A new feature consortium:
The British Film Institute is partnering with Aardman Animations are launching a new scheme backed by £1 million of lottery funding to help support the development and production of new animated feature films and the creative talent aardman animationsmaking them.
The BFI will provide funding for up to two years to three filmmakers or filmmaker teams to develop their projects with dedicated development support through the BFI Aardman Animation Development Lab. The process for developing animated feature films is lengthy and expensive limiting the opportunities for British filmmakers. Wallace & Gromit producer Aardman will work with the filmmakers – animators, writers, directors, producers – to shape their ideas with the aim of emerging with a set of greenlight-ready materials for their films, ready to advance to production. The closing date for applications is November 28. ...
Development of animated features doesn't have to be expensive. It can be as simple as two story artists in a room, cobbling a visual storyline together, then putting it up on story reels* to see what works and what doesn't.
Once you know there's something tangible and workable, you can call in the designers, the modelers, and the art directors. And then it's off to the races. (You know that some of the projects you have in work aren't going to get the hoped-for green light; that's why you have a bunch of projects in work at any one time. Some will be still-born.)
What sometimes happens is the production side swings into action before a story is nailed down, then everything grinds to a halt while acts II and III get wrestled with up in the story department. (One of the extreme examples of this was Warner Bros. Feature Animation in the 1990s. There were a couple hundred production people sitting around twiddling their funds at two grand a week while the head of production made up his mind what animated feature he wanted to move forward with. The dawdling got expensive, and the division ultimately got shuttered.)
But good luck to Aardman and the BFI. There seems to be room in the pool for more animation production, so come on in!