Northern Star: How Canada Has Become a Star in Animation and Children’s Media

Northern Star: How Canada Has Become a Star in Animation and Children’s Media

[Music] so [Music] good [Music] good evening mayor john tory here and welcome to tonight’s panel event in celebration of canadian children’s media day with nelvana telefilm and youth media alliance it’s a pleasure to join you all in recognizing toronto as an industry leader indeed a global epicenter of animation and children’s media to highlight that we’ve also proclaimed children’s media day in the city of toronto further spotlighting the innovation the talent pool and the award-winning projects that we see in and from our city all the time in this area we’ve seen an incredible boom in animation even throughout the pandemic which i know has posed unprecedented challenges for the industry it all started with academic excellence which has made such a huge contribution to this massive growth and to the emergence of toronto as a significant center of innovative imaginative programs so as such i’d like to stress my utmost support for all of your work and my commitment to assisting you into the future everybody in the film animation media business especially in the pandemic recovery i have no doubt you will all continue to do esteemed work recognized around the world that makes toronto so proud and with that i wish you a wonderful evening and i look forward to the day when we can be reunited in person very soon thank you okay so hello everyone and thank you all for joining us today for our canadian children’s media day panel and you know girl canadian children’s media day we’re really excited to kick things off and to start i’ll introduce our moderator for today angela pachenza who is the executive director of the global mail her role includes guiding the newsroom and helping set priorities across all platforms as well as oversight of the programming editing and visual journalism teams she recently helped launch the decibel the golden males daily news podcast and she’s passionate about closing the gap between storytelling and audience so with that angela pass over to you thank you so much uh welcome everyone i’m so pleased to be here for canadian children’s media day before we get started uh i’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that while we’re all gathered virtually the land where many of us are seated today is the traditional territory of many nations including the mississaugas of the credit the anishinaabeg the chippewa the hodeno-noshi and the wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse nations inuit to many diverse first nations inuit and metis people we encourage you to reflect on the history the treaties and traditional keepers of the land we inhabit we’re here today to celebrate canada’s successes and growing position as a trailblazer in the global animation sector for children’s media it’s also nelvana’s 50th anniversary and i think we can all agree that the studio has had a lasting impact on this important industry as a parent who has watched countless hours of programming your programming i know firsthand how important and influential this sector is on our kids our culture and how it shapes the next generation of canadians so today we’re going to talk about how we became this internationally recognized powerhouse um what some of the current challenges are and what the future of the industry is lots to talk about so let’s meet our panel uh we’ll start with athena georgiaclass is the head of development for nelvana in her position athena leads the acquisition of rights and the development of all original content for nelvana some of her projects include the most magnificent thing and the hardy boys live action series she’s worked in the canadian broadcast and production industries for more than 22 years previous shows include johnny test and camp lake bottom both of which were in high rotation in my house um she has a reputation and passion for developing creator-driven content that resonates with kids of all ages and finds a home in all markets uh next up we’ve got francesca achinali she is the vice president of promotion communication and international relations at telefilm canada with a background in theater managing both the production and the promotion of plays and then moving on to the television production world working on big budget tv series francesca’s always been a fan and a proponent of canadian film and television and she has a great ability to build strong relationships with clients she works with the industry to promote canadian successes sorry madali is the film sector developer for the city of toronto she’s responsible for leading developing and delivering initiatives to enhance the global competitiveness of toronto’s screen sector she works with local and global partners such as studios unions content distributors networks government and artists to further enhance these the industry’s footprint in canada and abroad prior to joining the city of toronto she was the senior manager of theatrical programming at the toronto international film festival and last but not least we’ve got ted girvan he has just joined sheridan college as the dean of the prestigious faculty of animation arts and design the renown program is canada’s largest art school ted began his career as a sculptor visual effects artist and lead designer on several film and television projects in canada and abroad always exploring uh the emerging field of computer generated film titus held leadership positions at lasalle college the vancouver film school and capilano university which means he’s had a big hand in shaping canadian talent past present and future okay that is our power panel uh we’re gonna get into it uh and uh please if any of you have questions um feel free to drop them into the chat and we will try to get to them at the end of of the formal part of the panel uh so i want to start with the success of children’s media in canada we we are definitely known internationally for the