Digital Henchmen Launch Party - Had a chance to stop in at the Digital Henchmen launch party last Thursday night @ Club SAW here in Ottawa. Didn't see too many from the animation comm...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Following coverage of what's up in Ottawa, I'm going to cast my attention to the east coast of Canada, where the industry has grown considerably over the last ten years. My apologies if any feel that lumping all the eastern areas together is an injustice, but for now, that's how it's gonnna be.
I'm just getting to know a lot of the folks out east. I'll openly admit that, until working for Fatkat a few years back, I was pretty unfamiliar with the whole region (at least professionally, I did some schooling out in Nova Scotia as a lad). What I've got here is largely unconfirmed, and I invite anyone reading to contact me to corroborate or correct what I report. I will be following up this week as well, trying to get as strong a picture of what's up on the right hand side of the map as I can.
First, no report on the Maritime region would be complete without a mention of the closure of Collideascope last summer. It was arguably the most stable and consistent and well paying place in the region. Collideascope also represented the region on the national stage as an established place. Huge blow.
As far as the active studios go, I'll start with Fatkat, since I chat with these guys pretty regularly. According to Gene Fowler, Fatkat is in the home stretch on their 26 half hours of Three Delivery for Nicktoons, Canal+, and YTV (among others). The Space Knights Pilot is in post for Teletoon (no air date on that yet though). They're prepping a few other things, including 26 half hours of a german production that should start in the summer. They've been putting up some art from this one over on their blog, feel free to check it out here. There's also talk of a US production and a UK gig, also for spring summer. Once these are locked I'll update.
Cartoon Conrad: completed animation on 13 episodes of Razzberry Jazzberry Jam for Trapeze, in PEI, and CBC in 2008, hoping for season 2 . Maybe a late May start on that one. I've heard very good things about this place. They were good and busy in 2008, and I'm told Luke Conrad did a great job of people happy over there.
Copernicus: I have mixed reports. One report tells me they are ramping up on a copro with Dublin-based Kavaleer Productions on Garth and Bev. 52 11 minute episodes. May startup. The other, that they are in mid production on said production, which should be coming to an end late May or June. I'll try to follow up here.
Helix Digital: Again, unconfirmed, but apparently putting together a very major project for CBC. It would be very high end and long running and is looking to start in May/June as well to run for about two years. It's in the Budget/Schedule phase but will likely be fast-tracked into production. Helix is still angling for full series work on top of this project as well. So, likely slow at the moment, but sounds promising.
Huminah Huminah: Word is that they are turning more towards gaming, with representation by Fog Studios, a gaming agent out of New Brunswick. I'm told they've been managing to keep busy on odds and ends, but no major projects to mention.
Invisible Entertainment: These guys are still mainly supporting the region and servicing the other hops, so they're keeping their fingers crossed for everyone I mentioned above.
So, in a nutshell: it's been quiet, a little too quiet for a lot of people. Even with a big ole' tax credit and more experienced crews, the work isn't pouring into the Maritimes the way it was a few years ago. They've had their boom, which is part of the industry cycle, and now they're competing with everyone else. But there's a lot of talented folks out east and it looks like things will level out. The next few months will be crucial, as work needs to lock in to keep these shops going through 2009 and into 2010, when people think the worst will be over.