Monday, April 02, 2007

Animation To Our North

This report out of British Columbia points out how animation production has increased dramatically up there in the last few years.

2005 showed a significant increase in British Columbia film and television production activity. From $801 million in 2004, production increased to $1.23 billion last year. This is primarily accounted for by an increase in foreign production that went from $587 million to just over $1 billion in 2005, an increase of more than 70%. 93 service productions, an increase of 19% over 2004, were shot in British Columbia.

Domestic production increased from $214 million to $225 million. This modest increase follows a 26% increase in activity in 2004...Of particular note is the growth in animation projects. Spending in both domestic and foreign animation production more than doubled in 2005; with domestic production increasing from $15 to $36 million and foreign production from $22 to $50 million.

This rebound in activity occurred despite a consistently high Canadian dollar and intense competition from other film jurisdictions. This reflects the increasing recognition of British Columbia as a full service production centre. The introduction of the Digital Animation and Visual Effects tax credit has also made British Columbia cost competitive in this area and is partially responsible for the increase seen in the animation sector. It is expected that there will be continued growth in animation and that BC will increasingly be seen as a centre for digital special effects production.

Now, you can look at the above and say: "Oh my Gawd! Animation's increasing in Canada! Everything's gonna leave here!" Or you can see the situation for what it is: Here's a growing animation industry in an area -- British Columbia -- that is not a low-wage backwater. And the conclusion to be drawn is that this deal isn't simply about the wages, but about talent pools and infrastructure and the quality of work. (And yes, the tax breaks impact this too.)

If you view this report from that perspective, you'll take comfort in knowing that animation won't be disappearing from Southern California anytime soon, because we're in much the same situation that B.C. is.


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