Channel Frederator Opens Their Wallet for the First Time Channel Frederator Opens Their Wallet for the First Time

Channel Frederator Opens Their Wallet for the First Time

I’d like to applaud Channel Frederator for finally seeing the light after nearly four years of operation, and announcing that they’re going to begin doing what Cartoon Brew TV has been doing since day one: paying filmmakers for their content.

They even made a video to commemorate this momentous occasion:

Let’s get one thing straight: Paying artists is always a positive thing. But the manner in which the guys at Channel Frederator are doing it continues to reflect their lack of regard and respect for the filmmaking community upon which they’ve built their brand. Seriously, in what universe is $50 considered an acceptable fee for anything nowadays? Have they been misinformed that filmmakers can time travel back to 1964 to make all their purchases?

Here’s a reality check–the last time I went out to lunch with Channel Frederator founder Fred Seibert, our lunch bill ended up being over fifty smackers. In other words, this paltry amount isn’t even enough to fill up Fred’s tummy for one afternoon, yet somehow it’s supposed to represent a filmmaker’s reward for months of blood, sweat and tears. They’ve also announced that every month they’ll pay the filmmaker of the most viewed film a whopping $200. Guess what? That’s still less than what we pay every single filmmaker on Cartoon Brew TV.

Cartoon Brew TV doesn’t claim to be the standard bearer for online film distribution. Our company is two guys, Jerry and myself, and we’ve never received tens of millions of dollars in funding like Channel Frederator’s parent company, Next New Networks. But at the end of the day, I sleep well knowing that I do my best within our limited means to give something back to the community. I don’t make self-congratulatory videos and blog posts when I decide to do the right thing that I should have been doing all along. I put my money where my mouth is instead of making grandiose outward shows of being artist-friendly and supportive of creators. And most importantly, I don’t insult filmmakers by paying them fifty bucks. 

I truly believe that there needs to exist an alternative to the hucksters who have been exploiting the animation talent pool for years. This is what drives me to continue building Cartoon Brew TV into the premier destination for animated shorts online. We all know that the possibilities for filmmakers to earn money on the Internet are greater than ever. And while I don’t have a lot of money, I have more than $50, and I’m more than happy to dole it out when I put your film on the site. Who knows, maybe this idea of paying animators a respectable fee for showing their work online will someday become an industry-wide practice. It’s only fair, right?

  • Isaac

    Stupid question:

    Is there money to be made by publishing videos on the Internet? YouTube isn’t making any money; Hulu isn’t making any money; God knows if any of the smaller players are making any money.

  • Jason

    I find Fred Seibert’s judgment on all things toon to be highly suspect. Just take a look at the “animated” crap on his page. Ugly, uninspired, barely student-level work. And he’s let his only current success – “The Fairly Odd Parents” – pretty much go to hell. And now this guy’s got a contract with Sony? I predict a Daimler/Chrysler kind of merger – the kind that gets run straight into a ditch.

  • I don’t know, I think what Channel Frederator is doing is fine for their position. Now, I don’t favor Cartoon Brew TV over Channel Frederator, or vice versa. I think both are great for independent animators working online. But I don’t think the two can really be compared. CBTV episodes just come along every once in a while. CF updates each week, and if I’m correct, they’re going to be showing multiple cartoons each week now with the new format. They’ve gotta pay more filmmakers more often, so it only makes sense that they’re going to have to cut costs for each film. Plus, it’s not like anyone plans to make a living by submitting to CF, or even just get a few more materials for their work. It just seems like an extra incentive to get their cartoon out there to the world with an added bonus. Maybe I am a little bias because I am a big Frederator and Next New Networks fan. I just don’t think Channel Frederator should be chastised not doing this at the same time as you guys and not offering the same amount of money as you guys.

  • Weren’t you guys just telling us last week how great Frederator was?…

  • here here amid!

  • Lone Animator

    Frederator just signed with Sony Animation so his pocket’s aint empty. Like I said. We huuungry.

  • Its about time Frederator gets a review that is this honest and truthful from another professional. Certainly, there is a misunderstanding about his motives and it is about time it has been given this light. He’s hired to come and speak at schools and manipulate students to think he is creating a wonderful outlet for filmmakers. And there are a lot of suckers. He insist his door is always open for pitches – and well, its obvious why. The work he attracts is garbage and is the unfortunate desperate future of popular animation culture.

  • Re: Niko’s comment

    “They’ve gotta pay more filmmakers more often, so it only makes sense that they’re going to have to cut costs for each film.”

    By that logic, if CF added a million films, payouts would approach $0 per film.

  • ask

    I read the title hoping to read a positive review, only to realize you’re pointing out the actual payment?! I agree with you on this, don’t get me wrong- $200 can’t even pay your maintenance bill for one month. But he’s doing SOMETHING, and while they’re able to expand and experiment with new things, I look at this more as a curtosy gesture. Who knows where it will take them?

  • Acetate

    50 bucks ? For my film that took 6 months to complete and cost me 400 dollars in supplies ? In the words of Dr. Evil “Throw me a fricken bone”.
    Come on man, thats embarrassing.

  • What an Insult geez

  • “Starting on October 6th, we’re switching to a one cartoon format”

    now that they’re paying, looks like no more episodes with multiple shorts.

    “Yet somehow it’s supposed to represent a filmmaker’s reward for months of blood, sweat and tears”

    if you spent months of blood sweat and tears on your animation, why would the internet be the first place you’d go to show your work?

  • edward

    FACT: You can make $100 a day panhandling. That’s twice as much as uploading a short film to Frederator that probably took 3 months or more to animate.

