubborn. I already requested retakes from two actors, and recast another part entirely after recording.

  • Marty

    “Shot on 4′s” also assumes that there’s no holds, cycles or environment shots. On 4′s it’ll be a maximum on 14,400 drawings, but it’ll probably end up being much less.

    Of course, this is only taking animation into consideration. there’s still all of post to deal with.

    • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

      I’m still in Pre! Lots of editing and such to do before I can even start animating. Using the live action backgrounds and getting everything to match up is way harder than just drawing a bg.

      In response to the obvious question, I’m answering comments while Final Cut is rendering.

  • Spencer

    You can do it, Ryan. I know a guy who did an animation at 24, 10 minutes long, in two months, day and night. Shoot in 4s, keep it simple, and you’ll be perfect.

  • Ryoku

    I have faith that Ryan’ll have this done in a month, and I appreciate the fact that Ryan will be releasing this for free.

    I’m just not sure what the end result will be, could be good or rubbish, but I would like to do a review when its out.

  • http://www.dejarnettedesigns.com DeJarnette

    Way to go Ryan! Keep that super ambitious fire burning! Much success on your endeavor!

  • http://www.toonhole.com Chris Allison

    If we’ve learned anything from fine art, it’s that ANYTHING can be done. I guess the better question is whether the finished project will be worth the time spent. Would spending an extra month on it increase the end product’s quality?

    Interesting challenge. Can’t wait to see the results. Good PR stunt haha

  • Jack Sprat

    Well of course it’s “possible.” My toddling nephew could make an animated feature in a few days if we just cycled his scribbles and doodles for long enough. The real question is whether the feature would be any GOOD.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ Teodor

    may force be with you

  • Bugsmer

    I don’t think it really matters whether it will be any good or not after one month. He’s not after quality. Ryan is trying to make a feature in a month, any way he can. If he’s unsatisfied with the result afterwards, he can go back and fix it or start afresh. Good luck, Ryan. Just don’t kill yourself in an attempt to achieve the improbable.

  • The Gee

    On accomplishment vs. quality:

    There is the aspect of putting the cart before the horse.

    What he’s trying to do is do the production/post on a feature in a month’s time.

    (And, to think, a seven minute Looney Tunes took six weeks and a lot of hands, right?)

    It’s one thing to have a goal, but if the motivation is the publicity or the publicity is important, to me, that is a bad first step.

    I wish you luck, because I’m sure you are spending some of that time reading these things. I’d say a bigger window of time would make it more worth while but if slaving away to produce something to finish it is the goal…goooooooaaaaallllll!

    Too many things put the cart before the horse these days…..and it shows and it ain’t as great as products go.

  • Doug

    I think its cool how this shows up after the Bakshi post (when he berates animators to just get out there and do it any way you can) Ryan shows up with an answer to the call.

    I’m sure every one of us – Ryan included – will be able to pick apart his project at the end and find something(s) to improve upon. That’s the nature of us humans. But the nature of us humans is also to talk ourselves out of things and call things impossible before even trying. Ryan has taken the choice to swim upstream on purpose and I’m sure he’ll learn a ton from it. All the best!

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    There are three kinds of people at a big-city marathon.

    There’s a few well-known athletes in the front who will go on to run in the Olympics.

    Then there’s several thousand people behind them who won’t run it as fast or as famously but will indeed cover that 26.21875 miles just as certainly as the front runners.

    And then there’s the crowd on the sidewalk watching the pack go by, shaking their heads at how “deluded” all those people are for embarking on this huge effort that’s never going to get them to the Olympics and how they are not “real marathon runners”.

    Making an animated feature is like running a marathon.

  • Steve Stanchfield

    “Let me give you one comparison”:

    Just make it live action and animation. For kids. Kids don’t count the drawings! Maybe you can use that Hamster or that cat or Baba Louie or some of those characters from Shawshank.

    Miss ya Ryan.