Toon Boom Animation, makers of the industry’s premier storyboarding and animation software for animation studios and media publishers lent their expertise to 20 export-ready and emerging animators from across the sub region. Participants were trained in the use of Toon Boom’s Harmony software which is used in over 130 countries, and was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award in 2005 and 2012.
Most notably, the Harmony software has been used on productions like The Simpsons, The Princess and the Frog, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The Congress and My Little Pony: The Movie, among others.
The expected outcomes of the Boot Camp were:
- to refine existing animation projects to meet international standards; and
- collaboration among regional animators towards the development of export ready products.
Executive Director of the SLCSI, Ms. Yvonne Agard, spoke with the group on the importance of team work and networking, especially as small island states within the OECS, and noted the abundance of opportunities for global export of the service given the ease of access to international markets via the internet.
“As individual service providers, [animators] are not very tuned-in to what is happening regionally and internationally – because of the nature of their work, they tend to be on their own and in their own world.”
“It was important to explain to them the need of broadening their markets and their networks to take advantage of all the opportunities that can be afforded to them in the world of animation and film,” Agard said.
Milton Branford echoed these sentiments, noting that companies are always interested in the number of animators that are available to work on projects and the formation of a strong network or cluster of animators would better position the region to handle jobs that come this way.
“As it stands there are artists of varying degrees of quality production on the various islands. Bringing these artists together creates a network of opportunities.”
“If a studio such a Big Jump Entertainment or another HBO related studio would want Malfinis to do a production, one of the first things they would ask is: how many animators do you have? If you say that you only have two or three animators, they probably would not give you the job. Now Malfinis can reach out to Saint Kitts and can reach out to Dominica and Saint Vincent and tap into some of these animators and place them on our production pipeline,” Branford explained.
Branford also expressed excitement at the opportunity to work with Toon Boom and the unique insights into the industry that the participants will receive from their interaction with Toon Boom’s experts.
“The workshop is primarily facilitated by Toon Boom. They provided an industry professional in animation to teach the tips and tricks of the software to allow the animators, and some of those who are just being introduced to animation software, to learn to use the software efficiently and gain an understanding of 2D Animation.”
“The animation industry is young but there is a wealth of talent within the region and within the Caribbean. There are a lot of young persons who have the skills and have the desire to become animators and this is worth developing as this is a very lucrative, global industry,” he added.
Cinematographer from Grenada and participant in the week-long animation training course, Teddy Frederick, said the course helped him to gain an in-depth view into the world of animations and he looks forward to building on the relationships forged during the intensive five-day course.
“Although I am not an animator per se, I am a cinematographer and animation and cinematography speak a similar language. I’m really happy to be able to come here and participate in this workshop with the animators, to be able to network with them and learn what they are doing in their respective islands.”
“The aspect of animation that we really dealt with was the rigging aspect and this is a very technical area of animation design. It is not the fun side of animations but it is definitely needed to understand how animations work and I was happy to be exposed to this concept so that I can speak the language of animation more effectively and find areas that may cross over into cinematography,” Frederick said.
As part of the week-long activity, members of the cohort received guidance from Jason Lindsay, Co-owner of Full Circle Animation Studio based in Trinidad and Tobago, who provided insight into what it takes to export animations as a service and a product.
Ed Umoja Herman, President and Founder of the Pitons International Film Festival (PIFF) who is very well connected in the Hollywood sector also gave the group a realistic look at the collaboration that is required to be successful in the international world of animations.
About Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI):
The SLCSI is a national umbrella body representing the Services sector in Saint Lucia. It is a membership-based organization which functions as a focal point to lobby, channel and address trade in services issues which are critical for the sector to thrive in the competitive global environment.
About Export Saint Lucia:
Formally TEPA, Export Saint Lucia is the lead agency mandated to spearhead the island’s National Export Development Effort. Export Saint Lucia works to promote and expand business in export markets around the world; increase local exports, assist local businesses improve profitability and long-term sustainability, thus making a direct and valuable contribution to the Saint Lucian economy.
About Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA):
The CEDA is the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. Established in 1996 by an Inter-Governmental Agreement as the regional trade and investment promotion agency, the Agency serves the 15 States of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).