  • Tom D

    Frederator has always had a bit of a scam vibe to it. “Compete for the chance to make me rich!” Feh.

    You get what you pay for, “Fred”. The cartoons they’ve posted and released through this program are almost always terrible. There are some gem in the mud there, but that just makes it all the more sad that this scheme is actually attracting some real talent along with the also-rans.

  • Jonathan

    I say give ’em 50 bucks worth of video. Maybe we have a day where people upload 1 second bouncing ball cycles.

  • Ah, the value of all our efforts. Warms the heart, doesn’t it? But we live in a world where the value of content is often zero and zometimes actually negative. Some children’s television stations do not pay for shows. And there are some distributors who pay to get their shows broadcast.

    And then, if you don’t like the world of television, of course you can be creative, make what you want and stick it on YouTube. And live off the, em, nice comments.

    Kudos to you Cartoon Brew guys for paying at all. And, yeah, for a player like Frederator to pay so little, well, that’s just not right but it’s a start.

  • Logic

    I personally think that getting your cartoon on old-format Channel Frederator (for free w/ multiple cartoons per episode) was a pretty good deal, compared to other options. Say I submit my piece (for free) and it gets accepted and shown to thousands of people. No money going out, no money coming in, but decent exposure.

    Seems to me like a better option than paying 40 bucks to submit it to a film festival where IF accepted, it’ll play for (maybe) a couple hundred apathetic art film connoisseurs. Money going out, no money coming in (chances are), and limited exposure.

    I’m probably just not bitter enough yet.

  • Ok, guys: you win.

    50 bucks, AND a slurpee!

    Happy now?? :-P

  • Dapper Jim

    As far as media production goes, there are a million and one expenses from the day it starts. All this is overseen with a budget, which what the animator designates himself to work around with.

    If its ambitious, the artist can take a risk and expose himself for free around the web/local art and even create awareness by posting a production blog. If he takes the risk, why not create some milestone commemorative merchandise? I’ve seen this happening all over schools and even with some people that have no “formal” education… If a creative mind is clever, it will find a way.

    Now, after the project is done and its finally released, there can be a million things happening. Further exposure is obvious, but most people dont have the means or knowledge [Thats why RESEARCHING is important] and so we turn into the familiar places we see… Now, lets put a nice little schematic:

    CBrew offers Free submission and a bigger payout for the films approved/submitted. Exposure is ok… But not very much [I dont see you guys promoting this AT ALL, not to mention the links that you offer are pretty old].

    YTube/Vimeo offers Free submission and no payout, Exposure is limited to self-promoting

    Fred offers free submission, a lesser payout for the film… But it has something that none of those services offer. The film is being screened on a place that I bet every animator KNOWS. Not to mention that with their filmography in their belts and the renowned state they enjoy… Plus, if its inside this little network, think of what opportunities you might have if any higher op manages to see your stuff?

    If you guys really wanna fight a war for this, Its ok with me… We, the animators and artists, end up with all the winning spoils.

    And perhaps, a word of advice, this little news blurb makes the Brew look a little bit unprofessional from the sour and hurt POV that you guys seem to be giving at them. I feel like you guys have a bit of scorn and jealously about this little new service that its given… Let it go, Amid. Be professional and appraise that someone as big as Fred is at least taking a baby step on the right direction with this…

    Good luck to Cbrew, and to Fred… My most distinguished applause for your effort to give back to this community, thank you.

  • Daisymay

    I don’t understand how people see this money thing as such a huge deal. Yes, animation costs a lot in both money and time. However if you’re making a short film are you really expecting a payout for it? I do understand that nowadays there is a higher chance to receive something back thanks to the internet, however NO ONE is offering the amount it would really cost to make a film.

    If you’re making a short film for Channel Frederator or any online animation distributor and expecting to make bank, then you’re in the wrong business. Yes, $50/$200/$1000 is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but you’re getting paid to be exposed…now for me that is a big something. I give my films away for free just for exposure.

    And honestly it just sounds like you’re trying to toot your own horn for Cartoon Brew. I cant really take this post seriously because you are SO negative and upset.

    If you’re an animator making your own films you aren’t doing it for money cause you’ll never be compensated the amount you should be. I think we should just be happy that there are services out there that expose animators to millions of viewers. But the services shouldn’t slap each others face just because they are/aren’t doing something.

  • FP

    Hm. I have some horrible crap lying around for which I would acccept $50. Witness these epic masterworks:

  • The “not getting paid but getting exposure” angle is overused and generally untrue. If that worked, why don’t we all just post on Craigslist and wait for the offers to pour in?


    Doing something for nothing for others is a sucker game in commerce.

  • You gotta be in it to win it!

  • Ouch.

    That was a bit too harsh, I think. You can always choose to not submit your film.

    Yeah, 50 dollars is virtually nothing nowadays. But, at the same time, Frederator didn´t have any obligations of even putting up a weekly cartoon broadcast. It´s not like their milking free ideas out of this stuff – like the Aniboom+Fox thing that happened a while ago. And it´s not like they keep the rights to your film. They´re just offering another outlet for people to show their work online, not unlike Youtube or Vimeo.

    Sure, any money our way is welcome. But the bottomline is you have to choose what you want to do with your personal work.

    I did get a free 21-inch Cintiq tablet from Frederator last year, just from making a silly little Flash film. That was nice.

  • I also think, ultimately, what both Channel Frederator and Cartoon Brew TV are doing is great for film makers, as far as we’re concerned any way to get your stuff out to a global audience is fine by us, especially since we’re all the way down in little ol’ New Zealand!

