Monday, September 05, 2011

Live Action Production, Animation Production

Just now, California struggles to extend its move and television tax credit. In live action, New York appears to be eating L.A.'s lunch:

In the most recent TV season, New York City drew a record number of cable and network pilots: 22, up from only three the previous season. ...

“We’ve never seen numbers like this,” said Katherine Oliver, New York City’s film commissioner since 2002.

New York’s gain comes as Los Angeles is struggling to hold onto its share of TV production. A recent survey by FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit permitting group, found ... the region’s share of pilot production has fallen to 51%, down from 58% the prior season and 82% six years ago.

Contrast this data with a recent meeting I had with a New York-based cartoon producer (who does most of his work out here):

New York City is completely dead as an animation center. Studios keep disappearing. There's not even as many as there were four years ago, and there were damn few then. That's why I keep telling animation students from the East Coast that they have to come out to California if they want to have a career. Because they are never going to go much of anywhere in Manhattan. ..."

Decades ago, New York City had a pretty thriving animation industry that did commercials, television shows, even the occasional feature. Raggedy Ann and Andy (directed by Richard Williams) was made there, the Fleischers thrived there, Paramount and Terry Toons had sizable studios inside or near the city limits. But all of that is gone now. (There is Blue Sky Studios in Connecticut, but no other large facilities.)

Dan Haskett got his start in New York, as did Tom Sito. Both of them, like numerous others, now live and work in Los Angeles. Show me an animation veteran born and trained in one of the burroughs, and I'll show you an artist who isn't around there anymore.

New York is highly competitive in live-action production. On the animation side, however, the Big Apple puts up a minimal fight.


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