We all agree it’s difficult to get motivated on a client project when you don’t believe the project will go anywhere. Sadly, we’ve all worked on projects that feel dead-end.
The same desire is true for personal projects. I’ve begun working on a short piece of animation myself, and I don’t want it to only sit on YouTube with a dozen views, before I label it a “failure” and delete it.
How to we give our passion projects life, once we’ve finished them?
I reached out to animator Raphael Vangelis who recommended Vimeo and Instagram as the best places for exposure.
“I think film festivals are not really a thing anymore” was his initial reply. When I asked for clarification he said “I mean it depends what your goal is. If you have a real gem you worked on for years film festivals are still probably the way to go” and “If your film is not a timeless classic Vimeo gives you instant exposure and feedback.”
This applies to the project I’m working on. Your work can receive exposure when Vimeo features your video as part of the “Staff Picks”.
Richard Barnett, a director at the animation company Trunk, had some insightful comments about personal projects.
“Why something gets a staff pick [on Vimeo] and why it doesn’t… doesn’t always have a reason. It’s based on personal opinions and luck,” he told me over the phone one day late last year.
Richard also gave me an insight into Trunk’s process for raising awareness of their finished projects. “At the end of each project we email out to all the magazines and blogs. A press release: what it’s about, who was involved, why it was made, etc.”
So, how does that apply to a small scale project that a freelancer or independent animator might pursue?
“You have to get joy from the Sending Out the Work to People.” Richard said. “You might get no reply. That’s fine. When your next project is done, send that to them, too. Eventually, your name will get out there.”