    Personally the team at Channel Frederator have been a HUGE supporter of Mukpuddy and the stuff we’ve been putting out for years now, they’ve showcased us a lot over there and, most definitely exposed our work to a lot of people that wouldn’t have found it otherwise and it’s something we’re massively grateful for!

    But at the same time we’re emailing Chan Fred about something new we’ve made, we’re also emailing you guys and get no love at all. It feels too clicky!

    Basically, we feel you shouldn’t be pointing fingers when you guys are far from perfect! This used to be a site where the love of animation was shared and now it’s a place where people just get thrown to the wolves!

  • so whats the deal.

    does frederator normally own the rights to your stuff? Is the cartoonbrew tv a nonexclusive contract? who owns what? $50 is chump change.

    Know what i say. I say make your own films put them on free sites like youtube and if they are good they will get noticed.

    Also. everyone is so concerned with impressing the fanboys and industry peeps but no one is really trying to get animation out to a mass audience (where it should be). last time i checked a good majority of cartoonbrew/frederators visitors are animation nerds etc.

    I’m really getting tired of this mentality. Indepedently produced animation should go far beyond the criticisms of some repressed group of artists who need something to bash/discuss/undermine/analyze on a daily basis. No offense but the average person on the street is not gonna know about cartoon brew or what plays on CBTV, but they will probably know about viral videos on youtube/vimeo etc.

  • amid

    Dapper Jim – Frederator wants you to believe they can give you exposure because they don’t offer anything else. The truth is that Channel Frederator rarely makes a third party’s animated short go viral on the Internet. On Cartoon Brew, our links to YouTube and Vimeo videos routinely make them go viral. This particular film on Vimeo had a little over 1000 views after three months of being online. Our link to it made it go viral and shoot up to over 140k views. This film had under a 100 views when we posted it, now it’s over 37k in the past couple weeks. Also important is who’s watching a film. When we post something on Brew or Brew TV, you can be sure that people in high places will see the film because of our curatorial standards. I’ve been told many times about how somebody got a job offer or a directing project because of a plug on Brew or Brew TV.

    One other point of yours to address: There’s no bitterness involved in this. In fact, we don’t even really compete. We’ve never lost a film to Frederator that we’ve wanted to put on Brew TV because filmmakers already understand the best option. But I warn people about inappropriate contests, scams, and poor business practices all the time, and I’ll continue to do so as long as people like Fred prey on the young newcomers to our industry.

  • indie guy

    Amid, I think what you’re saying is very true. I really don’t bother with sites like Frederator b/c the level of quality is barely distinguishable from what’s readily available on YouTube and the like.

    A major job of a site like Cartoon Brew or Frederator is to be an aggregator (or as you said, curator) of content for its audience. You’re doing a great job of that here. You may not have millions of dollars backing you, but you’re heading in the right direction with what seem to be pure motives and high standards. I would love it if you had a channel with quality new episodes each week, but appreciate that you’re moving forward as your finances allow. I would rather see that than, more content at a lower quality with lower return to the artists.

    I also want to echo David above your post in saying that animators need to think outside the incestuous animation box.

  • Agreed with the nice folks over at mukpuddy.

  • Robiscus

    Years ago I submitted a film to a Frederator contest and they selected it for broadcast on the Nicktoons Network. It was a shorts program with the best works that were submitted broadcast in a prime time slot. They even used clips of my short in the commercial for the show.
    I never got a dime – oh wait, he sent me a book for free. A book about how to produce a CGI cartoon(I’m a traditional animator).
    I often look back and wondered why the hell I bothered. But maybe the book was worth more than $50…

  • Grey

    I like and agree with most of what you said, Amid.

    My one question would be if an animator submitted a film to BrewTV and was not selected where else should they send it in order to get exposure and maybe money too, if not Frederator?

    I have not submitted to either, so I don’t have a horse in this race at the moment, but I’m just wondering where else you might suggest. You said BrewTV has certain standards, which by all means it should have. But if something falls short of your standards what would be the next level down you might suggest to all the animators out there?

    Love the blog and everything you and Jerry do for animation. Keep up the great work.

  • Tom D

    I’ve said it before, and I hope I can say it forever. The Cartoon Brew is the angry conscience of the animation industry.

  • Happily un-opinionated

    Just put your stuff out there, YouTube is great, you don’t have to go through an Amid Amidi or Fred Seibert filter to get your stuff on there.

  • So basically what you seem to be saying, Amid, is that Cartoon Brew TV makes videos go viral and can get cartoonists jobs, while Channel Frederator gives you a meaningless amount of money and little exposure. Every time there is a possibility for someone to get some money by animating and distributing it through the internet, you guys brand it as a scam.
    And who are you to talk about “self congratulatory blog posts”? That’s what most of this article is. Seriously, if you just wanted to talk about how Cartoon Brew TV is the only thing people should try to submit their cartoons to, you could have left Channel Frederator or anyone else out of it.

  • amy

    i’ll make ’em a film if they give me a free 21-inch cintiq!!

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone read the terms of use on Frederators site. You should read them the fine print is preposterous. You’ll never ever make any money in royalty’s it’s a one time fee only. Anyways like the cartoonbrewers already posted it’s a scam! Tom Green got ONE MILLION dollars in Freddy Got Fingered we get a measly 200 if it’s good and 50 dollars if it’s nice from Frederator. You have more chance getting some cash from festivals if your films good. If youll send it into a few festivals these festivals will easily pay you more for it than this measly tip. Btw Sony Entertainment is an ass for buying it. They should dump these guys and find a good online partner who at least treats artists with some respect. Btw it’s not about Cartoonbrew guys an animator can earn that 200 dollars more easily anywhere than he can on frederator! Leave Amid and the guys out of it theye have a point. A real one! Go read Frederators terms of use for the shorts and find out yourself. It’s a frigging scam.

