Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Animation Scene: Atlantic Provinces, March 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.
Fingers Crossed.


sgadziola said...

What about Halifax Film???? Very busy with 3 CGI shows in production for CBC and more in development!

David Germain said...

The Helix Digital project is starting up in May or June? I heard that it wouldn't get started until 2010. Maybe that's when animation will start.

Either way, I wouldn't mind getting on that.

murrayb said...

We have indeed started production on "garth and bev" a co-pro with kavaleer in dublin for C beebies. We put the financing together for 22 X 11s, but the full order is for 52, so we will roll till july on this batch, hopefully till end of year on the other half.

Dan szilagyi said...

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the interview/talk with Mark a few posts below, god knows we NEED more of that to get out! i work at Atomic Cartoons currently and working in the industry for a year or two i've already seen so much bad stuff go down.
I think we really need to bring proper attention to ourselves and the industry in general and the points you guys talked about are very true and real.
Much props to that and all the work you are doing.
You have my full support and if you ever need any Vancouver based news feel free to ask me


Barx said...

Is there enough steady work in Atlantic Canada to keep people working full time or are people constantly scrambing about trying to keep busy?
Are studios able to keep a crew together, rolling from one project to another?
I've always wanted to hear from artists on the East coast to get their perspective on employment.

michael valiquette said...

sgadziola, thanks for the update! email me with particulars:
I just posted an job for you guys.
Murray, same to you, any details you can provide would be great.

pmaestro said...

i know a handful of people who've had consistent work over the past year, and a lot of it comes from working for the multiple companies mentioned.

while helix gets it's big projects together, people are not working. while copernicus prepped for kavaleer's project, people were not working. between conrad's jazzberry's seasons, people are not working.

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