Last week’s Jump Start! Executive Breakfast was a great success and stirred much discussion on the state of digital animation and visual effects labour pool in Ontario.
The well attended event was lead by moderator and President of CASO, Michael Carter. Present were studio executives and producers along with representatives from Seneca, Centennial and Sheridan colleges, who shared their views on the current state of our sector’s labour force.
The topics discussed centered around domestic and international labour touching on costs and skill set; the school system in Ontario and the preparedness of their graduating students entering the workforce; as well as the current market economy and the competition that directly effects Ontario labour – we need the work to get the talent and the talent to get the work.
It was agreed that the skill sets and artistic talent of artists are the backbone to a successful studio. Particularity in Ontario, we have multiple streams to foster talent through our post-secondary educational system, ensuring that the level of artists graduating are of a high standard. It was also agreed it is imperative that the labour community and the colleges work together to continue to build this new talent base through these post secondary streams. This will ensure a strong and vibrant VFX and Animation labour pool that remains in Ontario which will enable us to meet market demands.
During the discussion the participants focused on and analyzed other animation communities. In particular, the success of the UK based community that collaborates through Soho Net. Also discussed was Ontario’s competitive advantage due to our excellent school system, the Ontario tax credits, seasoned artists and experienced studios. In contrast, the area touched upon as needing improvement was mainly the industry unified-technological standards in software, hardware and the overall pipeline.
There was mutual agreement amongst the participants that Ontario had the expertise and capacity to work on the higher budgeted 60 million dollar features.
They also felt that it was imperative that the studios needed to find a way to efficiently work together to both attract these types of budgets into the province and to support the level of work demanded by these higher profile films.
CASO thanks all the participants who attended, Ira Weiss, Category Business Manager and Hewlett Packard for their gracious support of our full roster of programming and the OMDC for their continued support and unwavering enthusiasm for the continued growth of our community.
We look forward to continued discussions and involvement of the whole community to build Ontario as the premier destination for innovative visual effects and animation, globally.