Posted by Charles on April 10, 1999 at 02:37:56:
There is no reason at all why Canadian animation artists should be singled out and/or blamed for the troubles that we face here in LA. I don't sense any animosity or resentment towards them on this message board even though the subject has appeared as a potentially contentious topic of discussion.
Canada has a very rich animation heritage. Canadian artists are extremely skilled and are a lot of fun to work with. Nobody in the U.S. is begrudging our Canadian brothers and sisters. I've heard that they work under similar situations in the north. That is, studios headed by the wrong kind of professional, if I may loosely use that term.
There are a variety of reasons why many of our pseudo-producing gurus elect to go Canadian. A similar culture, same language, relatively identical sense of comedy and humor, etc. But the most important reason is one of simple economics.
Canada offers many advantages that American production houses find themselves hard pressed to compete with or ignore. First of all, our currency is worth more in Canada. There is also something called "Canadian content" which, if I'm not mistaken, is an incentive offered by the the government to encourage motion picture and television production in that country. I'm not familiar with the details, but it works something along the lines of government matching funds. If a certain percentage of a production is handled in Canada, then the government actually pitches in to help fund the project. This greatly reduces out of pocket expenses and allows all of those hard working executives of ours the opportunity to continue to reap the subjective benefits of a padded budget.
The Canadian animation industry is subsidized by their government and has been for years and years. At least that's what I've been told by individuals whose information I tend to trust. It's difficult for American studios to compete. The executives who talk about sending production north of the border conveniently blame high salaried American artists. Live action production has been going to Canada for a long time. Now it's animation.
The same incentives for producing animation in Canada are available to our community. This isn't a resource exclusively reserved for pseudo producing executives. A balanced production team of American and Canadian animation talent could work very well for American animation artists who happen to be producing a project and need to keep their costs under control.
Canadian animation artists as a group are not the problem. Nobody that I know of feels that they are. I am happy to say that I have never heard anyone bash our Canadian colleagues because of this trend of sending production work north.
I wish that our own government was as advanced and progressive as that of Canada. Unfortunately, we have to fend for ourselves and as such, need to be much more agressive, innovative and enterprising in order to make things work for us in a more equitable fashion.
A good beginning would be to eliminate the position of the non-creative, under qualified, over paid production executive from the American animation production budget, or have the position staffed by a manager who is professional, knowledgable, responsible, conscientious, open minded, reasonable, rational and aware.
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