hey don’t worry - some one will help. Another good place to look for models (cook + waiter) is make-human. A bit of tweaking will be needed to make these “cartoon” like . . . for example and to stereo type - obese for the cook, thin for the waiter, and then there are the clothing issues which you will need to have a grasp of the cloth function, and how to actually derive this from the form of the make-human characters. Just to model the clothes will take 6-10 hours per model. Rigging and animating these will take about the same time, and another 6-10 to get these right, another 6-10 to do the finese. Quite easily done I reckon!
Flash is your best if not only option for what you need done. Instead of modeling a circus tent and using the render as a back ground, a matte painting would probably integrate better than a rendered image.
But because the (two) figures need to be animated, including lip sync for the spoken parts, the cost would range from 3000 to 12000 US Dollars, depending on the complexity, quality and length of the intro animation.
This quote includes also producing the audio portion of the animation.
On the bottom of this page is an image of a trumpet that started as a 3D model and was made “playable” with Flash.
In my opinion, you would be better off designing a big project like yours with a local designer which gives you the advantage of meeting and tweaking the project to your liking.
Good luck and don’t forget the “happy” circus music
Thank you to all who have replied in this thread and to those who have emailed me directly with your interest in this project.
You are all extremely very talented! I wish I had only half the skills you all have. With out me having to reply to every interested party, I have short listed a couple of Artistist, if you have been successful, you will recieve an Email from me wanting more information and to discuss the project further.
I will also be keeping your contact information of all whom have emailed me for any future projects. (Your information will be keep private and not passed on to any third party) If you choose not to have your details kept with me, your welcome to send me an Email, with subject: Please do Not keep my email.