Animation, as it exists in the context of contemporary commercial entertainment, is being fundamentally changed by the internet. As a storyteller whose main medium is animation, I’m extremely interested in how the internet is being used by independent animators and content producers as a platform for creating, distributing and building an audience for their content. With this paper, I identify the particular opportunities and limitations the internet presents as a distribution technology compared to traditional mass media such as television and film, in an attempt to better understand how it is shifting the roles of the creator, network, and audience.
Through my research I place the modern concerns of online content creation within the larger historical context of the animation medium, including its development as an industry in the early 1900s, and how the attitudes, priorities and expectations of independent animators have changed leading up to and through the introduction of the web. Moving forward, I investigate differing views on how – and by whom – web-based animation should be created and disseminated, what specific websites and online platforms are being used, what benefits and drawbacks those platforms present compared to traditional media vehicles, and how the internet at-large is changing the relationship between content producers and content consumers.