Animated Shorts: Sell or Give Away for Free?

Watch the Birdie

Last year I wrote about how the family of British animation legend Bob Godfrey was uploading his films to YouTube. Now they’ve removed the films and are selling them on demand at Godfrey’s official website. A handful of his films are currently available including Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit, Henry 9 ’til 5, Instant Sex, and the super-rare Watch the Birdie. Films cost around a buck, but purchasers can only view the films and do not receive a permanent digital copy.

Godfrey’s family explains the reasons for switching from free YouTube videos to pay-per-view: “The answer is very simple. Digitising the videos, cleaning-up the soundtrack and picture and encoding for the web and then hosting the videos all costs money. Unfortunately the ad-funded videos on YouTube only generated £11 in 9 months, nowhere near enough.”

Some thoughts and questions:

1. Should the public be expected to pay for animated shorts today that were available to view for free when they first debuted fifty years ago?

2. Isn’t there more value to keeping Bob Godfrey’s name relevant on major sites like YouTube than the few extra bucks that could be earned by hiding his work behind a paywall? On the Internet, indie filmmakers can compete with the big boys, but hiding one’s films isn’t a competitive plan when studios like the National Film Board of Canada give away their shorts for free through mobile apps and websites.

3. What are other ways that a classic filmmaker could earn money from shorts? Why not make them available in the highest quality possible on an ad-free site like Vimeo, and then sell original art from the shorts? Or how about a Bob Godfrey iPad app with his films as well as interviews, photos and supplementary materials — the contemporary version of a coffeetable book.

Historically, shorts have never been an easy way for filmmakers to earn money, and filmmakers who make a living from shorts hardly represent the majority. In the case of a still-living animation legend like Godfrey, cementing his legacy within the pantheon of animation greats would be a more effective plan in the long run than attempting to exploit his work for nickels and dimes.


  • Chris Webb

    For the Americans reading this, 11 pounds is $17.93.

  • http://stuartbury.blogspot.com stuart

    When answering this question I think you have to account for the different places people’s careers are in at the moment.

    If I were to post an awesome video for free and it happened to get a few hundred thousand hits it can mean job opportunities, and perhaps even some connections that would get me funding for my next film. I keep thinking of Nick Cross. That guy is so inspiring. He put out 3 really great shorts. Now he is using his self built clout to drum up funding for hist first feature.

    For Mr. Godfrey He doesn’t really have that to gain. And frankly I can’t think of what he could gain buy putting them up for free. If he needs the money, let him sell his work.

  • http://comedyforanimators.com/ Jonathan Lyons

    For individual short films, I would say give them away. The amount of free content you are competing with is incalculably large. Unless you have been nominated for an Oscar, you don’t have much chance.

    For a collection, such as a filmmaker’s body of work, or a character series, you might be able to sell them as a “box set” to fans. It’s finding the fans and connecting with them that takes time. And time is money. But if you have the fans, you might be able to sell them merchandise as well.

    • http://monicochavez.com Monico Chavez

      He was nominated for numerous Oscars, and also won.

      If this pay model ends up working for them, good on them. But, honestly, I think your point still stands. Is it worth it to limit your audience to make slightly more setting up your own pay-per-view, or have a wide audience and make less via ads on youtube (but no hosting costs)? I think their profit/loss is going to be the about same either way…. unfortunately, probably about zero…

    • TempleDog

      The business plan of posting your shorts, then producing and selling a compilation seems like it might work, know at least two fellers who’ve done this, both with series posted on Newgrounds. They built up their fanbase with an online toon, then when the shorts reached a critical mass o’ sorts, they produced DVD boxed sets and sold ‘em online. How well they did? Couldn’t tell you, but it is a way to go.

