Frequently Asked Questions
What you want to know about our custom animation services.
What do your custom animation services include?
If your project matches our studio values, then we can create your video from script to final edit, always considering your opinion and must-haves. We usually set review points for the storyboard, design approval, and final animation check.
However, note that we don't have an in-house audio team. If you do not provide the audio, we will subcontract it.
In more detail, we provide: the team's recruiting, directing, script, storyboard, character designs, background art, digital animations, compositing, video editing, and, to some degree, marketing. In this article you'll find what each step involves.
What are the values all your projects must fit into?
Whether we are working on original pieces or a commission, all projects we work on have to be within our values:
1. All stories contain life-changing messages.
2. No use of filler content to prolong the story.
3. Stories don’t support gambling, smoking, drugs, homophobia, racism, or war.
4. We push into developing environmentally friendly creative processes.
5. High importance on publishing content that meets deadlines and set expectations.
Do you only create animated music videos?
No. We do love animated music videos, but we are open to commissions for other animated projects. Actually, we have experience in a variety of animated video formats but we can't show them because some are just not released yet, or are not open to the public for free.
We are also open to work that includes only one of our specialties. So if, for example, you just need a storyboard, you can choose to only have a storyboard made. Or if have all the team to create an animated short film except the animators, we could help recruit and manage that department specifically.
Can you work with other teams?
Yes. The studio director, Mar, usually assembles a team based on each project's needs. Most of our team members are regulars, while others might be new. Also, we usually handle work from script to final edited animation.
That said, we can do various parts of the process together with another team. For example, you may be working on a bigger production and only need a team of animators, a storyboard artist, or someone to help you contact and direct background artists.
The trickiest part is making sure our values and availability align. If those two things work, we are certainly open for collaboration with other teams.
Can I commission your comic work?
Probably not. Right now, all our current comics are originals, and we are only actively looking for animated commissions.
We could take into consideration shorter stories. That means a few strips or 1 volume, not a full saga. If the project fits our values and availability, we could consider helping in specific parts of the process too, such as offering storyboarding or coloring services. Again, if it is a short project.
Timing and Prices
Will you animate my project and share the costs?
Do you accept post-release payments?
Do you accept post-release payments?
No. At the moment, all production work with people outside of our team has to be funded by the client before and during production. Consider you are hiring us as freelancers.
When working at our own expense, we create originals and self-initiated projects.
What are the animation industry's standard prices?
20 minutes of animation at Japanese TV standards costs 250.000 USD (2020 numbers, private source inside the industry). That price does not include the opening/ending animated songs. That price includes the episode itself, from script to final editing for an episode of a series like My Hero Academia. However, some online numbers suggest that 100.000 USD per average anime episode can also be a reality. At the moment, we don't have reliable sources confirming the exact costs for a specific series episode. But I (Mar) wish high-quality series like Demon Slayer’s budget to be bigger than that last number, or else I am incredibly concerned for their staff.
An anime episode on Netflix costs 275.000 to 450.000 USD, as per a 2021 article in The Economist and other private sources seem to confirm.
If those average prices are a struggle for your project, you may also find smaller studios with skills to grow, studios in “low-cost locations”, or artists who want to bring themselves into the project (thus lower their fees or even work for free).
Note that at our studio we do not set prices based on an average minute of production. We prepare a quote tailored to your project's specific storyboard content, animation style, and design. That means there is room for level-ups, or simplifications, to adapt to your investment goals. The idea is to use creativity to let your project's core idea shine as much as possible.
How much does your animation work cost?
Every project's needs are different: the number of complex action cuts, complex character designs, a tight deadline, or having single or multiple background locations are just a few elements heavily affecting the production costs.
In this article, you can find different style factors that make an animation project simpler, or more complex.
We do not quote a fixed animation price per minute, but examine each project’s storyboard in detail and see how much will it cost to create. So showing a fixed average price on the website would be misleading if then your project requires a much higher or smaller investment.
However, that means that sometimes it takes time to create a quote because, first, a storyboard (complete or drafted) needs to be settled.
That storyboard is sometimes provided by the client but often I (Mar) will do it myself as a shorter commissioned work. It does take some time and money beforehand but it comes together with creative solutions, a quote, and the timeline for the next step: the actual animation production. Plus, it moves your project forward since that storyboard can later be used by any studio.
Contact us here so we can review your project and start preparing a proposal, whether it is for pre-production work (script, design, or storyboard) or the full animation production.
How long will it take for you to create X?
The complexity of animation, designs, and other elements affect deadlines heavily.
For example, a storyboard of a 20-minute anime-style series takes 3 to 6 weeks to be done and settled. That does not include the opening and ending credits, which can be much more or less complex than the episode content itself.
Crafting an animated 3-minute video from script to final animated video could easily take between four to ten months, so we must be creative in what matters most to you and create the best storyboard for your ideal release date.
