Selling Animation: NFT’s, Storefronts and More

24/11/2021
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If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’ve got a passion for creating art and animation. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t care about making money too!

While your work sparks joy for you, you’ve still got to make a living. But for many, especially those just starting out in the animation business, determining the best method of selling animation isn’t always clear. If you’re in this camp, stay tuned! This guide will cover some of the most (and least) effective ways to make money from your animations.

Set up shop: Use a storefront to sell animation

Virtual storefronts are a great way to display your existing body of work – without having to compress everything into a single demo reel or portfolio. Your clients can easily browse your wares, just as if they were in a brick-and-mortar store. There are numerous e-commerce platforms and plugins you can use such as Shopify and Sellfy, which add storefront functionality to your website with shopping carts, search engines, and more.

Most of these services won’t break the bank, either. Gumroad, for example, is free to use and only takes a small cut on each sale. You might find that even services with paid monthly memberships are well worth the cost, considering that they often come with helpful features like analytics and sales tracking, built-in marketing tools, and customer account management.

The nifty world of NFTs

You may have heard of another, more cutting-edge method of selling animation: creating NFTs. If so, feel free to skip to the next section. If you haven’t, NFT stands for non-fungible token – which probably clarifies nothing, but bear with me. Non-fungible tokens are essentially non-interchangeable identifiers that can be added to digital creations to make them unique and, ultimately, more valuable.

In a nutshell, if you create an NFT for a piece of digital art, you’re stamping it with a one-of-a-kind “seal” for a single customer. This is so that even if many people copy and/or save the piece, the original retains its value for the initial buyer. It may come as a surprise, but some collectors are willing to shell out big bucks for NFT art. Take for example Beeple’s “Crossroad”, which sold for $6.6 million.

Let’s get mintal: Creating NFTs to sell animation

Clearly, NFTs have the potential to be a great money-making resource for those in the animation business. So how can you “mint” (or publish on the blockchain) your own NFTs? Although NFT’s are new to the world, the process isn’t complicated. Check out the infographic below for a tool you can take to support you through the process.

  1. The first step is to choose an NFT marketplace and create an account. Some of the most popular marketplaces include SuperRare, Foundation.app, Rarible, and Mintable.
  2. Next, connect your blockchain wallet. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to set one up and add funds to it, since NFT marketplaces deal in cryptocurrency.
  3. Then, you’ll need to decide which animation you want to turn into an NFT, and upload it to your marketplace account.
  4. Now you’re ready to mint your NFT. At this stage, you will have to pay minting fees, which will vary depending on which marketplace you go with.
  5. The final step is to set your desired price (this can be either a fixed price or a bidding range) and wait for the sale!
While cryptocurrency and the NFT market might be unfamiliar territory for you, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are some concrete steps you can download and take with you to support you along the way. Minting an NFT is an empowering step you deserve to take as an artist.

Once your NFT has been minted, anyone can see your work on the marketplace. However, you can attract even more prospective buyers to your NFT art by promoting it on social media or your YouTube channel. When a purchase is made, the payment automatically transfers into your blockchain wallet. How about that for selling animation?

The cost of NFTs: Is it worth it?

You’re probably wondering if it’s worth the time, effort, and fees to go about selling animations this way. The answer is: maybe. While there are plenty of examples of artists raking in thousands or even millions via this method, most didn’t start out making bank.

Take for example this artist who sold his first piece of crypto art on Foundation.app in March 2021. After paying the fees for minting, listing, commission, and funds withdrawal, he ended up netting $62.50 from the final sale price of $286.44, or just 21.8% of the profit.

If you think this sounds like robbery, you’re not alone – his story is a common one. However, if people love your art, there’s always a chance for bidding wars and high payouts, especially if you already have a strong social media following.

Made to order: Why freelancing is still on the table

Let’s talk about one of the tried and true methods of selling animation: freelancing. When considering the complex and unpredictable nature of crypto marketplaces, it’s understandable why many in the animation business prefer to keep things straightforward by making their art to order. Freelance gigs are relatively easy to find, and there are a multitude of websites you can make use of such as Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.

Of course, there are downsides to freelancing as well. You might have to start small as you build rapport with your customer base, and much of your creative freedom will be sacrificed in favor of your client’s vision. However, transactions are usually pretty cut-and-dry. You will most likely be able to keep the majority, if not all, of your own profits.

The bottom line

Let’s talk numbers. In terms of money-making potential, what does all of this boil down to? When it comes to selling animations via storefront, how much you make will depend entirely on the volume of content you can crank out and what you charge. While selling NFTs on a crypto marketplace depends on similar variables, we know that the vast majority of NFT art sales fall below $200 before fees.

However, this method indisputably offers the potential for the absolute highest payouts. Freelancing provides the most concrete figures: the average freelance animator makes $64,500 annually, though you may have to build up experience to reach this level. Our advice? Try everything. The animation business is varied and complex, and not every method of selling animation will appeal to everyone. So start dabbling and see for yourself what works best for you!

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