  • Obo

    Just put your stuff onto multiple websites. Why is this a big deal?

  • Film maker

    I applaud you Amid for even bringing this up. $50 is insulting period. These people talking on here probably never even made their own films and probably still also live at home with mom and dad.

    In the real world people have to go to their shitty jobs just to make ends meet and then work on their films when they get home. Those folks over at Frederator have LOTS of money, with over-paid lawyers
    by their side. True, it’s a start but not much of one. I am young but not I’m stupid enough to give my work away for coffee money.

    But I warn people about inappropriate contests, scams, and poor business practices all the time, and I’ll continue to do so as long as people like Fred prey on the young newcomers to our industry.

    This it what it comes down to folks, this is what Amid is saying. He doesn’t want to hear anymore stories of people getting ripped of by greedy corporate suit and ties who have the money.

    One day the people will speak and the artist will be back in control, until then you can suck it Frederator.

  • yvette kaplan

    Oh dear, Amid, I really think this post was unnecessary and unnecessarily harsh. I’m distressed at any character bashing and think this is not at all a good face to put on Cartoon Brew. And frankly, it sounds childish and petty and “thou doth protest too much.” Please calm down.

    And on top of that– I disagree with you. Fred’s far from the villain you make him out to be. Fred Seibert and Frederator have been promoting animation and giving exposure to new artists for a long time. He doesn’t “prey” on anyone. He offers opportunities. I know because he’s offered them to me. I only wish I had taken him up on more of them. Channel Frederator is just one venture, and from what I know about the web, not at all a bad place to put a film out there. Let’s face it, $50 or some other figure, no one is gonna get rich from having their short on the web. But from the exposure? It’s happened. And of course I’m glad that Cartoon Brew is doing it too. Let the audience grow, let the art blossom. The more places a new young voice can be heard and seen, the better. You of all people should know that.

  • Tim Drage

    and was not selected where else should they send it in order to get exposure and maybe money too, if not Frederator?
    Put it on Youtube and all other video sites and promote it online and make it and your other video popular enough to get pro Youtube account with ad revenues etc… Self-publish a nice DVD and sell online…

    Or in most cases just stick it online, forget about it and get on with a better film which WILL be popular enough to end up making you some money and/or getting accepted by the Brew.

  • So basically, as a film maker, if I wanted to have my short on Cartoon Brew TV, I can’t have it on Frederator too, and vice versa? Why exactly is that? Personally, I would think someone would throw their hard work in as many places as possible, and if he/she gets some money from it, fantastic. The entire goal of doing a film is to tell a story and get it into as many hands as possible, and hopefully get an offer for employment or two from it.

    I’m personally sick of all the arguing back and forth over who’s doing it better than who. Just do your thing, do what’s best for YOU.

  • Angry Anim

    I’m with Amy.

  • “Film maker” (sic): I don’t think anyone is insane enough to try to make a living by producing short films and getting paid by either Cartoon Brew or Frederator. Oh, the madness.

    And I think it would only consist as a “scam” if they were offering something they couldn’t give, or flat out lying to you. In Frederator’s case, they’re being pretty clear about it: send a film, get 50 bucks. Yes, 50 bucks is nothing. But I don’t think that would qualify as a “scam” in the dictionary sense. (Unlike Fox’s competition – total scam).

  • independent

    Yvette, did you read the post from Robiscus? I’m guessing the opportunities you were offered by Fred were a better deal than what’s being offered up for this one time fee to have the “privilege” of being on the Frederator Channel.

    I suppose many of the “new young voices” you’re talking about may not be savvy enough to think to read the “Terms of Use”, but they are incredible, unthinkable, unconscionable, and unethical in my book. And they’re written to make possible exactly the situation described by Robiscus. Look at what they’re requiring you to give them for $50:

    worldwide, ROYALTY-FREE, SUBLICENSABLE, PERPETUAL and irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, prepare derivative works based on, perform, display, publish, distribute, transmit, stream, broadcast and otherwise exploit such User Submission in ANY FORM, MEDIUM or TECHNOLOGY now known or later developed, including WITHOUT LIMITATION on the Site and third party websites, podcast, video game consoles and services, video-on-demand and TELEVISION.

    WE SHALL OWN all right, title and interest in and to all DERIVATIVE WORKS and COMPILATIONS of User Submissions that are created by us, including without limitation all worldwide intellectual property rights therein. You agree to execute and deliver such documents and provide all assistance reasonably requested by us, at our expense, to give us the full benefit of this section.

    So, if they make a “Best of” DVD and sell it, or cut a deal with a major network to show the work you are guaranteed…NOTHING! And you seriously think that young artists should just be happy with the exposure that might bring?

    For $50, I could see someone giving a limited license for the online channel only or something.

    I thought it was kind of funny when I saw the $50 offer for videos. I didn’t pay much attention. But now, reading the terms, I’m incensed. It’s outrageous and insulting.

  • I don’t think Amid is being too harsh. If anything he’s being restrained. What Channel Frederator offers is an insult to animated filmmakers. Without any suckers they’d have no content. What does exposure mean if it doesn’t get you work or paid? In the real world you need money in order to make a living. As an illustrator I make more than $200 for a piece that only takes a few hours to create. I can’t imagine getting paid $50 for something that probably takes weeks if not months of hard work to create. Some people enjoy the abuse I suppose.

