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The Animators Internet Survival Guide

For my final exam in university in 2009 I wrote a 30-page paper called "The Animator's Internet Survival Guide". I researched the internet business models of successful bloggers, musicians, filmmakers, flash-game developers and internet marketers to create a comprehensive online business model for animators and filmmakers.

Which qualities does a piece of work have to have to go viral? How do you find people online, who value your work? How do you expand your audience from project to project? How do you earn money online without relying on traditional advertising? And how many fans do you need to finance your life?

Every aspect is explained step-by-step and highlighted in-depth with the help of many examples. The examples might be a couple of years old and today many people rely on crowdfunding and connect with their fans through facebook or twitter, so that is no big news. Nonetheless I think the steps this guide highlights are still up-to-date and worth a read!

Intro: Call-Center or industrial visualization?

By the time mom and dad cut the money supply, even the long term film student has to ask himself what's next: Will I work as a taxi driver, waiter or Call-Center agent and make movies alongside? Or he might choose to be a part of professional TV or cinema productions. However for most of todays young filmmakers, there is no perspective to make a living with what they really love to do: realize their own motion pictures.

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Chapter I: Your work is the foundation

The base for success is in most cases an interesting idea. However, the internet is overcrowded with interesting, useful things and services. There is so much noise and competition, that it is harder then ever to grab the attention of a single viewer. Even if you only focus on material that is tailored to your unique desires, there is still more than you can consume. Because of the abundance of ideas, the bar has been raised for artistic creations. It is no longer enough to be only useful or interesting. Great content is the minimum!

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Chapter II: Build your homebase

Every idea and each completed work needs a homebase. There are dozens of ways to create yourself a home base. Building a website with HTML takes the most effort. Less time consuming is a Wordpress blog. You will find numerous pre-assembled layouts, ready to be filled with your content. The least technically demanding is a profile on a social networking platform, such as Facebook, MySpace, Aniboom or on an animation forum like AWN.com.

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Chapter III: Find your audience

In December 2008, the world wide number of internet users has passed the billion mark. The internet is a global phenomenon on its way to connect the whole world population. Today it is already representing the entire diversity of singularities, niches and subcultures of our society. Your audience is out there, you just have to find each other.

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The fan list

The single most important aspect in building a lasting business online, is a fan or customer list! You have to be able to contact people, who like your work, have bought a DVD once and especially those who buy everything you produce. Without such a list, you would have to find your audience over and over again for every new project. Expand it constantly with new projects, articles or videos and you will gather a sizeable following over the years.

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Organic Search Engine Traffic

To optimize your website for search engines, it is recommended to check your HTML code with the W3C Validator. The fewer mistakes your code contains, the more Google will like you. The longer you consistently add interesting content to your website and the more related websites link to you, the higher your reputation will rise in Googles eyes. Is your website entirely made up of videos, photos and flash animation? Google will not be able to understand much of it. Add a descriptive text, a synopsis, festival participations, reviews etc. and you will be on the first page of the search results much faster.

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