  • the obsessive alien

    I think it’s important to remember that these shorts are private property (inherited by the family). The legal owners can do whatever they like, and just because there is some public interest it doesn’t mean the owner has an obligation to make it available for free. And to address your questions:

    1. Were they really available for free 50 years ago? if they were broadcasted on TV it doesn’t mean the owner didn’t get a dime. I wouldn’t think they were available online back then.
    2. More value for whom? for the owner – obviously not, they don’t even get their expenses covered. You can’t compare a private person to the NFB- an organization operating with the taxpayer’s money.
    3. I think only very few animation geeks buy original art from independent shorts. It’s a very unlikely source of revenue. The value of a film is watching the film, not a single frame from it and not some app. It seems to me that the product here is the film itself. How it can be marketed and sold – that’s a good question. DVD series of collective work of British animators, retrospective screenings, etc. are although a modest source of revenue, but seem more appropriate for honouring Godfrey’s work.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      A while back I picked up a DVD that was sold in the UK of Godfrey’s films, albeit, taken from rather shotty sources and wasn’t an official release like what the family’s trying to do here with their site. I’d rather pay for a DVD from them of Bob’s films if that would be something they might do in the future (burn-on-demand and all that).

    • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

      we do several retrospectives in the UK for free, and with Bob’s 90th coming up in May, we’re hoping to do more.

  • http://www.smallbirds.blogspot.com peter bangs

    There are better ways to go about making money then this I think. Make them viewable for free, with ads, downloadable for a price, available on DVD with extras, available on an app for a price. I’d like to know what the youtube viewing figures were like to only provide such a pittance. Their presence there doesn’t seem to have been that widely reported and I wonder if the problem was that not enough effort was put into letting people who would be interested know the films were there.

    • amid

      Peter – What you are suggesting is a freemium model which I think is a smart way to go. Free films at a lower quality, pay for higher quality and extras.

      The problem that some readers don’t seem to acknowledge is that Godfrey is a virtual unknown among the twenty and under crowd. They know Seth MacFarlane, Don Hertzfeldt, and maybe David OReilly. That’s who Godfrey is up against on the Internet and charging money for his work is a sure path to further obscurity. His reputation from forty years ago unfortunately hasn’t carried over to the new generation.

      • GhaleonQ

        Indeed. I’m realistic about the extent to which people actually like animation (rather than pop culture jokes or kids movies), but cinephiles really ought to be able to name your Aleksandr Petrovs and Koji Yamamuras (never mind the older names).

        It’s distressing that people genuinely think Pixar is the zenith of craft and creativity when there’s a whole cache of brilliance just sitting there. Short animators (the real artists in the form, in my opinion) have nothing to lose by driving interest the Web 3.0 way. If podcasts work for stand-up comedians, Web/DVD set coupling ought to work for animators.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        The stuff I used to enjoy had came from people like Godfrey back in the 70′s and 80′s, though who’s time certainly has passed by thanks to the newcomers of the indie field. I would rather they shared their shorts for free online while perhaps allowing a physical sale of work on discs with any extra material available on the side if you want. It would be at least one way of getting their legacy and influences out there for a younger generation to learn, understand and enjoy what came before their time.

  • Neil

    I would buy a DVD collection Of Bob’s work in an instant .

    but sorry im not willing to pay for a streamed video . I’m not sure wether the family own the copyrights for a dvd collection which is a pity. The man is a legend in the uk and inspired a whole bunch of kids like myself to take up animation with his series in the 70′s the Do-It Yourself Film Animation Show .

  • http://www.deptap.com Rajesh

    I’m glad you asked this question Amid.

    And as the proprietor of Deptap.com, a new “VOD” site aimed at animators and consumers of animated content, I have to say “SELL YOUR ANIMATION”.

    When TV first became big, Hollywood was scared of the competition. How could they continue charging for tickets when TV just gave it away for free?

    But they understood what some people today just do not understand – the power rests in the hands of those who create, not those who consume. Even with rising ticket costs, they make enough to keep doing what they do.

    Despite the competition from avenues that give content away for free – creators who charge others to watch their work actually do earn money. The reason few earn a living doing it is because few actually do it.

    Do they get a million views? No. But is a few thousand paying views better than a million non-paying views?

