I get asked a lot - how I did I get so popular on GoAnimate? Whilst others, like GoAnimate member, gipsy, have created excellent web sites like Gispy Tips devoted to how to make the most of GoAnimate - including getting popular - I thought I'd share my secrets.
Below is everything I've ever done to get me to where I am today on the site, listed as tips for how to get popular. I'll preface it with 'slow and steady wins the race'. I wasn't always at the top. It's taken me two years of releasing, on average, two animations per month.
I've passed members on the site who are easily at the same technical level as me (and probably better in their own ways too). How did I do it? Read the tips below - it ain't rocket science!
- Tell a good or funny story.
- Tell it really well. Edit it as close as you can to like they do in real cartoons on TV.
- Let people know when you finish an animation. Post in the GoAnimate forum, on twitter and facebook. Twitter is especially important as GoAnimate has a Twitter stream on it's homepage. Include the word 'GoAnimate' somewhere in your twitter post and you'll get your five seconds of fame on the GoAnimate homepage.
- After your video gets a few comments, comment on your own video thanking people for their comments. (Your comment will then show up in your fans activity streams on their homepage thus alerting them to an animation you've commented upon).
- If someone asks a question or gives a good comment write them a message on their user page either answering the question or thanking them for a great comment.
- Watch and Comment on other people's animations. Especially comment about what you liked about their video. Don't mention what you didn't like unless you can suggest how that could be improved. (This has the same effect as Tip 4. You'll be helping to get other peoples animations seen by your fans and, if you give interesting comments, your fans - as well as anyone else watching that particular animation - are more likely to follow you around the site via their activity stream or when they see one of your comments).
- Get involved in real discussions on the forum. Try to sound like you have something interesting to say. (A lot of younger members use the forum like real time chat but if you want to mix it with the top animators and access their fans you'll need to be able to contribute a lot more than 'wasssuppp!!' and 'I like cheese!').
- (Optional) Start a blog and write about each of your animatons. It'll give you another place to share them and people can learn more about your work. This isn't essential but, if you're like me and buy the DVD of movies to see the behind the scenes special features, then those are the kind of fans you're trying to share with by writing blog posts about how you make your animations. It's for those people who constantly want to know 'Where did you get the idea?'
- Go back to Tip 1 and do it all again for each new animation you make.
That's it. All those tips are everything I've done to get to where I am. One final tip... Tip 1 and 2 are the most important. Get those two right and by the time you get to tip 3 your audience will be the ones who share your work, recommend it etc. without you ever having to ask.
You may even find yourself getting more than one staff pick. I suspect I've had more staff picks than anybody - and if I haven't then I'm certainly up there with the most staff picks of all time (I used to joke that I'd installed a secret 'auto staff pick' button in the GoAnimate offices). I also don't know of anyone who has been the featured animator on the Community Page quite as many times as I have.
The Brutal Truth.
If you've read this far (and I suspect the people who really need to read this far probably gave up because 'there was too many words') and you're thinking to yourself 'but I do all that and I still aren't getting anywhere' then prepare to face the brutal truth...
Your animations suck!
Sorry but they do. When someone asks me how did I get so popular and can I give them some advice I usually go have a look at their animations. More often than not they have a collection of poorly made, badly scripted, random bunch of videos that they made 'because they were bored'. Half cooked ideas with unfinished stories that are badly crafted.
It doesn't matter how much you follow my tips. Tips 3 to 9 are all a waste of effort if you haven't got Tips 1 and 2 right. If you start showing people sucky animations it'll be twice as hard next time to convince them to come and watch your latest animation. For every sucky animation you release the harder it gets to find people who'll watch. Nobody wants to come back just to watch yet another sucky animation!
If your first video - that you think shows off your best work - doesn't gain you any fans or even so much as a comment then it probably sucks. However this doesn't mean you should give up. You just need to get your 'geek' on and learn stuff. Learning is cool when it's about something you want to learn!
So what do you need to learn? Here are the three most important things.
- Learn how to write a story. You don't need to be good at writing it down but you do need to construct it properly. Bruce Hale is a successful author and illustrator of children's books and has a great section on his web site that tells you the basics, in one short lesson, that'll take you less than ten minutes to read through. Bruce Hale's - How to Tell a Story.
- Learn how to 'film' a movie. By 'film' I mean learn how to visualise every scene in your movie by breaking it down into a series of 'camera shots/angles'. If each scene in your movie only has one camera angle then you run the risk of your movie being boring. Watch my animation below which demonstrates how to break up a conversation scene into a series of camera shots.
1. GoAnimate Better - The Scene by etourist
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!
- Learn how to use the GoAnimate studio properly. You do this simply by starting an animation for no other purpose than to try things out. Experiment. See what things do. Pick a character, try out all their moves. Design a set. Play with the props. Explore all the themes. Try to recreate something you've seen someone else do in their animation on GoAnimate. It may seem like you're not being productive but when that next idea strikes you'll be a lot more prepared. Just remember, not every animation you start has to be made public.
You should never stop learning about how to make your animations. Pay attention to how other animators construct their films. Challenge yourself to make animations that you have no idea how to make right now. Learn how to make them as you go. Part of film making is problem solving. Working out just how to shoot a scene with the tools you have.
If you've got this far and you think your animations don't suck and you're doing all those other tips that I suggested and still not getting fans and views then here is the brutal truth again...
Your animations do suck!!
People will always come back if they get to know you make great animations. They'll even come back if you make average to good animations.
If people aren't coming back then either your animations suck or... and this is a very big OR... you are the only person on the planet that finds your work interesting. If you want to get popular you're going to have to make animations about stuff that more people like!
If you're not convinced that my tips work or you're not prepared to admit your animations suck and need work then think of me as the GoAnimate version of the Old Spice Guy...
"Hello GoAnimators, look at yourselves, now back to me, now back at yourselves and back to me. Sadly you're not me but if you stopped living in denial and started using my tips you could be as popular as me..."
Everything else is just 'lady scented bodywash' LOL