  • Jim

    Besides CartoonBrewTV, does Cartoon Brew give each filmmaker >$50 when they feature an embedded film in the daily stream? You don’t? Why *not*?! Are you some kind of “huckster exploiting the talent pool” for your own prosperity, or something?

    No. Not really. You do your best to build a popular and informative Web site & business for yourself. Capitalism at work. Folks have films that they want to be seen and you sometimes feature them. Win/win.

    So, explain to me why Frederator’s practice is such an outrage to you. How is it so very different than Cartoon Brew’s daily stream? (Other than the fact that they’re now paying out a little som’n-som’n and I presume you’re not.)

    You’d have a story here if you could demonstrate that Frederator is getting filthy rich via genuine exploitation that amounts to theft or extortion or monopoly or indentured-servitude or something more sinister than trying to leverage a commodity that’s (sadly) being mostly given away for free.

    I understand. It’s sad that it’s hard for artists (of any sort) to make a living. But taking a swing at Frederator doesn’t help anything. And the tone of your post doesn’t elevate the animation conversation.

    It seems to me that this is simply one arm of Frederator’s promotion & outreach & growth plan, and it’s focused around the seething mass of fledgling artisans who are excited to promote themselves. But anyone who opts to abstain and seek out a better deal for their work can certainly do that! (In fact they can have their 50-dollar cake and eat it, too.)

    This post of yours reads like one of two used-car lots talking trash about the other guy so folks’ll buy a car from them instead.

  • independent

    Jim, what you’re talking about is wildly different. When Amid or Jerry embed a clip on this site, the filmmaker

    A) has posted the video somewhere knowing, probably even hoping that it will be embedded and shared in such a manner

    B) gives them no contractual rights and takes on no contractual obligations

    People who give up their videos to Frederator for $50 are giving a license that is PERPETUAL, IRREVOCABLE, WORLDWIDE, and SUBLICENSABLE. Do people here not know what that means? I don’t get it.

    So what if it’s non-exclusive? It sounds almost silly to mention that. What sane and professional person would give an exclusive license for $50?

    The picture some of you (and Frederator) are painting is really a bit simplistic. It’s not just “$50 to show your video on our weekly stream”. It’s very important to consider the terms of the agreement you’re accepting for that $50.

  • amid

    Independent: I hadn’t realized that they were also taking TV and home video rights. That’s ridiculous.

  • independent

    The terms can be found here:

    Doesn’t seem to be up-to-date since there’s no mention of the $50 or any other financial compensation…so you mean people were giving up this license for free before!? I can only believe that they didn’t know it and didn’t read these terms.

    At the bottom of the page is this:
    Always Room for Improvement
    If you have ideas for how to improve these Terms of Use, please share them with us. Our user community is always changing and the Terms of Use should evolve as appropriate to accommodate the community.

    At least they recognize the possibility that there’s room for improvement! I would recommend that people that are actually interested in conducting business w/ Frederator and giving them your animation, take them up on this. Suggest new language that gives more respect/compensation to creators. If people refused to contribute under these terms, and demanded something a little more reasonable, Frederator would have to accept or do without your content.

  • Dino

    Something tells me that lunch will be the last one Fred ever buys for Amid! ;)

  • Jim

    @independent: Indeed, the rights issue warrants scrutiny, and anyone who’d consider going the Frederator route should understand what’s at stake. As Amid’s recent comment illuminates, that wasn’t the original spark for his posting — but it’s an even more chilly bit of related information.

    Film festivals have similar-sounding terms of agreement allowing them to use edited segments of selected films for publicity purposes, and to cover their butt in case a filmmaker wants to withdraw their film too late into the process of curating and promoting the festival. I think the agreement sometimes even secures rights for the festival to create and distribute DVD compilations of selected films or to post them online. There’s always an element of trust required when signing off on a legal agreement like that.

    Frederator’s agreement sounds even more pervasive, though. Their mention of owning worldwide intellectual property rights for derivative works created by them sounds *especially* ominous to me. ~~ Like they’re not just seeking films to distribute, but phishing for seed “properties” that they can own outright and develop. With full rights purchased for just $50. (?!?) Yipe!

  • amid

    Jim: Just as a sidenote to your spot-on comment, it’s also important to recognize what the purpose of each organization is. Film festivals sometimes have similar sounding agreements , but that is only to protect themselves. An organization like the Ottawa Film Festival has a track record of 30+years of promoting the art and not being a business. In fact, they subsist mostly on government funds and corporate sponsorship, not on profits they make from other people’s films.

    On the other hand, Channel Frederator is run by Next New Networks, a corporation with at least $20 million in funding, and whose sole purpose is to make that money back and then some. They’re doing that by acquiring properties for cheap and then finding ways to exploit those properties across different streams of distribution. They can claim that they’re not making money from Channel Frederator, but the end game is to eventually find a way to do so, and when they do, you can bet the only people left out in the cold will be the filmmakers who gave away their work for free (or almost free).

  • To be honest I am having a hard time sharing in the rage of this. The reason is Fred isn’t asking for ownership:

    “you hereby grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, prepare derivative works based on, perform, display, publish, distribute, transmit, stream, broadcast and otherwise exploit”

    That means you still own it, you just grant Frederator the right to use it as they want. I agree that $50 is low and $200 for the best is also low. It should be more like $200 per film and $1000 for best of the week. As far as cost control, if they had better quality control over there I think that they would control cost. I stopped watching the podcast over 2 years ago because I found myself skipping half the shorts.

    My film “I Am” is nothing great, it was a student film, but selling similar rights to Atom Films for about a year got me $1500. Atom was so successful that Comedy Central/Viacom bought them out. My film was nixed but I did make back what I put into it.