quality of our programs our talent gets hired all over the world um what do we all think has propelled the success and let’s start with you athena hi thanks angela hi everybody um propelling the success of of uh children’s media content specifically i think can’t deny how the you know the canadian government the provincial governments um telephone canada have really supported canadian content for years um i started my career in 1997. with teletune i started a job as an assistant when the channel was just launching and as it launched it needed content and it needed canadian content because of all the wonderful regulations that we have and so you know studios like novana and others were really uh there to support the needs of our networks and there were multiple networks beyond teletube there’s treehouse and ytv and and family channel and so on and so forth so i think the industry was really given propelled by the need to tell canadian stories to canadian kids and although those regulations might have seemed really drastic or sometimes a little heavy-handed they really did shape our industry and build um all of the talent that came with it um you can’t deny nelvana’s contribution to that being 50 years of animation um started by uh you know three people in 1971 uh who had a passion for animation and you know it is what it is today because of that but um i think that the contribution that the governments have had in funding content has really made the difference here okay and francesca do you agree or or what what else do you think has disagreed no i’m kidding i i i echo athena i think uh you know part of my job is getting to work with international partners and one of the things that you often hear is how amazing the funding system is in in canada broadcasters the shaw rocket fund the canada media fund telefilm canada the provincial agencies uh it’s it’s a wonderful resource for our creators to be able to have i i know that it’s getting more and more competitive and i think that means we’re growing up you know 50 years ago it probably well it was a very different landscape with very few companies and now there are more than a thousand companies and of which there is a huge percentage that are doing more focused on animation and children’s production and i think that for me it’s it’s not just that it’s that we see the demand so that we as funders are putting aside and making sure there’s money to be able to continue to cultivate the rich history that we have here in canada you know i think you know tip of the hat to the national film board but i really do look at nilvana and what novana has been able to establish in canada uh to create the i’ll call it the creme de la creme that allows the success of nilvana for the rest of those organizations all those other offshoots of nilvana you know past employees going across canada to then kind of continue that great uh base uh formation that they had so i think we really have to take a step back and realize we’re quite lucky here in canada have this infrastructure great and magali from your point what what do you think has propelled some of our wins and our successes well certainly uh francesca and athena are are spot on i mean the level of support that government levels throughout the years throughout the decades like we’re talking like toronto canada everybody was known for animation in the 50s already you know like it’s such a long history of it and to have never let go of that and everything oh now it’s doing well so we should you know like let that piece of the film sector go on its own but rather to actually like double down on it has been the only way to have this public private success i will say kids content in canada is probably the sub sector of media that has been the most lucrative and able to really have private investment company companies growing and being able to respond to that global marketplace i think athena you’re going to say or or francesca the one saying um that the demand is now so big and i’m sure we’ll get to the part where everybody consumes a thousand million hours a week of content including kids but it’s been you know a landscape in canada of companies and artists and visionaries that have been able to keep up with that demand and not be crushed by it like the volume of production and animation coming our way in the next five years is nearly scary to look at sometimes it’s also the greatest you know i see nodding heads i’m sure ted for you it’s like you’re building the next generation of workers and artists so i would say it’s that support that has never let go along the way to foster a private sector that is very robust and totally um on top of what’s going on and i would just add is that the diversity within the types of content that is very impressive it’s not just one kind like it’s hard to pinpoint like what’s our style maybe in the 50s with the nfb in the 60s like we could really say like that’s obviously from that time from that country but now it’s all over the place live action shows for young teens all kinds of styles of animations like you good you look at one studio to the next it’s completely all over the place and i would say as long as these companies um keep that balance and that diversity and also fundamentally i do think believe uh that young people are integral to the media landscape and it’s for them by them and it’s a big piece of their education i think that’s you know these are good values to carry and i think that they’ve been you know well anchored over the decades yeah you raised a lot of interesting points and we’ll get to some of them uh soon ted um over to you um are you able to put on enough graduates graduates for all of the the need and the demand that we hear about i think that’s the big opportunity um that that story i’ve been hearing that story for over 15 years of the and i’m sure the studios have been living that story for you know equal if not longer amount of time on the content side and i think um i’m probably jumping way ahead here but i think that