Runner (Animation)

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What does a runner do?

Runners keep an animation project running as smoothly as possible by assisting the work of the production management department of an animation studio.

They are the most junior members of the department and do any number of administrative jobs. Their role varies depending on the size of the company they’re working for. In smaller companies, they support all the departments, whereas, in larger companies, they may specifically help the production coordinator.

Runners’ responsibilities might include:

  • Taking notes in production meetings and distributing reports to the appropriate people
  • Organising and logging incoming and outgoing materials
  • Maintaining databases and spreadsheets for tracking work progress and workflows
  • Dealing with script preparation and printing for voice recording sessions
  • Doing general office jobs like answering the phone, filing paperwork and entering data
  • Booking travel and accommodation

Some animated projects, including animated TV series, outsource the animation part of the production abroad. In these cases, runners may be responsible for scanning and labelling the storyboards and any associated documentation for shipping.

Runners are usually employed by animation studios. They don’t tend to be freelance, but might be employed on a short-term contract.

What’s a runner good at?

  • Organisation: plan, prioritise and multitask in your role
  • Learning by watching and asking: observe what’s happening, use your initiative and ask questions at the appropriate time
  • Taking instruction: listen carefully, respond quickly to requests, stay calm under pressure and be helpful whenever you can
  • Communication: be polite to clients and production partners, pass on information in a clear and concise manner
  • Enthusiasm: have a passion for the medium and a love of the industry

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