    Non-exclusive contracts are what they say, non-exclusive. If you are an indy filmmaker and relying on one outlet to show your film and make back some $$ then you should make at least what it cost, PLUS YOUR HOURLY RATE!! That fact always irks me on sites with indy artists they always sell themselves short, if people just started reporting the true value of their work we would all do better and all get respect from these outlets.

  • Hulk

    Frankly- anyone who enters any kind of distribution deal with any company without HIRING A LAWYER TO LOOK AT THE CONTRACT FIRST, is an idiot and deserves to get rooked.

    I take it many of these young artists are in LA. This city is lousy with Entertainment lawyers who will work for cheap and do it quickly.

    If these young artists can’t afford a lawyer’s fees, most of the lawyers take credit cards and/or are willing to work something out. I know because I’ve been in that situation and I’ve talked with them.

    If you really really can’t afford a lawyer- even on a credit card there are still other options. You can go to legal You can write out a list of terms for THEM to sign. You can ask a friend or a law student to look at it for your for free. There is always SOMETHING you can do. You don’t have to take this lying down. You don’t even have to go for it at all if you don’t want to.

    My point is: Frederator is getting away with this because they CAN. You guys who complain now, remind me of the nerdy guys in highschool being jealous of the jocks for getting all the girls. Don’t hate them. They are just using the power they have to their own advantage.

    Yeah it sucks and it’s shitty of Frederator to treat the artists this way. I expected better from them too. But if the artists didn’t cover their own asses first, they can’t expect anyone else to.

  • akira

    haha, yeah we’re going to hire a lawyer to handle something which pays fifty bucks??

  • amid

    Hulk: In an ideal world, every young artist would have access to a lawyer, but the truth is that few students have easy access or money for lawyers. Thankfully, most film license contracts are done in standard legalese, and if you understand a few basic concepts, you should be able to protect yourself. I’m currently working on a project addressing this very issue. Hopefully I can unveil it in the next couple months.

  • Avi


    First off, I find the character assassination of Fred Seibert and Frederator in your post, and the comments below, to be outrageous. Remember that Channel Frederator (CF) is a podcast owned, not by Frederator, but by Next New Networks (NNN). NNN is a company where Fred is one of six founders. So, not all decisions begin and end with him. Now, factor in that the company has investors to answer to as well. You have no idea how much Fred himself wanted to pay, therefore it is completely off base to say that Fred is the ultimate evil. Especially, considering his track record as a champion of independent animators and filmmakers.

    Secondly, NNN has ten other networks aside from Channel Frederator. If what Amid says is true, that CF is not making any money after four years of operation, what would you expect them to pay? Obviously, they’re not going to start shoveling their money out the door. From any business standpoint, that makes no sense. What I find interesting is that people are getting riled up about being asked to submit films that they’ve already made; most likely with no intention of making a profit, and in turn getting $50, or possibly, $200. Not to mention, the amount of people that will see it as a result. (CF has over 21,000 subscribers on YouTube, with their new format, whatever cartoon they choose will be front and center) Frankly, I don’t think there’s any real way for them to do this on a weekly basis, with anything but a flat fee. Just consider how expensive it would be to negotiate a contract, with each and every filmmaker who’s film gets run. Not just for them, but for the filmmaker as well! Running a weekly podcast, there’s no time for 6 months of legal documents to go back and forth. Calm down the egos a bit, and remember that not every one of us is Brad Bird. What would they do when each filmmaker is demanding $5000 for their film? That $10 million in funding, for a site that is allegedly making no money, would disappear real fast. (Then imagine when some “awful Flash film” runs that got a great deal, can you hear the anger?)

    Lastly, I want to address the legal terms. I recently remember fears over a similarly worded contract for the Nickelodeon Animation Festival. People were worried that their films and creations were going to be taken away from them by Nickelodeon and mass-produced without them seeing a dime. Had they read the fine print, and not automatically spun it in a negative direction, they would’ve seen what was actually written. These clauses are put in, so that when they run commercials with your short, you can’t sue them if you don’t win. Or if a similar show appears on the network the next year, you can’t sue them because you think they stole your idea, and so on. Just like with pitching a show, people need to stop always worrying that the big bad corporation is out to get them. In the four years of Channel Frederator’s operation, have they taken anyone’s work, without their involvement, and made money off it? No. In fact, I can point to a number of cases where the work was liked so much, that they HIRED the person who made it to produce work for them. One such case is Dan Meth. Another is Alan Dye. If they’re going to take your idea, they might as well hire you! They need someone to make it, right? Look in their own fine print (the relevant text is in uppercase): We shall own all right, title and interest in and to all derivative works and compilations of User Submissions that are CREATED BY US, including without limitation all worldwide intellectual property rights therein. You agree to execute and deliver such documents and provide all assistance reasonably requested by us, AT OUR EXPENSE, to give us the full benefit of this section.

    Frankly, it’s a standard contract in the industry, and furthermore it’s nothing to get excited and worried about. This is a new thing Channel Frederator/Next New Networks is trying, and if it starts getting CF money, maybe they’ll in turn pass more of that on to the filmmakers as well.

  • Film maker

    “I don’t think anyone is insane enough to try to make a living by producing short films”

    Pedro, tell that to Bill Plympton, dude. You can make money at it, and if you don’t believe in such things you shouldn’t even be on this blog.

  • Film maker

    However Pedro your blogspot is pretty cool. Good drawings, just don’t sell anything to Channel Frederator nor should anyone else.