kovid 19 has really opened up new possibilities uh in terms of thinking about well not only um you know uh sort of work life uh kind of balance work from home but also like new modalities and so obviously you know the post-secondary institutions were really um i think a silver lining in the last year and a half has really been trying things that we never thought we could do such as delivering animation online for the last year and a half which is what we’ve been doing at sheridan you know in the game program as well um i think it’s we’ve built an incredible model at sheridan uh specifically in animation uh there’s tons of interest in demand for it you know for example we have uh over 1800 applicants a year we review over 1200 portfolios and we accept 150 students and that’s based on the excellence and the reputation and the all the work that all those who came before me have put into um sheridan but when we think about that idea of excellence and you know what is that what does that mean i think there’s a real opportunity here around modalities and access that we can we can really explore um in the coming years ahead and i’m really passionate about it’s something that i i want to see us do you know the idea of a traditional university program being built um two semesters a year summer’s off you have to move there brick and mortar it’s wonderful and it’s working obviously really well but i would love to be able to bring that education to many many more people and and i think there are ways that we can we can take steps towards doing that in a way that really embraces uh uh diversity and inclusivity as well so i’ll stop there i think a couple other quick points just following up on the other speakers there um i think that the studios have played such a vital role like um you know nelvana uh nickelodeon and yam jam others i know they’re working with high schools directly they’re mentoring high school projects doing a lot of great outreach i’m seeing high school students coming out now that that have reels that rival um my demo reel when i graduated from sheridan back in 2000 so i’m seeing some incredible things on that front we have a cluster of world-leading post-secondary institutions in in the country uh sheridan is is a leader among those as well um you know i think back to when i did my education at sheridan back in 2000 and a postgraduate certificate in computer animation and i did that after a four-year fine arts degree you know i had the opportunity graduating to work on a research project that was funded by government um you know my first my first job was creating a film that had entirely cg backgrounds and i think it’s incumbent upon um the educational institutions and sheridan it’s my job to make sure that we’re building those opportunities for applied research that we’re we’re building work integrated learning more into our models and that we’re also you know creating more access opportunities for diverse learners uh in new modalities so there you go big challenge yeah so well that’s a good segue into i was i was going to bring up you know we’ve got all these wins um you know the industry has been set up great but obviously the path to success it’s not always straightforward lots of zigs and zags along the way and i’m wondering if each of you we can talk a little bit about some of these challenges uh for production companies and what they have been um athena perhaps we can begin with you sure um do you want to talk about challenges this year or tone i mean challenges this year for sure but i’m even thinking just even before this year started you know we we saw the growth of streaming services competition um you know uh yeah all kinds of things funding i mean you know yeah and there are so many challenges but so many more opportunities that come with that i think we’ve you know established that the industry here is rich and thriving and content creators are putting great ideas together and there are studios like novena who are helping those um creators really build their shows and um and and and looking for artists to team them up and um you know if i start small the you know the studio challenges to ted’s point um they they’re finding talent right now is a big one that’s a very um real um challenge for us and it’s today it’s every day for the next you know year how are we going to get um the artists that we need to make the things that we’re able to make so we’re in a privileged position to be able to produce multiple um shows and we are looking for talent and but so are all the other great studios uh in canada and so great to be an artist um wish we could multiply them really quickly but we’ll get there um i i think that um there are audiences are watching content everywhere and anywhere and they’re i think really challenging um not only broadcasters but streaming services and everywhere else um to find more great content um the issue is how are we going to continue to fund that content um i think you know clearly nelvana’s part of the chorus family multiple networks that and broadcasters that help fund original content um that br that business has been struggling for you know not only canada north america and around the world because of that competition from streaming services so the challenge will be for nelvana and for other studios to continue to create great content you know by being able to fund them in different ways so for us in particular we’ve made alliances with nickelodeon and with discovery kids latin america and and and more to come we’re working with mattel and other so and this is not just us it’s multiple studios so we can create brands that will will find an audience whether it’s on linear television or not so um there are are multiple challenges and then the covet thing and the pandemic the challenge was immediate but boy did we figure that out quickly like it took that for us to realize that in two or three weeks we can be fully functional um with people i was gonna say kids uh with artists working from home um and and and really