LA-Area Animation Jobs At All-Time High

Animation work in Southern California is booming, hitting an all-time high last year and showing no signs of slowing down. Jobs data collected by the Animation Guild shows that more than 3,350 people were working in its jurisdiction last year, more than ever before. “We’re in an upward jobs spiral,” said Steve Hulett, business rep of IATSE Animation Guild Local 839. “As more animation product is created that makes money and profits, more producers want to get into the act, and producers already in are increasing the amount of work they’re doing, so you have more work created and more employment.” Steve Kaplan, the guild’s organizer, said about half the work was on animated features, which saw their biggest box office ever in 2013, with four of them — FrozenDespicable Me 2, Monsters University and The Croods — combined to pull in about $3.5 billion worldwide.

Jobs in TV animation are also on the rise. “The work has really increased on the television side,” Hulett said. “There’s more storyboard work and design work, and it’s all driven by animation’s profitability. Animated television shows have been a great cash cow and profit stream for the conglomerates. They can make them for at a competitive price, and they have a long shelf life.” New media is also creating jobs for animation workers, he said, noting that DreamWorks is producing Internet content for Netflix. Hulett noted that the good times in animation are creating many good-paying jobs for other workers in the industry as well, including voice-over actors, editors, and sound technicians. “The growth here,” Hulett said, “is coming from all the preproduction work – the storyboards, layout, animation scripts, character design and key backgrounds.” (more…)

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