    I believe every animator has the right to ask that question.

    Especially when the most exciting shorts are not coming from big or even small studios but from students with mounting debt.

    Refusing them the option to sell their work – work that took time, money, and student loans to make – is akin to demanding they work for free or a “portfolio and resume piece”.

    People have shown they will pay for quality shorts and in a culture growing more attached to its mobile phones – where they are more likely to choose a 2-3 minute short over a feature length movie because of limited time – it seems shortsighted for creators not to take advantage of this.

    That’s why I allow creators to sell, rent, and give their movies away for free as well as create merchandise at no charge.

    Deptap understands good work has a cost and that cost deserves to be repaid.

    As the Internet comes of age, the old rules of simple economics will come into play. And the sites that charge creators to upload videos or share paltry ad revenue won’t stay high-traffic for long as creators abandon them for better channels of distribution.

    We’ve seen it with Hollywood, Toei, and now Bob Godfrey.

    If you’re looking for options that allow you to make money off your cartoons, Deptap is that option.

    • amid

      Rajesh – Thanks for your input and good luck with your project. Nobody is more in favor of filmmakers making money from their shorts than Cartoon Brew. We pay money to exhibit any film on Cartoon Brew TV, and we launched Cartoon Brew Films in early-2007, even before the iPhone had debuted.

      It’s great that you’re idealistic, but you also have to acknowledge the reality: you’re competing against tens of thousands of shorts available for free on-line. You’re not going to have thousands of people buying short downloads unless you have major iTunes-like marketing muscle supporting the enterprise. And even if you have one breakout short that sells thousands, chances are the rest of the shorts will sell a negligible amount. It’s like the iTunes long tail effect where iTunes makes a lot of money selling a dozen downloads of millions of songs, but the actual musicians earn next to nothing.

      At this point in time, it makes more sense to ask the question, How can filmmakers earn money from their shorts besides trying to sell downloads?

      • http://www.deptap.com Rajesh

        Thanks for the support, Amid.

        Yes, I am idealistic, but realistically so :)

        Yes there is competition, but that competition exists even now with these shorts available for free. Bob Godfrey received very few views compared to that turtle humping a shoe.

        The most viewed animation on YouTube didn’t receive as many views as that turtle.

        And competition exists for these students now – competing to get into their school’s end of year show, competing with friends for jobs at Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, or dog walking.

        I don’t think the solution is eliminating competition and ensuring everyone who makes a short cartoon has a million sales.

        Will any short on Deptap make millions? No, and I’m honest about that.

        Will they earn enough to see it’s worth their while – to keep making independent shorts even after taking the big studio jobs?

        And will they earn enough to prove that independent concepts do earn money so that Hollywood and TV are more willing to take risks in the directors they hire, the visual styles they develop, and the nature of the stories they tell?

        I’m betting on it.

        Hollywood has proven time and time again to cull the best independents into their system of filmmaking. And unless independents can prove their concepts sell and have potential, there is no hope for mainstream animation.

        That’s why Deptap provides filmmakers the tools they need to generate income – rentals, downloads, and merchandising all in one place – for free. So they can prove themselves.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    It is trivially easy to download videos from YouTube. Most fans interested in these works likely grabbed them when they were online free. Youtube videos are of more than acceptable quality these days, ranging from sharp SD all the way up to 720P HD. They encode & burn to DVD very nicely. The family of Bob Godfrey is closing the barn door after they let the Birdie escape.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      That’s how I kinda viewed it personally. It was finally great to see a pristine copy of “Alf, Bill & Fred” after having obtained a reddish 16mm print of it years back I thought I’d never see again someplace!

  • Prince

    ” Historically, shorts have never been an easy way for filmmakers to earn money, and filmmakers who make a living from shorts hardly represent the majority. ”

    ^ This doesn’t support any reason why anyone should be entitled to see their hard work for free.

