I’ve been thinking about ways to de-risk big animation projects— especially the ones made by independent directors. Rather than spending lots of time and money on a feature film that might not work, I think the creative teams of tomorrow will pursue cheaper ways to test their ideas over time. This concept isn’t unique to entertainment— authors are doing it already, and they’re doing pretty well.
Before he published his first book, James Clear wrote articles for years. Clear’s oldest article was published in late 2012, and he wrote hundreds of articles between then and his book’s release date. During that time, Clear built his audience, saw which articles performed best, and sharpened his writing, all to ensure that Atomic Habits was the best book it could be.
I’m interested in the “articles of animation.” I want to make the process of building a creative universe more scalable, and I think it starts with cheap, short-form content that introduces an audience to a character or world. I’m testing the technology behind this idea with a small series called Talk to Things, an animated addition to this newsletter.
This experiment will be successful if I can ship episodes as easily as I can publish articles. I’ll share the episodes with animators I want to work with, iterate based on their feedback, and share what I learn. Watch the first installment below, and expect at least one episode per week for the next few months 👀