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Working with animated video production companies

Clarity and specificity are golden when dealing animated video services.

Ordering an animated video is a lot like ordering a sandwich. You can’t just walk into your local deli and say “I desire sustenance!” That’s just not specific enough. Either you’ll end up with a sandwich filled with something terrible (like bees and mayonnaise) or the sandwich guy will be paralyzed by freedom and probably die.

There is a particular mindset you need to adopt when working with animated video services that will ensure that your explainer video is turned around quickly.

The email that’s coming…

If you decide to become a Fire Starter client, once your story board is ready you’ll get the email below.

If you’re really into researching and you want to do this as an exercise, download this story board and imagine that the email below corresponded with its delivery to you as a client.


Dear ClientGreat news!

Your preliminary story board is now ready. Please see the attached file.

Please be aware that this is only a basic sketch designed to give you a general introduction to the theme and direction of the story. It is critical that you check this board carefully because these boards take time to develop and one idea links to the next.

If you want changes made to the story AFTER you have already approved the board, you will be charged for those changes and your video will be delayed.

The easiest way to review the board is go slide-by-slide and give us notes on only the ones you need changes made to. Please provide feedback in this format (Note: The shot numbers are at the top left of each frame):

Shot 14: Needs more pickles in the bottom left corner. Please add five more.

Shot 25: The unicorn isn’t working for me. Please take him out. Also the dragon looks too ferocious, please make him look more gentle.

Shot 27: Please change the puppet’s thought bubble to say “I love politics!” instead of “Where are my shoes?”

The text above is an example of GOOD feedback.

Now here’s an example of BAD feedback, followed by how I would respond:

Shot 14: Needs pickles. (Where? Where do you need the pickles? How many do you need?)

Shot 25: I don’t like the unicorn. (That’s fine, but did you want us to get rid of him entirely? Or did you just want him sketched differently? What would you like to see instead?)

Shot 27: The puppet shouldn’t be talking about shoes, please make him talk about politics instead. (That’s a-okay, but what exactly would you like him to say about politics?)

See what I mean? Being vague will slow down production considerably. So once again, remember: We need ALL (and I mean every single tiny little detail) of what you want changed for each shot that needs revisions. Please be very clear and specific.

Thanks – Fire Starter Videos.

Good animated video services want to work with you, not against you.

As you can see from the email extract above, making an animated video requires a great deal of attention to detail.

Your input will be encouraged throughout the production, allowing you to choose everything from music to fonts to character design. All we ask is that you be as specific as possible.

Simply put, our goal is to give you exactly what you want in your explainer video and we’ll work hard to make that happen. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be waiting.

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