If you are concerned about deadlines, please contact us as soon as you can. We also need to see how our availability aligns.
Are you available? Can I book you?
When you contact us through the animation enquiry form, we will discuss your project needs, budget, as well as our availability, to see if we can meet your ideal release timeframe.
We may start production right away, or wait a few months. It depends on how flexible your project is and what other commitments we may have at the moment.
In any case, there is one fixed payment done before the project starts. This non-refundable booking fee is part of the final price so you are not paying more in total. It is used to lock your project's time slot, making sure our team will be free for you as agreed.
How long do you take to reply?
Mar (studio director) reads direct messages, emails, and animation enquiry form answers on standard Japanese workdays. She usually replies within 48 hours.
Note that a quick reply does not mean your project can start right away. We first need to settle an agreement on who does what, by when, what is the storyboard, payments, and any other important part to ensure we will have the smoothest collaboration.
That phase can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but having everything clear before starting always pays off!
Which type of communication can I expect as a client?
We believe honest communication and clear expectations are the core of any professionally successful and fun project to work on. It will give you a feeling of safety that everything will be done as you imagined and on time, which helps to also produce creative results!
See our "9 rules for a great freelancer to client communication" in this article.
Which medium do you use to communicate with clients?
We are flexible. Usually, main conversations evolve through email or chat. Then, there are three key moments where video calls are more valuable:
First, at the beginning to know each other and set the right expectations. This usually includes talking about script ideas or reviewing the storyboard.
Second, we can do midpoint checks or reviews. This depends on the project length and its needs.
And lastly, a post-delivery call to gather your feedback and talk about needed revisions, or discuss release steps in terms of marketing.
Style and Content
Can you adapt to different visual styles?
Yes, to a degree.
At prior client's request, we have taken references from other artists such as "we want it to look like an 80's anime." Character designs "like Kare Kano and Ranma."
But note that to some level it won't be very far from the current style you see in Maru Exposito's productions. We have our own visual signature!
What genres do you do/won't do?
We don't have the same level of passion for all themes and content. And it would be a shame if you didn't get a completely motivated team.
Here is a vague list to guide you to see if we are the best fit. But please do not take this list as absolute truth with blacks and whites, nor as something that won't evolve over time!
Projects with these are more likely to catch our interest: Epic fantasy or adventure, romance, mythological creatures, royals, historical worlds and costumes, real-world locations, magic, animals, humans and humanoids, natural worlds, alchemists, sports, uniforms, cute aesthetics, comedy, family, anime/cartoony style...
Projects with these are less likely to be in our next release: Gore, highly technological or urban worlds, drugs, crime, crude violence, zombies, guns, reggae, jazz, soul, rap, curse words, robots, porn or sexual nudity, hyper-realistic designs...
Occasionally, a story has won us over even if it includes something we weren't initially looking for. Also, some types of content can outweigh others. So if you have doubts, just contact us.
What is your typical process and methods to create animated music videos?
These are the stages projects go through:
Proposal: We discuss the script, storyboard, project needs, references, and deadlines. In this phase, we need at least a demo and lyrics of the song. We will settle the proposal when we both agree to an animatic (video storyboard) where you can see the drafted visuals attached to your song. Here is an example of an animatic.
Pre-production: The director locks the necessary staff while we set the character design and test color moods for the entire production. We start getting an idea of what everything will look like.
Production: The studio creates animation and background art, from keyframes to coloring. All this work is done digitally, mostly hand-drawn. If you are extra curious, we have shared parts of our production process through live streams on our YouTube channel.
Post-production: We turn the sequential drawings into an actual animated video (this is called composition). Here, the final music file is needed since we need to match it together with the animated final video. At this stage, we also add effects or adapt colors if needed.
Delivery: You get to see the final video. Necessary changes can be requested by using your allotted "revision time," or pay us for more if you want to upscale things. Of course, if we made a clear mistake (like typos in some background text), that is on us! After changes are made, you receive the final video without the watermark.
Release: If requested, we will assist in marketing-related visuals providing high-quality stills or a video thumbnail.
What should I provide for you to create my music video?
Ultimately, we only need you to provide the final audio file to add to the video. But if that is in progress, a demo will work. Also, the lyrics in written format if there are any.
Regarding the script, design requirements, or content in general, we can take suggestions as well.
Mostly, we work with a concept, message, or even feelings. For example: "This song is about the importance of showing love to others consistently, and it needs a happy ending." Then, after listening to the song, we will bring you a suggestion. This process tends to bring the best results.
In a few cases, we have followed a strict idea from a musician regarding what they wanted to see.
I want you to produce an animated music video. What is the next step?
Contact us through the animation enquiry form so we may assess your project. If we are interested and it fits within our values, we will reach out to you with follow-up questions and reply to yours as well until the proposal is solid and we are ready to start!