    ” In the case of a still-living animation legend like Godfrey, cementing his legacy within the pantheon of animation greats would be a more effective plan in the long run than attempting to exploit his work for nickels and dimes. ”

    ^ A million youtube hits might only establish his films as a disposable diversion by some dead guy, with a name people forget a few minutes after they watch.

    I will never be happy putting shorts on youtube for free.

    I think freemium or selling DVD’s is a good idea.

    I have 2 made and working on a third, and making plans for them.

    Putting them out free only conditionally might be OK. I do retail sales for other kinds of merchandise and might include a DVD free with purchase. I could put them up free for limited time, for older ones- when I have a new one available for purchase. I don’t know, but I’d rather hold on to them than trade them for youtube hits and nothing else. I mean they might not be special or anything, I would just feel more respected to get a few bucks directly.

    Epic Beard Man was internet-famous, he lives near me and there was a local news article about what he got from his fame. Not much. I think he’s just another poor old guy on a fixed income with a subsidized apartment who people might laugh at on the street if they recognize him.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    My films are for sale. They are sold on DVD, are running on tv (by those who paid for the airing} and are distributed by people who pay for them. It still brings me relatively little money, but it IS money.

    They are also showing up on YouTube, which I like for some reason. However, I can’t afford to have my films streaming for free when others are willing to pay for them – however low. I am constantly asking YouTube to remove my films.

    The moment you start streaming films, they are going to be pirated and placed for free by some aggressive viewer who doesn’t have the right to do so. The only one who has the right to do that is the film maker, and your thoughts on that, Amid, seem completely geared toward the new film maker who has more to gain from giving the film away than a Bob Godfrey has from selling them. Your argument doesn’t hold up in such a wide market that we have today.

    • amid

      Your thoughts on that, Amid, seem completely geared toward the new film maker who has more to gain from giving the film away than a Bob Godfrey has from selling them.

      Actually, an older filmmaker stands to gain more from these ideas than a younger one. Contemporary filmmakers like Don Hertzfeldt and David OReilly already have a savvy young fanbase who is comfortable paying for downloads. It is older filmmakers like Godfrey who are on the cusp of being forgotten that are most in need of getting their work out there.

      Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution as you pointed out. But your situation is also unique because you’ve had a long-term benefactor to support your filmmaking efforts, which is a luxury that most short filmmakers do not have.

      My observations of the evolution of on-line animation over the past decade have clearly pointed in one direction: being stingy with content on the Internet is not a good plan for visibility, reputation building, or income generation. It’s a topic that we’ll certainly keep exploring on the Brew in the coming months.

  • http://www.lawrencejackson.com Law

    Sell shorts or give shorts away… my answer is both, IMHO.

    Good money can be made either way as long as there is a plan. There are both creative and conventional opportunities to make money with both the freemium model and the pay per view models, but before serious time and talent is committed to to a short the producer needs to have a solid revenue model. Ready, Fire, AIM! is a poor way to make money. Feature length animation is tricky to earn money and shorts are even more difficult to profit from, unless you have a series.

  • Mister Twister

    How exactly the animation industry is going to stay alive if the ppl who make animation are not paid for it?!

    I detect an absence of logic here.

    • amid

      I detect an absence of reading comprehension on your part because nobody has suggested anything of the sort.

      • Mister Twister

        True, I am a freaking idiot.

  • The Gee

    oh, for what it is worth, I always hope that someone who wants to make money off of their films can make money. If it is sales by them or through a distributor.

    I’m also down with people making films to share with others. So, giving it away isn’t so bad. I just know that for most projects, the time and effort animators have put in to it should be rewarded somehow. Hopefully, that reward helps by adding inventive for them to do more.

    Passion ain’t the only motivator, ya know. To dedicate time to something and to make an animated short or (gasp) a feature, by one’s self or with others, in the best way possible for the quality of the work, then incentive often needs to be greater than “following the bliss.”

  • http://www.hobodivine.blogspot.com/ Hobo Divine

    My suggestion would be:

    Have a few (not all) of the vignettes available to watch at a low res.

