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Animator Dorm Project Starts Crowdfund to Redirect Anime Production Funds to Animators

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Earlier this year, the non-profit organization Animator Supporters opened its latest crowdfund for the low-income Animator Dormitory project. The group raised 3,618,000 yen (US$32,952) of its 2,000,000 yen (US$18,300) goal to ensure the organization's four dormitories for low-income, freshman animators stay open through 2018.

The group currently houses 10 animators, a four-person dorm in Asagaya, a two-person dorm in Ogikubo, and two two-person women's dorms. The second women's dorm opened this year.

The latest campaign on GoGetFunding is not like the others, that is it isn't solely focused on covering living expenses for rookie animators. Instead, it hopes to make strides to change the anime production system all together to one that is more monetarily beneficial for animators. The campaign explains the current issues with the production committee system as follows:

It is quite costly to produce anime. So if one anime did not become a hit, it would be a huge debt. So, in order to avoid such situations, current anime making system makes a production committee which consists of TV station, movie production firm, ad company, publisher, and some big productions. The production cost is collected from each of them, so that the burden can be reduced.

It is, in a way, true that this kind of thing is needed to avoid a huge debt, but there are some issues at the same time. For example, the production fee paid from the production committee to the anime studio is, in many cases, not sufficient. Consequently, many anime studios end up in debt. (1 in 4 anime studios are in debt.) As a result, they cannot pay salary for animators, and animators have to live in poverty.

In addition, the profits made by sales of an anime go to the production committee, so even if it became a hit, animators would not benefit from the sales.

In order to change such situations, we have set our next goal: to make a new anime making system in which profits made by the sales of anime return to animators.

The Animator Supporters intend to use the funds from the latest crowdfund campaign to produce its own short anime while taking both time and money into consideration to produce something satisfactory. The profits from the anime will be turned over to the animators themselves.

The project will turn to its own burgeoning animators to create the anime from the director role to actual drawings. The group will also hold a fan contest to submit storyboards with the winner's storyboards used for the anime. The project will first produce a 15-second commercial asking for storyboards through the remainder of the year. The commercial is expected to be completed by 2019.

The funds from the campaign will reimburse the animators living in the dorms for their work on the commercial. The campaign is seeking US$20,000. There does not appear to be an immediate deadline for the campaign to be successful.

The charity's plan to return more profits to animators mirrors concerns raised by Yaoyorozu's Yoshitada Fukuhara , who served as producer for the studio's Kemono Friends anime. The anime industry had a record 2.0009 trillion yen (about US$18.8 billion) market value in 2016, but anime studios only earned an estimated 230.1 billion yen (about US$2.17 billion). Animators themselves have notoriously low wages and often rely on financial assistance from their families and wages of less than 131,330 yen (US$1,103) per month.

Source, Images: Animators Support official Twitter account

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