The Ultimate Guide for Hiring Freelance Animators: Pros, Cons & Things to Consider

eLearning animator, Animator, Hiring Freelance Animators

Animated videos continue to change the learning landscape for the better. Whether it’s packaged as on-demand modules or a part of a blended learning lecture strategy, videos provide a unique set of benefits that help learners engage with and retain content in a way other media simply can’t. Yet, for all its benefits, many learning departments have a difficult time incorporating animated videos into their training plans.

Animations are a fantastic way to clarify concepts and increase learner engagement, but they’re notoriously time-consuming and complex to produce for the unprepared or the unfamiliar. Turning to a freelancer animator for support is usually the first step in planning a training video development project. However, freelancers aren’t always the best solution in every case.

What is a Freelance Animator?

A freelancer is a contracted worker responsible for completing assigned deliverables for an agreed-upon fee. In plain language, they are a person with a lot of skill that you pay to help you complete a project. Freelancers can be paid hourly or using a flat-fee structure based upon the nature of the project you’re working on. When it comes to animated training videos, most freelancers are paid by the hour and are charged with supporting you as you take your video from concept to completion.

Freelancer Pros

Freelancers are a good option for companies new to training video production. Hiring a freelancer for a small initial project will allow your agency to become comfortable with the process as you partner with a single person. An arrangement like this also allows you some flexibility because you can change freelancers after each project until you find the one that meets your needs.

Freelancers also excel at one-time projects. When you’re partnering with an outside expert, they’re able to dedicate their attention to your training video until it’s completed. This individualized focus elevates the quality of the final product and can shorten development timelines.

How to Hire a Freelancer

If hiring an animator for your training video or eLearning project sounds like it’s right for you, you’ll need to complete a few steps to make the process easier:

1. Get all of your ducks in a row

It will be easier to find the right professional if you know what you want; it also means you’ll receive more accurate quotes and save time. Gather information about the content you want to present and your expectations for the final product. Go into detail on what you want in the animation and include reference images, doodles, or scripts. A budget and due dates are also essential

2. Prepare for interviews.

 Compile information on your company and your brand. Many animators have a personal style and will need to be able to judge whether or not their style is a good fit for your project.

3. Find a Reputable Service.

While freelancers tend to be a more affordable option when producing training videos, they can also represent a bit of a risk. As an independent contractor, they’re essentially a stranger on the internet, not a reputable, established business. Don’t worry! You can safely work with freelancers through online platforms.

Our 3 Favorite Platforms

UpWork

UpWork gives you a structured platform to find a freelance animator. Simply create an account and list your job. Freelancers will bid on your project on either an hourly or flat rate basis. Use UpWork to grant contracts, send work, and video chat with your freelancer in one place.

Freelancer

The Freelancer platform gives you multiple options to find freelancers. If working with a local freelancer is important to you, post a Local Job. You can also create a normal project, or even a contest to find your freelancer. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Freelancer’s Showcase page to find the best talent.

PeoplePerHour

While other platforms allow for flat rate payments, PeoplePerHour allows only hourly work. This is great if you prefer to pay by the hour instead of per project.

Freelancer Cons

Freelancers are often a good way to get started with training videos and animation but they aren’t without their drawbacks.

Because you’re partnering with a single person, freelancers aren’t the best choice when working on a large or multi-phased project. Typically, if you or your training department is looking to produce more than 3 training videos, a freelancer isn’t a viable choice. It would take one person several months, or several years, to complete the animation project.

Spreading the work across multiple freelancers means inconsistent quality and added variables when trying to manage the project. Not all freelancers are created equal and their styles, project files, and schedules are just as unique as they are. Using more than one freelancer to speed up development actually just adds a layer of complexity to organizing the effort.

Freelancers are also specialists. That means you might be able to find an excellent animator, but they may not be skilled in scriptwriting or storyboarding and would need you to supply them with a near-complete prototype for them to begin.

Things to consider

If you still aren’t sure whether or not a freelancer is the right choice for your animated video project, compare the following alternatives to help you decide:

  • Freelancers. Freelancers are fine if you’re making a few videos. They’re also really affordable. The problem is freelancers can’t work at scale. They also lack consistent quality and organization, which means you can’t guarantee results with a team of freelancers.
  • In-house developers. You have more flexibility and control with in-house resources, but there’s the issue of budget, finding skilled employees in your area, and having enough work in the pipeline to justify dedicated animators. If you’re an agency that will need to make videos regularly (several a month), consider hiring a permanent staff member rather than hiring a freelancer.
  • Agencies. Agencies can do high-quality, bulk work, but people usually don’t turn to agencies just because of the exorbitant cost. If you have a big budget and need a team of animators, an agency makes more sense than multiple freelancers.
  • Ninja Tropic. Ninja Tropic combines the best of freelancers, in-house staff, and agencies. Our 100% internal team offers prices that compete with freelancers and quality that rivals top agencies.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A Freelance eLearning animator can help add a touch of sophistication to your eLearning course. However, they can be expensive and don’t always guarantee a quality outcome. If you’re strapped for time, funds, and need a more elegant solution, give Ninja Tropic a call. We offer all-in-one solutions that free you up to do what you do best: sharing knowledge.


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Daniela Erazo