    All clips have a link to the website that provides a high res download and/or have a DVD available with commentary about the creative process for all the films.

    I would really love to hear about the creative process for all the films.

    And, finally, only tear down any posts from the DVD.

    I think they would create more traffic/attention if something/one thing/anything was free at low res than nothing at all.

    Also change the metaphor… I mean how many people return to a “wall”?

  • Mark McDermott

    Theatrical cartoons have never really been “free,” have they? You paid the price of a ticket to see them in theatres, and you “paid” to watch them on TV by sitting through commercials. In the first case, the producers of the shorts got paid on a salary basis, in the second, they realized no profit from a studio dumping its outdated library to TV.
    This looks like a rare case (from the American perspective) of Godfrey & family still controlling his films, and trying to get them before the public in a way that pays for itself. I think we can agree the expense of cleaning up original film elements can be pretty high, and if ads on YouTube won’t pay the bills, something needs to.And there’s a whole ‘nother layer of expense involved in Mastering and printing DVD’s, and getting into distribution.

  • http://www.sneezemeaway.com/ Ryan G

    With the accessibility to POD (print on demand) services becoming much easier now, when I was making my first animated short, I thought of an idea that I would edit together an 80 page full colour “Art of” book to sell to try and make a few bucks back. I asked on a few animation forums if this would get any interest, and I got back enthusiastic replies with calls to “support independent animators” and all that.

    So I went back and took about 4 weeks from my schedule from making my film to edit the book. After it was all finished, I sent out notices to the forums where I asked the original question on, and do you know how many books I have sold in the last year? Zero.

    It seemed that when it came to actually parting with hard earned cash, no one is going to spend money on a no name animator.

    But you know what? I don’t care, because I absolutely love my book, holding it in my hand, and looking at the wonderful art that I am proud of over and over again. Ultimately it was still a worthwhile endeavour to me, and I would do it all over again too, but I know now not to expect a single cent from the public, or even those “in the industry”.

    Oh, if I may be so bold, here is a link to my book if anyone is interested:
    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1355481

    Also, if anyone wants any tips on POD publishing, I’d be happy to answer any emails. You can contact me through the website associated with my name at the top of the post.

    • prince

      Your book looks great.

      The price is the problem. $46 (plus shipping?) is higher than people pay for new pixar art books. Most of the type of people who would be interested in your book would have a hard time justifying paying that much and giving it shelf space, compared to other more attractive options, like high budget feature films they’ll watch again and study.

      An unknown artist book would probably do best priced under $10. It’s as much as someone might pay to take a chance on a movie. That’s especially good if it’s made to be printed cheap. Black and white comics etc. I know you can’t produce a nice color hardcover collector art book for that much. That’s just my experience as an art book dealer.

  • http://www.watchmike.ca Mike

    I’m not particularly thrilled by having to pay for these cartoons – for a different reason.

    I don’t mind paying for shorts. But this particular service isn’t that great. The VOD site isn’t conducive to ‘couch mode’ viewing. I think better services ( ie Netflix, MUBI ) would do a better job at charging people for shorts. Anything Boxee-based with a payment system has my vote ( and money :))

  • http://www.watchmike.ca Mike
  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog michael sporn

    I have no”long term benefactor.” Selling my films is as hard for me as it is for anyone else.

    • The Gee

      My first comment–which somehow got lost in a shuffle– would likely have been some interest to you.

      I’m guessing my hyphens are mucking up things.

      Suffice it to say, I wrote how there’s no sure fire way to make a successful short–or content, to commoditize it, and expect each attempt to be successful, well-received, adored, each and every time out.

      Now, while I lament the time lost over the first comment I attempted to post,* in these discussions on How To…. and What’s The Best Method?… sometimes the comments are predictable and rarely does anyone mentions Phil Nibblenick….well, apparently, unless it’s me….

      Before “Sita Sings….” was released, he practically did it all himself, soup to nuts, including showing up at theaters where his feature played. For some reason his feature got 15 mutes and…pooof!