being able to deliver the content they were able to deliver in the off in the studio before so um i i think that everything has changed in the last year and the opportunities are only growing yeah okay uh francesca what about uh from your your your world uh i think in in general in terms of you know telephone’s focus is feature films uh even though we help we we administer the canon media fund so we see a lot of television coming through our our ranks and we uh uh administer co-production treaties as well but i think that the two is it takes a as we know it takes a long time to to to make a film and then you add on to that the budget of uh the cost of it and it’s not television you know feature films are kind of a unique unto themselves uh they can sell but it’s a very different model than a consistent sort of staffing up for a television series which gives people a longer period of time to be able to be making a significant amount of money so budgets for sure i think you know more often than not budgets can undercut themselves because they’re trying to fit into the financing model and they often say well i know that telefilm canada only has x amount so i’ll you know i’ll adjust my budget and i think where and this sort of builds ted off of what you’re saying where we now have to be even more mindful is there is a new generation of people coming from underrepresented groups that don’t have say that base or that foundation where maybe they have more of um uh malzahamadov they have more of that kind of flexibility to be to be able to do more on spec to to maybe sort of spread the costs over a longer period of time and i think that’s what telefilm is being more mindful of you know when we’re looking at this world of of equity and what we see you know athena to your point we’re seeing global audiences so it’s what’s the best content out there i mean i have two teenagers they don’t care where it’s from they just want to watch really good content and they’re no longer they’re watching only on platforms you know i can’t i can’t sit them in front of you know the treehouse or tell a tune anymore and say stay here and watch uh but i think that’s the most amazing opportunity for canada because we’re already there our content is spectacular telefilm you know we finance um uh uh legelda took or race time which when it came out years ago it actually beat out when star wars was relaunching in quebec because people couldn’t wait to see that animated film we have it you know and even in terms of our feature uh films i’ll just throw live action because this can you know the media day the indigenous lead film beans is in cinemas right now so if i can do a call and ask everyone that has children i would say sort of 10 plus in that teen it’s it’s an incredible indigenous story led by a woman named tracy dear so they’re coming and the what excites me the most is animation in particular allows for characters that just represent whatever you want them to represent so what an incredible way for us to be teaching our children about inclusivity uh about uh people that are diversely able there’s there’s such an amazing opportunity and going back to why canada is successful if we go back to the beginning i think canada has always been known to take on these challenges we have produced some of the most incredible uh you know television shows and feature films that push the boundaries and we treat children and youth as they should be treated and we don’t talk down to them we’ve found these incredible ways an incredible product that the world wants to to see so i’m exci i’m excited in terms of discoverability we’ve i it’s probably been my personally res on death the telefilm uh we’ve done a lot of work around discoverability just as kovid was hitting we launched it’s a discoverability tool called see it all where people can discover mostly canadian films a lot of animation shows up there but we worked really hard with the made new campaign and my friends at the academy however we can just get the attention and get people excited to watch the content that’s it we only have five seconds so there better be a link to where people can can watch and watch it legitimately we don’t want our children we want our you know we want people to be paying into the content again so this we can continue doing this work rejuvenate it yeah ted in terms of the challenges you talked a little and and a few people have brought up this the pipeline and who’s coming up um you know in education there’s there’s an obvious cost barrier sometimes to getting in when you think about diversity and inclusion what role do you think um the education sector plays in that it’s huge it’s in really important um i mean just living expenses alone are such a limiting factor for um diverse learners and uh families individuals that maybe their economic circumstance uh is a little bit um on the lower side if you want to if i want to call it that um you know i we want to build models that work for everyone we want to build education that can meet learners where they are at the level and that the place in life that they’re at so i think i think that diversity inclusion is really important we have to look at it from all angles so how do we recruit diverse teachers how do we enroll students for diversity and and there’s a lot that goes along with that through the hiring practices particularly when we’re in complex organizations such as a public post-secondary where you know there are collective agreements uh and things of that nature to sort of work through um i think gen z and gen y learners are are really mission and meaning driven so you know another how do we build an inclusive community of practice they expect and you know i see a leaders in the industry uh emerging in this space as well and i put novana um as one of them with all the edi related initiatives that i i’ve seen uh them doing over the years and there are others i think that the platform again is is really important so if we think about an online course we’ve probably all done