  • Hulk

    Akira- That’s the point. You’d want a lawyer to help you get more than 50 bucks out of it.

    Amid- I totally get what you’re saying and you’re right BUT in Los Angeles, you can stand on a street corner and throw a rock and you’ll probably hit an Entertainment Lawyer… or a starbucks or an acting class but I digress. You’re right: most lawyers are not cheap and most students can’t afford them but many of these lawyers are also young and just starting out and are willing to do it for deferred pay, an exchange of some kind or for free if you’re really really nice to them. I know because I’ve dealt with one or two of those myself.
    You also said that a lot of these are student films. That’s good news because many schools such as Cal Arts have legal services for the students that are included with the price of tuition. I say that it’s always better to have another pair of eyes (that you trust) look at the contract before you sign it. I look forward to seeing your project that deals with this subject.

  • Obo

    From what I see, the only argument against frederator, is that there is a possibility that one animated short will become extremely popular and make NNN money. I don’t see a problem with this as an animator. You still own the creation, and every animator i have seen that risen in popularity due to frederator is better off now than they were before.

  • Robiscus

    “If what Amid says is true, that CF is not making any money after four years of operation, what would you expect them to pay?”

    Well, Sony is paying Fred Seibert to develop content. I’m not an entertainment executive, but I would think the best of the best(the most viewed/most popular) should probably be rewarded in dollar amounts that are greater than an average dinner tab. I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough to know that if the terms of the deal are not released to the press, then its is definitely a lucrative deal. Now we see that on one level at least, it is lucrative for an executive alone with no rewards for creative people like animators.

    Look, new media is power. Its power to everyone who isn’t a hollywood executive. Wield it wisely. You can put your films online yourself – without a dinosaur like Fred Seibert trying to get a piggyback to a fat paycheck(or high internet traffic at his site) by hitching his tired wagon to your rising star. The days of guys like him are GONE. Amid’s point is that you don’t need him. Hulk astutely points out above that you can’t swing a dead cat in Los Angeles without hitting a competent manager or entertainment lawyer, and Fred isn’t going to help you make a better film, he is an executive and not a creative talent. Jerry Beck pointed out that much in the last post about Frederator. Which all begs the question, for $50 or $200 why the hell do you need him?
    Allow me to answer that: You don’t.

    In all of the comments in here (and they are all by and large insightful and perceptive) there isn’t a single compelling argument as to why you need Frederator or their lowball deal. We’ve all been given the online platform for our work. Don’t let a desperate executive from days gone by try and sell you on the idea that he can do for you what no one else can online. Amid is asking everyone to step back and look at the possibilities we all have in our grasp and reconsider deals offered. Amid is doing the entire animation community a great service.

    “Secondly, NNN has ten other networks aside from Channel Frederator.”

    So what? Fred Seibert created NNN. At least thats what the Hollywood ‘bally hoo’ article states as fact.

  • Some guy

    I knew about Frederator being a scam since school.

    Fred came to our (senior) class. He was very impolite and disrespectful! He was mostly complaining about his army of interns, you know, the ones who work for no pay hoping they’ll get hired someday! Then he said ” why would I pay an intern. [email protected]$&! them!”

    then he announced that he’s looking for interns…

    The sad thing is, some of his interns are not even students anymore. He doesn’t think he has to pay…
    I will never submit my hard work to a joke like him.

  • Ad

    Hey Amid, would anyone really fall for this? Selling off all your rights of an animation for $50? Just because an animator is young wouldn’t mean they would be naive.

  • independent

    Avi: “Frankly, it’s a standard contract in the industry, and furthermore it’s nothing to get excited and worried about.”

    This is flat out false. First, is there really such a thing as a standard contract? Things like an indemnity clause are standard, yes. But the amount of rights given with a license varies widely. I’ve seen several contracts from distributors and this one takes an extraordinary amount of rights with the license without any limitation in terms of length of the license (its perpetual) AND with no royalties, etc. in the event that Channel Frederator sublicenses or sells the work.

    It’s ludicrous that there are animators defending Frederator when they are nearly spitting in your face. Does the animator still own their work? Yes. But they’ve given Frederator nearly the fullest amount of rights possible shy of owning the work when they agree to this contract. Why do that for a one time fee of $50? You would have to have bad business sense or be very naive. I guess this finally explains to me why the vast majority of content on that site is so amateur.

  • Film maker:
    thanks for compliments. I appreciate it.

    About my previous comment, though, you should´ve ready my whole sentence, which said:

    “I don’t think anyone is insane enough to try to make a living by producing short films and getting paid by either Cartoon Brew or Frederator”

    I mean making a living by whatever handouts CF or CB are giving. That would be insane. I do believe, though, you can make a living producing shorts. I know of lots of animators who do. Although most of them, occasionally, do dabble into commercial work for some extra cash. Which is fine by me.

  • Avi

    Unfortunately, you are wrong here. If you look at YouTube’s Terms of Use, the section on User Submissions is identical. Same type of agreement can be found on Dailymotion, Aniboom, Vimeo and just about any video site you can think of. Last time I checked, you get no monetary compensation from these sites. Unless you produce a consistent stream of videos, which in turn – gasp! – makes them money. (Money that can be used, for them to keep running their extremely costly free service) But now, don’t forget, if you don’t produce constant videos, then you won’t get a dime.

    So, unless you’re saying that animators/filmmakers should not post their films anywhere online, but on their own personal websites and Cartoon Brew. This is not as horrible as you’re making it out to be.

