Vancouver, B.C.: Where Animation Thrives (French version available)
Many industries were negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but animation flourished, and continues to flourish. The temporary pause from live-action projects meant that people flocked to animated, on-demand media that they could watch from home. The demand for animated media rose, and there were certainly companies that worked to meet that demand.
Vancouver, B.C., was one city reeling in the benefits of this animation demand, as a top city in the business. With over 8,000 people employed within over 150 businesses in Vancouver’s visual effects and animation industry, there is certainly a lot of talent to be found locally — and it pays off. Between 2017-2019, the average annual salaries for people within this industry was $77,176: a number 48% higher than the average provincial wage.
With a clear demand for animation within Vancouver, what exactly makes Vancouver so attractive for people who wish to study or work in animation?
- Vancouver Has Many Animation Studios
Vancouver’s first animation studio was started in 1967, but more than 50 years later, the city has over 60 animation studios and over 150 related businesses. In fact, Vancouver has the greatest concentration of domestic and foreign-owned studios in the visual effects and animation sector.
Examples of Animation Studios Located in B.C.
From Canadian classics like Teletoon’s Atomic Betty and Treehouse’s Max and Ruby (seasons 6 and 7) to other works like Netflix’s Hilda (some episodes of season 1) and Disney Junior’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends (2021), Atomic Cartoons has had its hands crafting some unforgettable childhood memories since 1999.
Founded in 1987, Bardel Entertainment has two studios located in Vancouver and Kelowna. The studio is known for their work on popular shows like Netflix’s The Dragon Prince, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, and Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go!
Vancouver is one of Titmouse’s locations, alongside its other studios in Los Angeles and New York City. The studio has worked on shows like Amazon Prime’s The Legend of Vox Machina and Niko and the Sword of Light, and Cartoon Network’s Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart.
- Vancouver Has Many Animation Programs
If you want to learn how to animate, Vancouver has a lot of options! There are animation programs at schools like Vancouver Animation School, Capilano University, LaSalle College, and many more. Not only can many animation studios be found within the province, but the practice can be taught locally, and to a high standard as well.
In Animation Career Review’s list of “Top 10 Professional Animation Training Programs in Canada” for 2021, six institutions were from British Columbia, and the other four were from Ontario. The top three B.C. institutions for animation were:
- Vancouver Film School
In operation since 1987, Vancouver Film School provides four main branches of programs for students interested in visual effects and animation: 3D animation and visual effects, animation concept art, classical animation, and creature animation.
- Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
Founded in 1995, Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) offers a 2D or 3D character animation program for students interested in animation.
- Think Tank Training Centre
Established in 2005, Think Tank Training Centre offers learning about computer animation, visual effects, and game design in a single one-year program.
- B.C. Tax Credits Help the Animation Sector
British Columbia has tax credits, Film Incentive BC (FIBC), that help the animation sector and make the province more attractive for animation companies. The credits reduce tax that must be paid on taxable income. Therefore, these tax credits help companies run by giving them a little break on the expenses that they must pay.
Examples of B.C. Creative Production Tax Credits
B.C. Production Services Tax Credit
Production companies that permanently operate within the province can receive a 28% refundable tax credit on eligible labour costs.
Digital Animation, Visual Effects, and Post-Production (DAVE) Tax Credit
Production companies employing B.C. talent for post-production and sound services can receive a 16% refundable tax credit on eligible labour costs.
Scriptwriting Tax Credit
Production companies that incur expenses related to scriptwriting can receive a 35% refundable tax credit on eligible labour costs, before the work goes into the final stages of production.
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“About VFS.” Vancouver Film School, https://vfs.edu/about-vfs. Accessed 12 Feb. 2022.
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“Atomic Betty.” Atomic Cartoons, https://atomiccartoons.com/project/atomic-betty/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.
Canada Revenue Agency. “British Columbia Film and Television Tax Credit.” Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/provincial-territorial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-provincial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-film-television-tax-credit.html. Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.
Canada Revenue Agency. “British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit.” Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/provincial-territorial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-provincial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-production-services-tax-credit.html. Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.
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“Hilda.” Atomic Cartoons, https://atomiccartoons.com/project/hilda/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.
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“Programs.” Vancouver Film School, https://vfs.edu/programs. Accessed 12 Feb. 2022.
“Programs.” Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, https://www.vanarts.com/programs/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2022.
“Projects.” Atomic Cartoons, https://atomiccartoons.com/projects/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.
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“Spidey and His Amazing Friends.” Atomic Cartoons, https://atomiccartoons.com/project/spidey-and-his-amazing-friends/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.
“The Dragon Prince.” Bardel Entertainment, https://bardel.ca/project/dragon-prince-2/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.
“VFX & Animation.” Vancouver Economic Commission, https://www.vancouvereconomic.com/vfx-animation/. Accessed 1 Feb. 2022.
“VFX, Animation, Character & Environment Design Programs for Games and Films.” Think Tank Training Centre, https://www.tttc.ca/programs/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2022.
“Work.” Bardel Entertainment, https://bardel.ca/featured-television/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.