While prepping an animated genre feature film like Lester, it’s a good idea to to study how these kinds of projects come and go.

Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise was an anime colossus released during the Manga Video heyday with amazing art and zero (almost) story. It was a movie made entirely by animators who prioritized world-building and created dozens of crazy set pieces, who then wrote the script as they went to make sense of it all. It would be like if 8711 made John Wick by shooting 5 action scenes without mentioning the dog. There’s a John Wick 2, 3, 4, and 5. There’s no Royal Space Force 2.

Royal Space Force is gorgeous. For ¥800M (~$8M USD) it better be. Apparently they raised the cash in a coordinated non-stop bullsh*t campaign at Bandai-Namco, who were probably impressed by the proof of concept. But in the end it nearly bankrupted the animation studio. Case in point: story first!

Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise, 1987

Rock & Rule (1983) was another massive film made by animators with incredible animation, great musical numbers and perfect casting.

The memorable set-pieces are connected with a story that can hardly be called that. The story involves the villain luring the heroes from their small hometown to his castle, kidnapping the girl, and taking her back to their small hometown. Story first!

The second and much bigger problem for Rock & Rule was MGM not knowing how to market an R-rated animation in the early 80s. It would’ve done okay today, but back then it grossed $35,000 of its $8M budget. You can watch it for free now.

Rock & Rule, 1983

And finally there are the ~$70M megatons like Titan A.E. (2000) with its studio issues and plot problems, resulting in only grossing half of its budget. But look at it.

Titan A.E., 2000

One of the greatest flops in history was Iron Giant (1999), another $70M megaton which had a solid story but probably was just too damned expensive.

Iron Giant, 1999

Higher budgets mean more intrusive oversight by studios, who will panic and make funny decisions to cut losses, like they did with Food Fight.

If you need to pay an army of people to animate for two years, then you need $70M to tell your story. If you only need to pay a small team of animators for a stylistic take on your project, you could do it for a tenth of that or less. The investors might not even care much about your story, and you’ll probably recoup their losses.

If your story is solid, and you have a cost-effective pipeline, there’s no end in sight.

EDIT: I’m also broadcasting on Telegram at t.me/ericjacobus where I dump more thoughts in smaller bites.

cropped-screen-shot-2014-10-03-at-11-21-55-am2.pngYour Netflix subscription just got cooler. ABCs of Death 2 is now available for streaming, so be sure to check out at least the first segment “A Is For Amateur” where Eric Jacobus puts on his best Bruce Campbell face and dies hilariously. Then watch the rest of it, because ALL of the shorts are damn good. Damn right.

Stream ABCs of Death 2 here: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70295077

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The brand new ABCs of Death 2 has just released, and Eric Jacobus stars in the very first segment out of the gate “A Is For…”, directed by E. L. Katz. Channeling his inner Bruce Campbell, Eric demonstrates the real-world problems of being a hitman for hire. Fans of Eric’s physical comedy won’t want to miss it. You can some some footage from the segment in the featurette below, or go rent ABCs of Death 2 on Youtube here or on Amazon here.

 

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Our latest short film Rope A Dope will be premiering at the LA Indie Film Fest, come check it out! I’ll be there along with the producers and potentially the other cast and crew to answer questions afterward. I’ll throw in a live back flip for free if you show up.

When:

Wednesday August 21 @ 8:00pm

Where:

Let Live Theatre
916 N. Formosa Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Going South on Formosa from Santa Monica Blvd. it is the Blue Building at the end of the block. There is a 60 car parking lot that is on either side of the building feel free to park here. Additional street parking is available as well as parking in the Gateway Mall, home of Target.

Tickets:

Rope A Dope is in SHORTS PROGRAM 1
$10 online or $12 at the door

See ya there!