  • independent

    Avi, by way of example, here are a few very important lines from the Vimeo agreement (didn’t take the time to read through the others)

    license is: revocable upon removing the video from Vimeo

    and: Vimeo will not use your videos for any other commercial purposes without obtaining your prior approval.

    and: When you remove or otherwise delete a video from the Services, the licenses granted by you to VIMEO and the Vimeo Site users shall terminate within a commercially reasonable time.

    Very different from Frederator.

  • This isn’t even worth talking about.

    50 bucks, two hundred bucks; he’s fucking around; trying to see how low you can go.

    How low can you go?

  • Avi

    Independent: You have a point there, but then again, there is also one thing that differentiates Vimeo from all the other sites I mentioned. Vimeo has no model in place for you to make money from their service. The only thing on Vimeo that involves money, is you paying them for a Vimeo Plus account, if you so wish to have one.

    Aside from that, the first site you should be looking at is YouTube. That is the site everyone goes to, and thus is the one that sets the rules. Vimeo is primarily a filmmakers/artists community (that’s actually what they promote themselves as).

    One thing to remember about Channel Frederator, is that they do not only distribute their show through their own website. They distribute it through iTunes, YouTube and a whole slew of other video sites. Therefore, Channel Frederator’s terms have to include the terms of all those sites as well. If you could, you should look at YouTube’s terms and Channel Frederator’s terms side by side. You will see that they are almost identical.

  • independent

    Except that you’re wrong AGAIN Avi. Youtube has similar language that doesn’t make the license perpetual. The contributor has control and can remove and therefore end the contract at any time. Frederator gets the deal for eternity. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    If Frederator is distributed through all these different channels you mention, and has to be more liberal with the license so as to meet their needs, then Frederator should be giving more back to its contributors to account for that.


    Re: Vimeo. Your point holds no water. Frederator positions themselves in a similar way (animation filmmakers/artists community):

    “It is programmed not by some knock-kneed network executive who thinks she can dictate what cartoons you want to see. It’s programmed by YOU, by the members of the cartoon-making tribe. You create stuff, we put it on. Simple as that. Channel Frederator isn’t just another place for animation on the web. It is THE place on the web where the cartoon tribe can meet and show the world their work, and talk to each other.”

  • amid

    Independent: Thanks for sticking around and clarifying the facts for those who haven’t bothered to learn the issues and are unintentionally misinforming people. If more filmmakers were educated about the issues like yourself, places like Channel Frederator wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

  • Why is it always like this? It seems like each time a site decides to flow against the “GIVE US YOUR FILM FOR FREE, JERK” river of media sites, they either find a way to screw it up right off the bat, or they wait a few months and change their terms and conditions to ensure any filmmakers only make a few cents.
    The internet has so many friggin people on it. Why are there nearly no honest ones.
    Sickens me.

  • You guys should read Mark Mayerson’s comments, which is probably the best response to this blog post I have ever read.

  • Robiscus

    Mark Mayerson’s comments miss an important factor in all of this – the possible ramifications of attaching YOUR film to another person’s website. What Channel Frederator wants is to attach their name to quality content. They will review the submissions and post what they feel is the best, and the best of the best will get rewarded for being posted there and attached to their name.
    That goes both ways.

    And that is why they should be paying more. Lets pretend that a bunch of guys right out of school rip off a cartoon from somewhere else by mimicking the direction, or story, or both. I wouldn’t expect Channel Frederator to catch it as they aren’t cross referencing cartoon submissions with every library available. They are just looking for what jumps out at them. .. but someone will catch it. It will probably be made a big deal of on the ol’ internet and the film of yours that is on the Frederator site?

    Well, you just might be wondering why in the hell you didn’t post it somewhere else. You’ll be thinking that thought when someone says to you “Oh yeah, I saw this short on that Frederator site that had all of the plagiarism problems”

    Then you’ll be wondering why you didn’t post it on your own blog, website, or multi purpose video hosting service like Youtube.
    You are getting paid to attach your film to someone you have no control over – and the money doesn’t measure up to the risk.

  • Very provocative post Amid. (You should definitely post Mark Mayerson’s article for people that haven’t read the informative thread here)

    I’d like to see more posts specific to animation in a Web 2.0 world. Exploring emerging animation business models is so much more pertinent now than a review of the latest animated blockbuster. So few animated forums are sharing their findings about new media.

    At the dawn of television, so may vaudevillians didn’t make the leap to TV. Those that blazed that trail became legends amidst a climate of so much creative and business skepticism.

    In a similar way, all the rules are different now. Animators that follow the writings of Chris Anderson and Seth Godin etc. while inventing their own paths will be the legends of tomorrow.

    Thanks again for kicking the beehive and getting people thinking about online animation.

  • Despite everything that’s been said here, CF’s deal to the independents is still a smite better than a contest where the only prize an animator gets is “exposure” on a “major network” and nothing further, especially in the way of dollar compensation.

  • Wow. Been absent from this conversation because I always figured any intelligent creator who has seen the Frederator contract would implicitly understand how bizarre and wretched the terms are.

    “Gimme 50 bucks and I’ll give you the intellectual property rights to my short film and it’s contents in perpetuity in all forms of media”

    You’d have to have a film you really didn’t believe in to make this deal. It is not standard and it is not defensible. Frederator is offering a poor deal and I think that is clear.

  • amid

    Avi: It was brought to my attention that you worked at Frederator and NNN for two years. Our posting rules clearly state that any professional and personal relationships should be disclosed, and especially so in this case when you’re one of the few people defending policies that are clearly not in favor of filmmakers.

  • Avi

    Amid: Sorry about that, I was unaware that I had to disclose my relationship with either company. I didn’t mean to deceive anyone, it was entirely unintentional.