JAMPRO Steps up Plan to Grow A World Class Animation Industry

Jamaica is positioning itself as a credible player to provide world-class talent and skills in animation services to meet the growing demand of the highly lucrative global film and video games industry.

 

The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in recognition of the abundance of talented young Jamaicans is working towards developing a strong and sustainable local animation industry. According to the Hon. G. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Jamaica is in a position to secure its fair share of the global animation industry which was valued at US$222.8 billion in 2012.

 

 Minister Hylton said, “As a creative hub for animation outsourcing, Jamaica would be a wellspring of opportunities for practitioners in digital media as well as entrepreneurs.”

 

With the Jamaica Film Commission designating animation as one of the areas of growth in the audiovisual industry of Jamaica and part of the medium-term strategy to encourage non-traditional exports, JAMPRO is working to facilitate growth in the emerging animation industry. According to Vice President of Export and Market Development at JAMPRO, Robert Scott, “JAMPRO provides support for the animation sector through marketing and institutional strengthening, ensuring the competitiveness and international standard of our animation industry through various capacity building measures and investment facilitation,” noted Scott.

 

In the short-term the national trade and investment agency wants to drive job creation by taking advantage of outsourcing opportunities in animation and then transition to content ownership of animation for export as medium term goals. Scott points to Cabbie Chronicles which is developed locally and exported to seven countries.

 

Government strategy will facilitate growth in the sector through local and overseas investment, ensuring the development of industry standards and competitiveness through partnerships and key initiatives. Four firms exist as solely animation studios in Jamaica. There are a number of other mixed companies that have diversified into areas such as graphic design and advertising. There are many more small 'shops' (1-5 persons) that operate informally and on an ad hoc basis.

 

According to Robert Scott the way forward is the development of at least 10 animation studios with a production capacity of a minimum of 50 professionals. With a large pool of talented young persons involved in the visual arts, Jamaica has the necessary human resources. Scott said, “What is needed is a friendly regulatory framework, investments to scale up the industry, and educational and training programs to meet the necessary workforce demand.”

 

JAMPRO’s work in the industry can be seen through collaborations with private sector partners such as Reel Rock GSW Studios. In 2012 Reel Rock was launched in Kingston with a focus on animation outsourcing work. Within a year, the Company secured an animation outsourcing contract on the series Quiz Time which airs on EuroDisney in France.

 

Wayne Sinclair, Executive Director of Reel Rock, and one of the major players in building the animation sector, lauded the agency for its work in building the sector. He said, “JAMPRO has been there as a support mechanism for the industry and for private sector companies like us. It was JAMPRO that got us involved in the Motion Picture Recognition Status application that allows us certain incentives in respect to bringing in material that we’re going to be handling that will be coming in real handy.”

 

JAMPRO in collaboration with the Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries (JCSI) and the Trade and Investment Unit (INT/TIU) of IDB also hosted the innovative Animation Gap Analysis workshop in July 2013 that seeks to identify skill sets within animation, a key area of focus for Jamaica. This information is instrumental in the plans for the design of a Finishing School for animation in Jamaica and will be a key part of creating an industry roadmap for the country which will focus on the investments and educational framework needed to create a solid foundation for the growth and development of an animation industry. 

 

Other significant strides have been made in the local industry with a number of workshops and events such as KingstOON - which was held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) from June 20 – 21. KingstOOn provided a platform for showcasing Jamaican talent and identifying key policy decisions needed to support the animation industry in Jamaica.

 

The University of the West Indies (Mona) has already taken steps to provide training in animation. The University in collaboration with GSW Animation Limited, Toon Boom Animation Inc. and the World Bank has implemented a six-month animation course, the first of its kind in Jamaica. In February the programme reaped success with the graduation of 45 newly minted animators.

 

Animation has been around for just over a century with global growth in the last two decades being phenomenal, fast becoming one of the most sought after careers for artistic, creative and technologically advanced professionals.

 

 

The demand for animation talent extends to a variety of areas including: film, computer and video games industries, television, entertainment, e-Education, web designing, advertising and more. The animation industry encompasses a number of employment and career possibilities such as scriptwriting, storyboarding, animation production and animation post-production such as sound recording, color editing and more. Animation is increasingly integrated in the production of video games (including PC games, mobile games, console games, and online games), and movies are also increasingly reliant on animation and computer graphic special effects. 

Source: 
JAMPRO
Published Date: 
Thursday, February 20, 2014
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