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Autonomous Animator: Cash In Your Experience

Image courtesy of 20th Television/The Simpsons
Image courtesy of 20th Television/The Simpsons



Autonomous Animator: Cash In Your Experience

As someone with lots of experience as an animator, modeler, VFX artist, video editor, compositor, 3D generalist, or anything in between, chances are you have hidden value right under your nose and don’t even know it.

You could be sitting on a literal gold mine, so break out your shovel, grab your pan, and take a look at the following potential revenue streams to see which ones you can start prospecting now.

Selling Content

In time, most people involved in production amass an impressive collection of content, both in quantity as well as variety. If you have full rights to said content, by all means, don’t hoard it for yourself — share with the rest of the world by putting it up for sale. You can sell directly to your friends, colleagues or perfect strangers firsthand for cash or have it available for electronic purchase from your own website.

If you want more exposure for your wares, consider posting them on more centralized locations whence others of your ilk come to shop. These larger content reseller websites will host your content, having it available for purchase 24/7 and, minus their fee, will send you the profit.

Making Instructional Videos

There are countless free instructional videos perpetually available online for just about anything. Chances are, you’ve watched a few yourself. While producing, posting and having these videos available is essentially free (or extremely cheap at its most expensive), there is significant potential value in posting instructional videos if done properly.

But, beware: You should forgo the notion of making money by receiving royalties from acquiring millions of views. Although your work may be truly fascinating to some, it probably doesn’t command a large enough audience to bring in the numbers needed for YouTube to send you checks.

Therefore, instead of thinking about monetizing your instructional videos linearly, consider them stepping stones to something grander.

Try this: Take your best instructional video and toward the end, simply make an offer, “If you would like me to walk you through this process with your actual project, or if you don’t have time and would just like me to do it for you, contact me here (insert email or phone number). I’d love to help.”

Upon being contacted, discuss your terms and fee and if all goes well, you just received a new paying gig and brand new client.

Making Instructional Books

Believe it or not, people still buy books. A lot of them. And what’s even cooler than that is, selling books can be extremely profitable — especially digital download books as there is no printing or binding required, no warehouse involvement, no stocking fees and no shipping and handling to be had by anyone.

So find those systems, techniques and tricks you’ve been using at a high level for many years, boil them down to easy-to-follow, recipe-like instructions and make a book.

Be sure to include all the stunning, full-color images you can muster. Your readers will appreciate the visuals and your book will be more impactful to boot.


For those of you that enjoy and/or are comfortable working closely one-on-one or speaking to groups of people, training might be an option for you.

Beginners have much to gain from a seasoned veteran’s guidance and wisdom. Not only in the realm of what to do, but massively-so in the realm of what not to do. Knowing how to navigate landmines is far more critical in an early career than getting a pep talk from family members or receiving common knowledge advice from generic career websites or social media banter.

To be an effective trainer, you need to first know your client inside and out. Conduct an interview and ask them about their goals, their biggest challenges and what areas they need to improve. If you have expertise in these areas and can firmly commit to helping the client in writing, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to custom design a training package specific to that client that will make them froth at the mouth. Be certain to address how your training program will positively, if not massively, benefit your client’s bottom line by monetizing the increase in productivity and new capabilities that will be realized.

With creativity, determination and thinking outside the nine dots, there is real potential to earn significant money by marketing your knowledge as opposed to punching the clock and selling your time doing production. With practice and guidance, these revenue streams could even surpass your traditional earnings.

And when that happens, make a video, sell the book and train people how to do it for themselves!

Martin Grebing is the president of Funnybone Animation Studios. He can be reached at


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