      He still owns it and can hopefully try selling it any way he can but how long has it taken to make up for the five years he put into his movie?

      There is no one way. And, sometimes even a good way and a good work doesn’t mean success/riches/enough/whatever.

      Although…..while
      i get sick of people citing Jones’ “illustrated radio” remark, in that same article did’t he say tv commercials were where it’s at?

      At least those gigs pay. Is it about “personal vision”? Nah. But Them’s The shorts that get seen and finance the next endeavor.

      *ironically, that wasted time was mentioned in the post that got lost
      Word to the wise: copy and paste and save posts that might not make it through the filter…especially the long ones which seem quite contrary.

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    It’s possible somebody has already suggested this here (I haven’t read every comment for this post) but what about putting a sample on Youtube, and charging for the rest of the work on your own website or something similar? You could put up 30 seconds or a minute of each of your shorts, to give people a taste, and end the videos with a link to your site.

    This may have already been tried many times unsuccessfully, I’m just throwing it out there.

    • The Gee

      Sure. It can and has been done.
      But, nowadays, trailers (like Super Bowl commercials) can pass as entertainment for some.

      The teaser or trailer doesn’t always entice people to pay and see a movie.

      That written, there’s every reason to do it because it does promote the work.

      Like you mentioned, it doesn’t guarantee success though. No one should think there’s some 1,2, 3 method to a successfully selling short. There’s too many variables that determines what sinks and what swims.

      (now, let’s see if this comment—technically my third–is posted)

  • Pavlovich74

    Exposure that Godfrey has already got on a site like You Tube would have already won him a legion of new fans (or at least a few), and if the license holders to his works deem that that is enough exposure to start a new way of marketing then I hope they do well.
    In my opinion however they can continue the You Tube channel and through it show links to book, art, and DVD sales, and even merchandising (mugs, calenders, T shirts etc) making more money in the long run than streaming content and getting hard copies of Godfrey’s works out there for fans to be proud of and show off to others.

    I also wish to add that with original and wonderful content 11 pounds in 9 months shows a lack of aggression in salesmanship. On You Tube you need subscribers and “friends”, to get many you have to be a dedicated friend finder but with great material it should have been much easier. Sure it is hard to earn a GREAT deal but for me that low number may be a significant indicator of the lack of zeal (just a guess though…)

  • Luke

    For me, I would not pay for an individual short at all. If I liked the collection of shorts well enough, I would buy a DVD set. The ipod app sounds like a genuine idea, but an ipod SDK cost $300+.

  • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

    Each video on YouTube had around 4000 hits, and there were around 5 videos up, so around 20,000 hits in total. Not much by YouTube terms.

    We are looking in to DVD-to-download options, as the inital cost of DVD mastering would be way too much at the moment.

    As for the films initially being free, can I ask where you got that information from, or have you just made it up?

    As for free and extra content, we have an interview with Bob talking about Henry 9 ’til 5 which is free before the paywall for the film. More films will include these interviews with Bob, for free.

    As for an iPad app, I’m not going with a closed-system run by Apple. As for services like Netflix or LoveFilm, they only deal with distributors, finding one of those isn’t something I have any inclination to do, as we would lose control and certain rights. It may generate more revenue, but it’s simply not an option for us.

    As for a better designed site, we’re working on it. We are trying to perfect it and make it as user friendly as possible, so please keep comments coming, we are listening.

    In the mean time, if you do want to use the site, we offer weekly subscriptions from £2.99 (around $5) a week.

  • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

    to add, if you can think of another way to pay for transfers, cleaning up and hosting the files (in a way that means they can’t easily be copied downloaded YouTube/Vimeo), I would be more than happy to hear your ideas.

    • http://www.watchmike.ca Mike

      Thanks for your reply Tom! I was actually wondering the same thing the other day. Boxee keeps saying they’ll come out with a simple pay-system – but they’ve yet to deliver. Viddler sort of has a good system, but its also far from ideal.

      But I’d keep my eye on both those services, they’ll probably change.

  • http://animationanomaly.com Charles Kenny

    I wrote about this kind of thing just this past week ( http://animationanomaly.com/2011/04/13/the-only-surefire-way-to-make-money-from-your-film-in-the-internet-age/ if anyone’s curious)

    At the end of the day, what it comes down to is, like I point out in my post: Knowing the difference between what is scare and what is not.

    People are willing to pay for something that they consider scarce, or hard to get. If a film is available online (for free or not), then it has an infinite supply and is thus worth extremely little (or in this case, 11.00 GBP).

    Why not make them available in the highest quality possible on an ad-free site like Vimeo, and then sell original art from the shorts

    My sentiments exactly Amid. Original art is not in plentiful supply and thus can command a greater price than the films. As any storekeeper will tell you, it’s not how much money you make per item sold, it’s how much you make overall.

    Ideally, the more this guy’s name is out there, the greater the opportunities for his stuff to be sold. Putting the content behind a paywall will do neither and his legacy will be all the worse for it.

    • Chris Webb

      What Charles Kenny wrote above makes sense. You Tube should be thought of as a way to ADVERTISE your film for free, not as a SHOWCASE.

      If you post a complete film for free on the web, think of it as a way to advertise yourself and your film making abilities. The web is the greatest ADVERTISING vehicle ever! But use it for promotion, not as a way to make money.

      If anything, a film maker should be posting on the web all kinds of trailers and teasers for their film… but not the actual complete film. Make creative commercials – make dozens of them – and drive eyeballs to your site. Then sell DVDs of the complete work and T-Shirts and art and stuff from your site.

      Various successful pod casts have the right idea – they charge to download the material. Film makers should do the same.

      So animators – put your efforts into making your films and ALSO making great web commercials for the films.

  • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com robcat2075

    “In the case of a still-living animation legend like Godfrey, cementing his legacy within the pantheon of animation greats would be a more effective plan in the long run than attempting to exploit his work for nickels and dimes.”

    What is the financial return on being cemented into a pantheon? I’m going to guess it’s even less than nickels and dimes.

  • Joe March

    USA Network Night Flight ran Godfrey’s INSTANT SEX: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiFuSbgd0Bk

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Ha, it’s gone!

      Still, that was my FAVORITE short for all the right reasons!

      • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

        you can watch it on the VoD site

      • Zach Tully
      • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

        what exactly do you achieve by promoting copyright theft?

  • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey Collection)

    Amid, I must say it’s a shame that you want to rubish our Pay-per-view site and break copyright law, rather than contact us, talk to us about it and maybe come to some agreement about giving your readers a discount, maybe even giving you a percentage. This would be far more constructive for everyone involved.

  • http://4eyedanimation.com Joe Corrao

    Ya seems like the way to go is release high quality shorts and try for products (T shirts, prints, etc) to make revenue…

  • Joe

    “Why not make them available in the highest quality possible on an ad-free site like Vimeo…”

    You answered your own question. Like the artists’ family mentioned, it costs money to upgrade the original videos which may reside on VHS tape, or worse, on film to the highest digital quality and distributing the films for free doesn’t cover the cost. Do you really think the family should have to incur an expense to keep the work alive? Would you prefer they just burn all the original copies and then the work ceases to exist altogether?

  • Scotti scott

    Trying to hunt down a copy of Great by Bob Godfrey is impossible. I WANT to buy this film. How can Bob’s family complain about restoration costs if they cannot supply the films to the paying public to meet them!

    Whoever has ownership of these films does NOT have a working web site. bobgodfreyfilms does NOT work under any guise

    I am writing a thesis about animated documentary and would appreciate any help on this matter.

    Thank you

    • http://www.bobgodfreyfilms.com Tom

      it is now back up and running. We can’t sell GREAT as that would involve us infringing copyright law. Others are available and more will be made available if sales improve.