How much should I charge per episode of an online animated show?
May 31, 2012 1:39 PM   Subscribe

An entertainment company is interested in an online animated comedy series I'm creating. How much should I ask per episode?

The company in question is a serious producer and distributor of content across various media platforms. Their online division is responsible for a few web series that are successful. They like a trailer I created for my animation project, and are interested in possibly commissioning a series of 3-5 minute biweekly or monthly episodes. They would release them online only, on multiple channels/sites/services. But they want me to pitch it with some outlines of the episodes and so on. Part of the pitch will be my price per episode. How much should I ask?

My project is not an established brand, and I'm not really an established creator. But my show is of good quality, and I'm hopeful that this company could help build a decent audience for it.

To do the show would take up most of my time, so I basically think I need to pitch a price per episode that equals a decent full salary for that time. But I don't think these online entertainment/distribution companies are showering their creators in gold coins.... so what's realistic?

Thanks for any and all advice.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on how long it takes you to do one. You say it takes up most of your time, but most of your time for a day? week? month? to do one episode? Let's say it takes you a week of work to do one 3 - 5 minute episode. 1K - 2K would seem reasonable (granted, that's a fairly large range). Ultimately, this is why you get an agent, manager, or lawyer. Not only will they have a good idea regarding what to charge, they will help protect you in case the company starts requesting more work than what was agreed upon initially. Is getting representation something that is possible for you?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2012

Are there similar jobs to what you're potentially being hired to do on web sites like, odesk, elance, etc.?

Those listings could give you an estimate of ballpark ranges. Failing that, network with other people who work in your industry and try to figure out how much they're being paid.

Another idea is trying to figure out how these web sites are funded. Venture capital (probably not)? Ad-based? Etc. If they have a rich source of funding they can, and should, pay more.
posted by dfriedman at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2012

This isn't directly answering your question, but, hire an agent. Yes, they'll take a cut, but I think you're less likely to get ripped off by the company hoping to buy your content if you have a professional on your side.
posted by asnider at 2:12 PM on May 31, 2012 [5 favorites]

You would be insane not to hire at least an entertainment attorney.
posted by phaedon at 2:28 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

For example, why in God's name would your price per episode be tied to what you perceive to be a full salary for that time. That's just not how entertainment deals go down.

You want to work with someone who is familiar with these type of deals and who knows what the going rate is for both your quote and the terms. You don't want to walk into some bear-trap just because somebody likes your shit. Are web series sold in perpetuity? Do you know what your credit on the show is going to be? Do you know what the WGA minimums are? Have you considered joining or approaching the Producers Guild for advice or representation?

I suggested an entertainment attorney because the turn-around might be quicker in finding a good one, whereas finding an agent can be a little bit of a process and depend greatly on market conditions as well as the viability of your project, given the fact that you are an unknown.
posted by phaedon at 5:20 PM on May 31, 2012

If you have genuine interest from an entertainment company already, then you should easily be able to find an agent. You want an agent and a lawyer. You don't want to depend on random people on the internet telling you what you're worth.
posted by empath at 8:45 PM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

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