Catching up with Markus Magnusson

The life and work of motion designers are changing at an alarming rate! It seems like every day there is something new to explore. Many moons ago we were all working predominantly on broadcast spots with media buys, 4:3 center cut and broadcast safe colors, then came HD, 16:9, the web, explainer videos, branded content, and gifs.

Today, you can find motion designers filling just about every role under the sun from working with studios, agencies and now even in-house at brands. What’s more, many of us are now shifting our focus and working for ourselves, treating ourselves as the client and being our own personal brands.

Markus Magnusson is a perfect example of this evolution. For years, Markus has been impressing us all with his amazing and often times hypnotic animations. Recently, Markus has decided to shake things up a bit, start to invest more of his time in himself and start a Patreon campaign.

We wanted to catch up with Markus about the experience so far, and the following is from Mr. Magnusson himself:

The last half-a-year has been quite the life-changer for me. I switched countries, got married, closed one business, opened another, sold my bike, bought a car. All the while I was working 100% on client projects to make it financially possible.

When everything was said and done I was thirsting to get back to my personal work & that’s when I got the idea to start a Patreon campaign. I didn’t just want to beg for money though, I wanted to actually give something back & the only thing of value I have to offer is my nude body, so I started to do live cam shows, oops wrong forum… I meant to say knowledge… The only thing I have to offer of any value is my knowledge…

In all seriousness though, things are coming together well. First, I decide on what I want to cover in my tutorials. Once I have the theme, I then create an animation before getting into the whole how-to-click-click-video-tutorial side of things. This way, I get to create something cool for myself while simultaneously giving something of value back to my patrons. But that’s not all! (sales-pitch-intensifies) after each tutorial, I got the idea to host what I’m calling an Animation SmashDown challenge. This essentially gives my patrons the chance to try out their new skills & build a solid portfolio at the same time. Surprisingly, this has actually become my favourite part of the experience as my patrons and I get to see how people are growing their skill set.

As things have moved forward going into July, my goal is to step up the tutorial game even further. Part of this, thanks to my patrons, is that I can now devote 70% of my time to this! I still do some client work on the side. After all, I’m still getting the hang of this and my life with Patreon. At the end of the day, things are progressing well and the tutorial that’s currently in the works, Easy Character Posing, is really challenging my own understanding of the subject. One could almost call it the perfect symbiosis (classical music in the bg), namely a chance for me to grow my own experience whilst helping others grow theirs.

Ok enough about me, here are 5 tips for whoever is thinking about starting their own Patreon:
1. Keep it laser focused to what people are there for. If you’re doing tutorials then post only tutorials, don’t go all I’m-14-years-old-let-me-tell-you-about-my-life-blog-posting. I did that in the beginning and while it was popular with my inner core, most people seemed to zone out and find it a tad tedious.
2. Set up realistic goals and realise them. Don’t promise that you’ll create a full-length animation or something crazy like that after hitting 500USD. If you can’t actualise your promises, people will drop out.
3. Talk to your patrons. If they ask something in the comments then answer them. Interaction is key to a good relationship (Dr_Phil.gif)
4. Promote, promote, promote. Be shameless, if you plan on making some sort of living out of it, you need to treat your Patreon as your personal brand & a brand without marketing isn’t going anywhere.
5. Don’t have fun. Make it as painful as humanly possible. Install a Chinese Water Torture Apparatus above your head whilst working, the key here is suffering. Oops… wrong forum again….

Love /Markus

Join Markus’ Patreon Campaign

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About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.