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Let's say I've written an episode-by-episode screenplay on my own time (I don't work for an animation studio). It's well-written and original, but because it hasn't already been published, it of course doesn't have a preexisting fanbase. I also haven't been involved in any prior projects. What are the odds that an animation studio would be interested in buying the rights to produce it, or the rights to produce a pilot to see how it does?

And if a studio were to buy the rights, how much would they most likely pay for it?

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  • The odds are almost zero. Unfortunately this is backwards to how animation and game studios operate (they hire writers to follow their production). Even professional scriptwriters rarely get their own scripts produced…. Since you have a script, look at iClone for character animation, with Unreal (Unity, etc) for environments/fx. All 3 have made leaps in visual quality, and now have production-ready workflows for animating to video. iPhone and Rokoko are affordable mocap hardware (not cheap, but affordable). A 'bedroom' filmmaker community is growing around these realtime animation tools.
    – wetcircuit
    Aug 10 at 17:54

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The Writers Guild of America (WGA) publishes median and maximum payments for scripts for both TV and Film. They represent writers on some of the top animated TV series on broadcast (‘Bob’s Burgers,’ ‘Family Guy,’ ‘The Simpsons’) cable (‘American Dad’) and streaming (‘BoJack Horseman,’ ‘Big Mouth,’).

However, there are animated projects where some studios try to exclude the WGA from the process. For example, Disney's animated titles are produced without any union writing contract, and animated features generally fall under the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, whose terms are not as generous as the WGA.

Your chances of selling a spec-script at your age is slightly better than the lottery, but don't let that, or anything esle, put you off.

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Without a track record of success and without a fan base, it is unlikely a studio would be interested in your idea/script since they have plenty of their own.

This isn't a problem. You can try and find representation. Look for agents specializing in animated features/series. Since agents make a living off their a percentage of the creatives fees they are motivated to find talented creatives and put their work in front of the buyers who are a best fit for medium, genre, subject matter, etc.

Agents advertize when they are accepting new clients. They'll tell you about what kind of pieces they are interested in and they will spell out what they want you to share with them to determine if you and they are a good fit.

Alternatively, you can develop the series yourself by engaging local animation artist and stream the show on social media. If it good and popular that can lead to interest from agents or other platforms or program developers.

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