them at some point uh in the last decade um you know often it’s a um you know a platform like this for you know connecting and then there could be an lms like a like where there’s a repository of course materials that you sort of work through um how can we shift that from that sort of model to more of a community and to what um the youth are are used to in the platforms that they engage in how can it be more gamified how can it be truly a community forum um you know where it’s designed sorry here my dog universal design elements uh searchable transcribed lectures that you can search up problems and vote up uh you know answers to questions and use the most popular kind of answer all those types of considerations need to go on in the future of the other programs we model obviously there’s a lot of there’s a lot to work through in terms of technology and i.t which i think is something we’re all we all experience in our different workplaces as well and so there’s definitely some hurdles and and things to work through there and then i think about also um you know how could uh a traditional college age going student that is say 18 or 19 um maybe they’re taking a longer program but could someone from industry come in and just take four or five courses from that program that are sort of at the upper end of the program that are a micro-credential or it’s you know it’s a re-skilling program so i think we have we have to think about again just meeting the complexity of our learners at all stages of their life yeah that’s a lot of a lot to think about um [Music] okay so we are here to celebrate though um so i know there’s a lot of challenges but just to get back to a little bit of the celebrate celebrating i i’d love to hear um maybe um mangaly you you can answer this one for me is um you know what is something that um we should be really proud of in terms of of what we’ve done in in the last in the last while you know let’s say five years you’ve got a friend there’s so much to be proud of obviously i think it’s uh it’s great to name shows i think we should all like kind of maybe like name the show that when we were kids they turned us like things like that that i think like really put the color to what what it is we’re all doing and some shows were named already but for me like babar was a huge part of my upbringing um and here’s a company that did something that was gonna serve like the french and france the francophones in canada and then the english speakers as well you know it was translated in so many languages ultimately around the world so these kinds of stories that really and you know i don’t think i knew back then it was made here like i don’t know that can’t really remember but afterwards once you enter the industry and get to know all that uh that was something for me that was huge and i would say something that we should really be proud of is and i sort of alluded to it earlier is uh the values that are often embedded in the shows from here you know we all talk about diversity inclusion and hiring and this and that but often it’s in the stories like that are told and the writers that are hired to write these shows and the artists that are at the table developing it uh within companies or for higher name it but i and i think that that’s we should be proud of how it’s gone in the past few years it’s really ramped up but i think there’s a lot of very significant efforts that are really starting to show in companies where governments invest who gets like who hires where who goes to school i think the demographic i’m sure uh ted could attest like the demographics of students have changed significantly over the years and it’s getting really impressive um to see who’s coming out of that in the background that they bring to the table and i would say on a more i guess economics business level of pride for you know i work for the city of toronto and all i do is promote and sell for to attract creative businesses here in film and tv is the ability for toronto and honestly canada at large uh to have been able to capitalize creatively and financially on the global uh boom of content like we really have kept up we turn away in fact we turn away hundreds of millions of dollars in content production every single year because we just are at capacity and on the workforce just my little known on workforces we’re like for toronto region alone imagine the rest of canada with vancouver montreal calgary developing an industry big time in the past years like they really ramped up the east coast like name it um for toronto alone we’re gonna need like upwards of 15 000 new film and tv workers that’s probably a couple thousand in kids content of the past over the next five years with the amount of studios that are built the amount of production that is coming our way including animation vfx and post so it’s the right time so if we’re proud of the growth we’ve been managed to sort of like create and then capitalize on and it’s kind of like chicken and egg thing uh there’s a lot of opportunity ahead it’s not easy to go get 15 000 workers like we all i think on this panel and probably people watching agree that it’s like a sexy amazing industry but you do have to also go convince people that these are very viable careers there’s a lot of pathways and demystifying the pathways that you don’t always need four years of education for there’s hundreds of roles to be occupied good salaries very stable industry so i think that’s if we want to look back in five years and be proud is continue the serious ramp up on diversity because the content just gets better and when we do that and really prepare and attract people we have to go get them at a fairly young age to enter careers like these but babar babar for sure okay well in in the interest of of name dropping um why don’t we do a little lightning round um among yourselves um things that maybe you’re looking forward to uh we we’ve had uh beans was sort of referenced but um you know maybe something in children’s media or your organization that