A short while ago, I had lunch with a longtime animation employee who is now working and consulting for animation studios overseas. He told me:
"I'm not helping with outsourcing American work; it's domestic content in Asian countries that I work on. China is keen on developing a domestic animation industry doing t.v. shows and features for internal consumption, and there are American animators and companies helping them develop ... "
And it's not just in China that American animators and companies are bolstering foreign domestic content. Take this for instance:
Tokyo, Mar 6, 2008 (Jiji Press) - U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. will start animation production and broadcasting in Japan, it was learned Thursday.
As the first step, Walt Disney will collaborate with Toei Animation Co. to make an animation series featuring a robot and air the program probably in May, sources familiar with the matter said.
And why would Toei partner with the Mouse House? Here's a clue:
March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Toei Animation Co. rose the most in four months in Tokyo trading on a TV production alliance between the Japanese creator of animated films and Walt Disney Co.
The shares gained 125 yen, or 5.7 percent, to 2,335 yen, as of 12:40 p.m., on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the biggest advance since Oct. 29. The stock earlier gained as much as 13 percent.
``We have been discussing projects with Toei Animation since August 2006 when we signed an agreement on coproduction of animated features,'' said Walt Disney Co. spokesman Akiyuki Tezuka ...
American animation companies are partnering up with animation studios in India, in China, also Singapore. Smaller niche players and freelancing pipeline and animation consultants are also getting into the act. "In the next five years, this is going to be a big wave to ride for a lot of animation and tech people, " said my lunch companion.
I've little doubt he's right. There's lot of animation going on beyond American borders, animation that Americans barely know exist. But a growing cadre of animation specialists are well aware of newer markets, and working in them.