Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Worldwide Animation Synergy

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.


Anonymous said...

There is a TON of animation going on out there, to be certain. it is a slippery slope for Americans that participate in the setting up of pipelines and studio infrastructures that are placed in low salary geographical locations outside of the country. Especially with some of those countries being police states to say the least. I would much rather see American's doing animation in any state of this great land, than to see so much of it go north, south, east and west of our borders.

Anonymous said...

It's a global economy, "anonymous". A world without borders.

Ironically, you're right about the "slippery slope": open markets eventually lead to open politics. By engaging countries like China with Western concepts and idea, we help to free them - slowly but surely. And for the entreprenuer, there's much business to be had in the process.

Don't fear the reaper! ;-)

Anonymous said...

To quote one of Hillary's kitchen sink attacks:

Shame on You Anonymous!!!

I don't appreciate your protectionist comment:

..."I would much rather see American's doing animation in any state of this great land, than to see so much of it go north, south, east and west of our borders."

Are you saying that no else in the world has the right to have the opportunity to work in animation, visual effects, motion graphics etc.

This is one of the very issues that has been brought up in the Democratic primary - America's arrogance to the rest of the world.

Wake up.

As Kevin stated its called globalization.

Talent exists everywhere and yes there are folks around the world who are just as good us and even better than us. To suggest that only Americans should work in animation or that America has the best talent is arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Who is suggesting that only Americans should work in animation or talent should only lie here??!

The point is that work produced elsewhere is great. The problem is when American companies outsource to other countries to save a buck. They aren't doing it cause the talent is good. they are doing it because of the savings.

China, India, Ethiopia, whatever can do all the animation they want until they are blue in the face. goodie for them and "globalization". The problem is when we are losing jobs because a studio based in California wants to ship it overseas on the cheap.

BTW, this is a blog for a california/LA based union. What do you expect? Sheebus

Anonymous said...

I think that there is way more domestic work in India and China right now rather than outsourced projects.

Anonymous said...

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