Thursday, November 26, 2009

Global Animation

Now with Add On.

Gee, I'm so old I can remember when only artists working in the East San Fernando Valley cared about toonage at all. But now there's this:

Research and Markets ... has announced the addition of Screen Digest's new report "The Global Animation Industry" to their offering.

... Many countries, in particular France and Canada, are reaping the benefits of an ecosystem of financial support programmes, tax breaks and broadcast quotas that serves to bolster their animation sectors. Even these industries are not immune to a weak international market, relying on co-production, pre-sales and licence fee revenue for a significant part of their funding ...

Glancing over the report's subject matter, it appears to lay out the obvious: There's lots of sub-contracting going on; license fees aren't what they once were, and there are some big American conblomerates which dominate the cartoon industry.

There's a surprise.

On a side note: There are currently several new "independent" animation studios cropping up in the San Fernando Valley. They are independent the way Charlie McCarthy was independent of Edgar Bergen, the way that Jeff Dunham's universe of dummies is independent of him.

Almost all of the indie companies out there, from Film Roman to Bento Box to Rough Draft to Wild Brain, are dependent on the Big Boys for their continued existence. They are job shops, and as I once said to a storyboard artist who proclaimed how much he loved working for a small, non-union studio free of the hammy hand of conglomerates:

"You kidding me? Everybody works for the big entertainment congloms. They either work for them directly ... and get paid union benefits ... or they work for them indirectly, and don't. But they all work for the same Goliaths ..."

It was true when I said it a few years back; it's more true now.

Add On: Speaking of global toons, here's one example of animation beyond American shores ... animation that Americans will likely never see.

Mexico's Anima Estudios has inked to co-produce animated feature "Gaturro," which is lead produced by Argentina's Illusion Studios and Toonz Animation India. Anima will take minority equity in "Gaturro," about a cat TV star, and carry out post-production.

Anima's boarding of "Gaturro" advances a three CGI pic co-production alliance between Illusion and Anima, Latin America's foremost film/TV toon producers.

In production, "Gaturro" will bow theatrically in Argentina and India second half 2010. Pic will also have a digital 3-D version ...

Lots of animated product is created in different parts of the world that the citizens of the U.S. never know exists (it ain't all Up and Kung Fu Panda), yet there are numerous animation gypsies flying around the globe to work on it.


Anonymous said...

so what's your view on work going offshore to all these countries through subsidies and credits, versus the last of the honest capitalists i.e. the much reviled India ? is it somehow more acceptable ?

Steve Hulett said...

Work is going to flow to different countries for the foreseeable future. (You might notice that various states of the union are now backing off from their subsidies and tax breaks because they can't afford them.)

The "protective tariff," which the GOP strongly believed in for a century, is now a relic of history. So I think outsourcing won't be going away.

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