How to Hire a Freelance Animator

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential for your business to be able to grab people’s attention quickly—and hold it. There is an ever-increasing number of distractions from an ever-growing number of digital devices and services, which has resulted in the average attention span falling to about eight seconds! 

If you’re running a business, that means that your website needs to work very quickly to make the most out of every visitor to your website or other online presence. And that’s where video comes in. 

Now, live-action video (i.e. videos with real people speaking or doing things) can be very expensive, especially if you need to shoot fully original materials. That’s why many companies turn to animators to help them tell their brand story. Animation is generally much more affordable to produce than live-action.  

But if you’ve never worked with an animator, you might be wondering what to look for, what questions to ask, what information the animator needs. You might be worried that, even with a modest investment, the final product doesn’t live up to your expectations. 

Here are a few tips to get you on the right path to hiring an animator.  

Develop a Brief 

A brief is a short 1 – 3 page document that describes your project. While it may or may not include a rough concept for the animation’s content, it should include the following items: 

  • An overview of the project, including project objectives 
  • A rough estimate of the video length needed (typically animations are anywhere between 30 seconds and two minutes) 
  • A description of your product or service 
  • A handful of key messages that must be included in the video 
  • A short description of the tone you’re going for 
  • A short description of the look you’re going for (it’s often a good idea to include links to videos with looks that you like) 

By providing all this information, animators should have a clearer understanding of what your expectations are.  

Get a Script Written 

Typically, video animations have voice-overs or dialogue. That means you need to have a script. Most scripts include both the words that will be spoken in the video as well as scene descriptions or camera actions that describe what the viewer should see. This will also help guide your animator as they construct the visuals.  

Now, you can write a script yourself, but if you’re not an expert in this area, it’s a good idea to hire a scriptwriter 

Find Work You Love 

Not every animator has the same style, nor can every animator create any type of visual. It’s important to thoroughly review an animator’s portfolio to ensure their work matches the style of video you want. Otherwise, you might end up with an animation that’s very different from how you envision it.  


Understand the Process 

Anytime you want something to develop something creative, it’s important to understand that creative work is a process. That means the first version you get might not be what you expect. And that’s okay! No matter how well-written your brief or script is, an animator isn’t a mind reader and can only create something based on the information you give them.  

Now, some animators like to prepare storyboards before jumping into the actual work of creating the animation. A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represent the different shots and dialogue that will be created in the video. They’re almost like a comic book. But not all animators do this. If your animation is going to be on the longer side (90+ seconds), it’s a good idea to have the animator do a storyboard first to help ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of the video’s sequence and flow. It might cost a little extra, but it’ll be worth it. 

No matter what the animator’s process is, just remember that you should have an opportunity to request revisions.