The Miramichi Leader is reporting that FatKat has helped attract another small animation firm to the Miramichi. I still think there is potential to have a nice little animation cluster in the ‘Chi. A number of graduates of the animation program at the NBCC up there have gone on to do some neat stuff. Maybe George Donovan, a graduate, could be wooed back there with an expansion some day? I see that a couple of his current guys have worked on VeggieTail which are very popular with my kids.
I think the point is to cast a broad vision here. Fowler might worry that bringing in more firms might inflate wages or lead to raiding of his staff (I don’t know this, I never met him) but I think the onus is on the NBCC and maybe even UNB to figure out a path that would lead to a steady stream of talented animators and programmers to feed a serious development strategy.
How about this as a back of the napkin strategic plan?
Goal: 700 animators in the ‘Chi by 2015 with an average annual salary of $70k+.
Attract at least 2-3 medium sized (~100 people or so) animation studios from outside.
Foster the growth of the current and new animation studios.
Develop a competitive tax incentive regime (with BC and Nova Scotia forget about trying to compete with Quebec).
Set up a centre of excellence in animation at the NBCC Miramichi and have some interesting research projects.
Look at ways to leverage and support the sector in other segments of government and the local economy.
Try and leverage our bilingual attributes in the process.
Attract a couple of large scale animation conferences to New Brunswick every year.
I am sure that some folks could poke holes in my little strategy here but at least agree with me that it is a better long term approach than flying folks out to Fort McMurray for weeks on end. That may inject money into the local economy but the medium and longer term implications of that long distance work migration will not be positive.