PK 106: Why the Independent Animation Industry is so Exciting for Artists

PK 106: Why the Independent Animation Industry is so Exciting for Artists 2 pk 106 indie animation industry pencil kings podcast pk
In this podcast, former Lucasfilm artist, Spyros Tsiounis, explains why the indie animation industry is changing the way movies are made…and how you can launch your own project

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher

“It will be a much better future for animation than what we have right now, which is so concentrated and so creatively repetitive.

~ Spyros Tsiounis

Why the Independent Animation Industry is changing the way movies are made.

What does it really take to create an independent animated film? In this podcast, former Lucasfilm and Disney artist, Spyros Tsiounis, reveals how today’s technology is making the animation process more affordable for artists, and how you can get your own animated project off the ground…

What is the Independent Animation Industry?

We all love animated movies, but what if you’re an animation artist who wants to launch their project but doesn’t have the huge budgets of all the major studios?

Spyros Tsiounis started working in the animation industry right out of college on hugely popular titles such as Kung Fu Panda and Coraline.

Then, when he moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to work at Lucasfilm, he became fascinated by the possibilities of the new technology available…and how this could speed up the creative process.

He says: “I was working on a project which was part of the Star Wars franchise and, for the first time, there was an effort to do away with storyboards.

“Instead, we started developing and using pretty robust 3D tools for storyboarding. During that same time, the opportunity came up to start production on my own film, Them Greeks…!, and we managed to get it off the ground.”

Spyros Tsiounis
Spyros Tsiounis in his studio

So what was Spyros’ motivation for making his own animated film? What were the boundaries within the mainstream animation industry that he wanted to break through?

Spyros explains: “If you look at the state of the animation industry right now, I think everybody would agree it’s still extremely complicated.

“It’s pretty surprising to me that the animation industry has been stuck in this initial stage for the longest time.

“It’s still pretty concentrated – there is only a handful of large studios that have the capacity to make 3D animated films, and there’s no independent animation industry as such.

“The main consequence of this in my opinion is that it cause the creativity to be very ‘cookie cutter’ and very repetitive. We only see a handful of big animated movies every year, and they’re usually not very creatively bold in their theme.”

New Technology and the Independent Animation Industry

“Now, for the first time, the way technology is developing is lowering the cost of making these productions, and therefore making the medium more accessible to more film-makers.

“For example, if people can work together online, it does away with the cost of hiring big studios, which can lead to more films by more artists and more fresh content for audiences.”Here are some of the questions we asked Spyros in this week’s podcast:

  1. What was his motivation for making his own independent animated movie?
  2. How can you get funding for your own project?
  3. What’s the most exciting thing about working with other artists?
  4. How can you get involved in an indie animation project?


You’ll find the answers to these and many more questions in this week’s podcast. We hope you’re as excited as we are about the independent animation industry and the huge opportunities it presents to artists.

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, why not leave us a comment below? We’d love to know what you guys think 🙂

People on this Episode:

Links From This Episode:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and “save file as” for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.



PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.