If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney
Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter
Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn
When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi
Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb
Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.
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Animation Industry Drawn to Hamilton Ontario, Canada
July 11, 2011
The animation talent behind the Backyardigans, Scaredy Squirrel and the Mini Wheats cereal characters are on their way to Hamilton, with many in the city hoping other cartoon favourites may soon follow.
At the Hamilton Economic Summit in May, news emerged that two Greater Toronto Area-based animation studios -Pipeline Studios and Chuck Gammage Animation - are making the move to Hamilton, a decision that many of their peers are said to be watching with interest.
Juan Lopez, managing director of Pipeline Studios admits that it was the 10 percent regional bonus - which the provincial government provides to wholly animated productions that perform at least 85 per cent of their key animation entirely outside of the GTA - that initially drew his company to Hamilton from its current headquarters in Oakville. But after talking to Hamiltonians and the city's economic development team, he has since also realized the potential inherent in the city.
"There is a definite drive and ambition to make Hamilton a powerful, recognized city in Canada ... most of our clients are in the U.S. and Europe. It will give Hamilton the recognition that it seeks, and we see Hamilton as a community that is willing to take on that recognition and go with it, so that pretty much sold us right away," he says.
Pipeline Studios, which has worked on Emmy and Gemini award-winning productions, plans to relocate 95 per cent of its 100 staff to 222 Main Street West (near Hess Village) within the next year to 18 months.
"The move to Hamilton is our long-term plan. We've already purchased the building, we're outfitting it right now, just getting it a little more up to date in terms of infrastructure," says Lopez.
Hamilton's burgeoning and thriving arts community was another draw for Lopez, who explains that the art crawl and other cultural events played a huge part in the company's decision to relocate.
With attracting talent being the number one component for success in the animation industry, Lopez admits that getting good animators out of Toronto or the U.S. is not easy, but having an established arts community and an attractive area like Hess Village helps.
For animator Chuck Gammage, factors other than the tax credits drew him and his firm of 10 to Hamilton. "I like that there's like-minded people around," he says. "That's an important thing too, and they sort of understand where we're coming from," he adds. (Hamilton is one hour southwest of Toronto).
Chuck Gammage Animation moved into the former Dominion Furniture building on James Street North in June, from its former home in the Front and Bathurst area of Toronto.
Gammage says that it is much more cost-efficient for the studio to be in Hamilton and with most of the work being digital and many meetings held over the phone, his firm no longer needs to be in the big city.
The arrival of more players in the animation industry to Hamilton could be the start of something big, as far as the city’s economic development team is concerned.
“It is very important for us, because Hamilton, as you know, has long been seen as a fairly traditional industrial town. And this is a little bit like sort of the reverse miner’s canary, where these folks are being pioneers and coming to this city and showing the rest of their own community that there is a really, really good alternative for their location,” explains Jacqueline Norton, manager of the Film & Television Office and creative industries for the City of Hamilton.
According to Glen Norton, acting manager for the urban renewal section of economic development for the City of Hamilton, the fact that these companies independently chose to cluster within a few blocks of each other is also key.
“I don’t think this would have been as successful for them or as easy for us to market to other firms if they had located somewhere out of the downtown,” he says.
While the downtown does seem to be the location of choice for new creative companies in the city, another new arrival in the animation space chose Dundas for its headquarters earlier this year, over other comparable towns like Stratford, Ontario.
Colin Doncaster, co-founder of Peregrine Visual Storytelling chose to establish his company in the area earlier this year after working in Europe and Australia and on productions such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar.
“I think Hamilton has the potential to be an animation hotspot,” he says.
“That location and closeness to Toronto means that in under an hour you can still meet with clients," he adds. "One of the things that is going to be interesting in the future is to see how the city manages the growth of the industry.”
Thanks www.entertainmentecon.org for the article.
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