What does an Animation Producer do?

G. Wiesen

An animation producer is someone who takes on the role of producer for an animated series or feature. As the producer, this person will usually act as the line of communication and filtration of ideas between the executives who run a studio and the creative people who are actually making the animated product. In this capacity, the animation producer must be able to control the costs of an animated production to keep the executives above him or her happy, while also ensuring that the creative animators and artists working under him or her are able to make the feature or series they are working toward. Ultimately, as the title suggests, it is the producer’s job to ensure that a final product is actually produced.

An animation producer may be responsible for managing creative animators and artists.
An animation producer may be responsible for managing creative animators and artists.

The animation producer can often be seen as “the bad guy” by the artists working on a feature or series. This is because he or she is usually the highest ranking person on a production who will be readily available and accessible to the rest of the crew. When anything goes wrong on a production, such as meals not being ordered properly or supplies not being restocked in a timely manner, the person who is often available to the artists for blame and complaint is the producer.

An animation producer is responsible for discussing any problems or budgetary issues with studio executives.
An animation producer is responsible for discussing any problems or budgetary issues with studio executives.

On the other side of the production, however, the animation producer is also the person who will be discussing any problems or budgetary issues with the executives who run the studio. This means that any issues coming down from those in charge will ultimately end up on the producer. If the feature or series is coming in late or over budget, it is the producer who will be directly blamed for that and whose job will be on the line if the issue is not corrected.

For all these efforts, the animation producer is typically well-paid. He or she usually making an executive’s salary, not an artist’s pay. This higher pay, however, is meant to compensate the producer for the amount of stress and pressure that he or she will usually have to deal with.

An animation producer’s job is typically more about managing people, time, and money than performing any sort of artistic tasks. The producer might want some knowledge of animation since it may be important to understand certain aspects of the creative process to manage those working in an artistic field. This does not mean that the producer has to learn to be an animator, however, only know enough to properly orchestrate the talent.

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Discussion Comments


It often helps if you are more concerned about money than anything else in the universe and have a penchant for backstabbing and throwing artists under a bus with no qualms. Unrealistic time management skills and often nepotism also go a long way towards achieving success in this role.

You won't be doing anything art related. You will stand behind the people doing the work asking them if they are done yet while butt kissing clients who are too cheap to pay for what they ask for. Being smarmy while considering yourself charming while talking to executives and clients is also a bonus. If this sounds like its the job for you, you might want to consider becoming an animation producer.

The role of animation produced has changed a lot since the original Disney movies were produced. The affect of cartoon animation software cannot be overstated.

I will not say that it is not art, but it is something completely different. Using pen and ink is nothing like using a stylus or a mouse. I think all the new possibilities are amazing. But I can't help but feel like something has been lost.

I love to draw, but I know that I will never be able to be a top flight animator. I have been thinking more and more about trying to position myself to be an animation producer.

What kind of skills and experience do I need to get a job like this? If I work as a producer will I be doing any of the drawing myself or just supervising animators?

I worked as an animator for a while in the 80s and 90s and there are some animation producers who I swear were sent by the devil. They either want too much too quickly, or they want to dumb down your work, or make huge nonsensical cuts. I could tell you guys a dozen stories that would drop your jaw, especially if you know anything about the animation biz.

But I also met some really amazing people that cared a lot about the stories they told and the art they used. That makes me realize that the bad ones were not just stressed out. They just did not respect the animation enough.

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