The #10YearChallenge (for an Animation Studio)
A couple of months ago, at the very start of 2019, there was a social media trend called the #10YearChallenge. And in our digital vicinity, quite a lot of people jumped into the trend wagon, and actually, for all we know you were probably part of it.
But in case you already forgot about this one, since we are talking about social media and everything goes by pretty fast; the idea behind this trend was more than interesting as you showed your picture before and after 10 years, to the surprise of everyone around you or following you (or even yourself).
This got us thinking at the studio: we COULD do the #10YearChallenge as an animation studio, we even had a couple more years to spare actually, but as today we are an animation studio with more than 10 years in the creative market and we can tell you all sorts of stories of how the animation industry was a decade ago. And that in itself is quite a story and more than a challenge…
In order to give yourself a bit of how hard this is to accomplish, according to this article from Entrepreneur from 2018, 75% of all companies in Mexico close before hitting the 2 year mark, and this is for all kind of local business, those in the creative industry tend to have a higher closing rate, trust us. A lot of the studios we used to look up in those days are long gone as they have closed their doors, all that’s left of them are some YouTube videos which now we can see as the history of 3d animation in Mexico.
But looking back at 2009, things were quite, quite different for us as a studio: there were several partners running the studio, we betted on doing strong partnerships with local creative agencies and our intellectual properties were comprised of good ideas, superb artistic executions, but frankly going nowhere nor having a chance of being pitched.
Since then, some studio partners left, some left and came back, we shifted our focus from the advertising and creative agencies to the gaming industry, then to a more wide approach to CGI services and we continued to develop our intellectual properties to the point where we felt we understood the pitch and sell process, as well as the market around us. We also came to understand the internet had changed, it was no longer about just having a website with link to Vimeo videos, we had to monitor the inbound traffic, learn about SEO, understand what ROI means in the digital world and then, understand that the local agencies were long gone, the world was now open to our services.
Since 2009 we have had the chance to work with agencies and companies all over the world, something 10 years ago would be just mind-blowing to us. We also learned that the true engine of our studio is our staff, the animation powerhouse is comprised of a set of talented 3d modelers, animators, VFX & concept artists, as well as everyone involved in the production line. Over the years we have had great talent along our lines, and we continue to have open doors to such talent and luckily, these talented people continue to believe in our studio.
Being a decade in the animation industry gives you a whole different perspective of things, it also forces you to innovate, especially if you are looking to have intellectual property in your studio, as the audiences change and they also change in their interests as the technology itself changes. 10 years ago the idea of having a whole TV series made entirely of 3d animation was frankly, impossible to be achieved for a lot of studios, including us.
And although the overall animation industry in 2009 was celebrating movies like Avatar, just 3 years back Jimmy Neutron received in 2006 the award for “outstanding achievement in animated television production produced for children“. Jimmy Neutron was basically the reference for animated productions and was an impossible task to produce such an animated feature for the majority of the SME animation studios out there. And in case you have no idea what are talking about, this is the trailer of Jimmy Neutron:
So yeah, things were not as they are now…
But before we go further in this rant of the past, we want to tell you that 10 years as an animation studio has certainly had its ups and downs, a rollercoaster of emotions and projects and a positive experience (for the majority of us at the studio), and that if you are planning to follow this road, be prepared for quite a rocky road, but with a reward on each step of the way.
The Exodo Animation Studios Staff
Sidenote: if you are actually keen to hear and understand how we envision and looked at the animation industry back in the days, CG Press did a lengthy interview to our then CEO, Paco Navarro, back in 2012: