The anime industry in Japan may bee booming, but it’s no secret that many anime workers live in poverty. Most can’t even make rent because of their low pays. And that’s where the Animator Dormitory Project came in. The project used crowdfunding to create homes for people working in the Japanese animation industry. Their initial goal was just 2 million yen, but earned 3,618,000 yen to fund these animator dorms. They currently house 10 animators in Japan across four dormitories in Tokyo. And now, their aiming to fund living expenses for rookie animators.
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They launched this new crowdfunding campaign via Go Get Funding. However, the new campaign doesn’t just aim to help new animators, but also change the anime production system all together. They aim to help change the business model to make it beneficial to animators. This is how they explain the current living conditions of animators living in Japan:
Japanese anime industry has been producing more anime than ever, with its market size more than 200,000,000 JPY. However, the environment surrounding animators remains severe — low salary, long working hours, and illegal contract.
According to the survey conducted by the JAnicA in 2009 (answered by 728 people), an average monthly salary for an animator who is in his/her 20s around ￥90,000, making the yearly salary about ￥1,100,000.
It is not uncommon that the monthly salary for the first year animator is less than 30,000 JPY.
The reason why the earnings are so drastically low despite of the hard labor, overtime, holiday shifts at almost every field of work, is because in most cases, animators are hired and paid according to the piece-work system
(※2) based on the price per each frame an animator draws, and it takes time to become a skillful animator who can draw quicker and cover more frames within the given time, to have a fair amount of earnings per month. For many cases, animators’ salaries are determined based on the number of the sketches they draw. For a typical TV anime series, an animator makes ￥200 by drawing ONE picture. If one draws 300 pictures per month, his monthly salary is only: 300 drawings × ￥200 = ￥60,000. However, drawing 300 sketches is a really challenging task for a new animator. In addition, animators generally do not have time to do a part time job, which makes it even harder to make a stable living.
Most anime studios are located in Tokyo. Because the house rent in Tokyo is expensive, new animators who move to Tokyo for work are forced to live with a very limited budget.
The project aims to produce its own animation short, and its earnings will go to the animators themselves. But they’re not aiming to make something cheap, but something satisfactory.
We are going to make the money flow more direct; we are going to make a short anime by ourselves, using crowdfunding campaigns to raise money, while making sure that there are enough time and money to make good anime.
This is the system, in which profits made by the anime return to those who involved in the anime-making process, such as animators.
Here’s an overview of the project:
①an anime directed by an animator who the Animator Supporters used to support and
②an anime whose storyboard is made by fans! (We will ask anime fans for the storyboard, and the one made by the winner of this event is going to be actual anime!)
In 2018, we will be working on the 15-second commercial to ask anime fans for the storyboard.
In 2019, the commercial will be released.
And it seems that they’re asking foreign backers as well. They’re aiming for US$20,000 to fund the project, and made about US$2,453 as of writing. If you’re interested to donate, just visit their crowdfunding page.