is coming out in the next year that you’re super pumped about uh athena do you wanna you wanna go first so i’m just gonna say edison twins was my series when i was growing up and when i started in melbourne and realized we made it i couldn’t believe it and then i was working i’ve been working with andrew savaston on the show because he’s a writer now and he was one of the twins and crazy um and uh so i’m sorry your question what am i oh yes in the next year what’s coming out but that’s good yeah so many great things so um um uh we are um we’re really in the feature film space and francesca with knocking on your doorstep um and and we’re we’re developing max and ruby into feature we’re so excited about that it’s a whole new ball game for us um we have second season of the hardy boys live-action series in production for kids and families um we’ve been so incredibly proud of that show working with joan lamber and lamber productions on the on the uh and live-action side but i think most of all um through this pandemic we have still put shows in production they’ll be launching in the next year and all of it most of it was done without anyone being in the same room and i think we are so pleased with it and and just you know one more thing to say about the canadian pride our shows are in 180 countries i mean not just now venus everyone’s um we have a rockstar industry the biggest kid show in the world paw patrol is um from canada so there’s so much for us to be proud of and i think just keeping that momentum is what we’re trying to do original canadian ip that we will still be able to distribute in more than 180 countries yeah wonderful uh francesca you can name drop a little bit more what are you looking forward to coming out in the next year i just i i just wikipedia because i was like oh but she already bagley already took babar and of course the edison twins um i and i know that this is uh you know we’re talking about children’s media but i i didn’t realize according to this the 20-minute workout was done by nelvana so i just like to reference that i find this i have just learned something uh right here right now so that definitely influenced influenced me in my and my uh my life uh listen i i telefilm where the past couple of weeks we’re starting to make our production decisions and and there’s this whole new momentum of things getting made and you know on top of that uh we’ve spent a lot of time uh promoting the export of it so you know for example can just showed my very own circus butterfly tails uh we have the the mifa which is the annecy animation festival all of these things happen and canada is always there and uh i don’t think we take time enough like athena said we don’t take actually time enough to realize the impact that canadian stories canadian creators canadian content has had on a global stage you can go anywhere in the world and there’ll be some version of something that was created and can’t paw patrol aside there’s so many other incredible uh not just animation but the sinking ship content that’s out there marble media content that’s out there that’s just to name a few that is transforming the you know we we trust these people enough to put our children in front of a screen and that says a lot in you know in this kind of plethora of choice i i’m interested to see now that parents are really they they are tuning in they know that there’s a stamp of approval with certain content that was created by nilvana and some of our other canadian production entities because they know that they’re they’re putting their children in front of content that matters uh and and i think we shouldn’t forget uh forget about that um yeah very very important um some of you have raised my children so yes thank you um um ted what about you what what are you looking forward to um in the next year well i i want to do a shout out as well for nelvana children’s productions um when my doc my daughter’s 11 now and she’s definitely an art enthusiast a creative um we used to watch you know many many a late night i’d wake up and we’d be on the couch and you know watching shows like thomas and friends peppa pig and max and ruby those were her favorites um so one i want to shout that out there you know i’m really looking forward to seeing more students on campus this fall um learning my new role at sheridan and seeing even more students on campus in january uh i’m so excited that um domi she uh the female director and toronto um uh toronto resident uh an academy award winner of bao uh it has directed uh this new feature turning red that’s coming out and uh it’s based in toronto which is just so great for the city uh she’s a young female animator and director which i think sets an amazing example for for uh other young uh women to aspire to uh and girls and for all animators to aspire to that level of um of success i think i think this is a really important uh kind of moment in the history of uh canadian animation uh and i think it’s one we’re going to look back on as another catalyst and i could think of others in the industry um you know throughout time and this is going to be a big one great um okay i just want to remind everyone you’re you’re welcome to drop uh questions in the chat that we can put to our panel uh and um uh magali you you started this lightning round i’m going to give you one more turn um in terms of um what you’re looking forward to in toronto or i would say in the short term is the paw patrol movie it’s august 19th a feature length based on a total success story i think we all very much know that coming to theaters like movies in the theater like the whole thing is just so amazing uh i’m not sure who’s i’m gonna take it i’ll actually have kids around so i’m just gonna go totally cool and uh so i very much look forward to that i love um that you guys are developing another feature at nelvana i love the hearty boys so much and that’s uh totally all made in ontario i’ve actually like the whole thing is so great to mix uh to have projects in live action for certain age range and then others in in uh in animation and next year i have to say uh ted uh turning red by domishi that’s gonna be a huge deal huge deal that this film was made the rapidity after her short film that is the kind of wild when we say like the wild boom that’s also what happens like you make a short film an extraordinary one you end up you know you graduate you end up at the oscars and then you have a feature with that’s like these studios it is unbelievable and as you said it’s all set in toronto like i don’t know if you’ve seen the trailer and stills but like you’ll recognize parks here and there we’re all over this and we really want to do something big with them there’s a lot of there’s so much to celebrate in that project um so i would say yes it’s the it’s the big uh i would say it’s actually the features because uh you know there’s a lot of episodic content and it’s great but i think it’s great to get back to some feature films and those are often the ones that really uh will stick in time in like cultural landscapes like we when the breadwinner did everything it did like it’s that’s you really remember those times so i think there’s big anchoring and feature films for culture yeah great thank you um a question from from our audience um athena this one is for you how how have studios like novana do you think fostered positive work environments for women in animation obviously getting more women into some of these um roles can be challenging um so i guess can you give us some thoughts on that great question and and i think we can’t deny how sheridan and other schools have been really actively uh recruiting students so there’s a gender parody and if you walk through the studio before the pandemic the floor was really well balanced i think we were really proud of what we were able to do from an animation standpoint multiple artists who have really come in uh young female artists with all the talent and um so many opportunities um so i i don’t worry about where we’re going i do worry about where we are when it comes to some of the more senior roles in animation so we as well as other studios have been actively mentoring um female artists who are ready to take the more senior role to be directors or art directors or you know so on and so forth supervising producers really giving them show running opportunities content creating opportunities that that haven’t opened up to them quickly enough and so that’s been a a real opportunity for us and we’ve been working on that for a while other studios as well if we can do that faster get more female directors animation directors ready to take on series ready to take on feature films um i think we’ll all be better for it and we have senior directors who are uh mentoring and um and we’re opening opportunities for uh women to step into roles and to to not only get the mentorship but also then to get the show that they they can direct or episodes that they can direct so active active and the same for equity and diversity beyond that culturally and so there’s a lot of work being done we are putting as much effort as we can into it so that we can change these um issues in in balance um really for the more senior roles i think that artists coming in are going to change the f have changed the fabric of all of that but we want to push that forward um in on the senior levels leadership yeah a question here about um pipeline and the success of artists and producers here how do we keep the talent in canada um keep them away from going to the states or to to europe or whatnot um who wants to tackle that question um ted maybe you see a lot of these students you know graduates kind of moving around how do we keep them in canada well i mean there’s opportunities to i think bring more talent to canada um both in multiple ways domestically and internationally um i think again it’s it involves uh you know looking at pathways uh and partnerships trying to um break down the edges of how we traditionally build programs um in that sort of degree model and how can we do on-ramps and off-ramps how can we ladder students from shorter programs at other institutions into our program how can we um work even you know more closely with private institutions and helping those uh esp particularly uh international graduates um obtain a sheridan education so that they could be eligible for a postgraduate work permit i think there’s a lot of important work to be done with the high schools as well and bridging the edges there with programs such as dual credit programs mentorship programs which i’ve seen some really amazing examples of in the last number of years and you know really just trying to help students again that helps as well with the equity piece um because if we can partner with the high schools and do things like dual credit we can actually help uh reduce the cost of education when students get here reduce um decisions that maybe weren’t the best you know really making sure that those those bridging programs help repair students so that they’re not investing a ton of education and not being the right the right fit as well okay thank you yeah um you know um magaly mentioned you know this we’re going to need 15 000 workers in in the next five years and so that that is quite exciting um we’ve we’ve got a couple of questions about how to get into the industry or how to pitch stories um and i wonder um if if we can maybe touch on that a little bit um do you want to take that one you sort of mentioned we got to keep people here and and fill jobs i would say i think it’s so it’s okay to to be okay with people leaving too it is a huge global industry and it’s a perennial question like keep canadian in canada and in a way a lot of the best or whatever i don’t know if they’re the best necessarily but a lot of people that have made it in hollywood as well also come back and do projects here i would say especially in animation a lot of people that have left do a few projects there or spend several years there a lot of these companies end up opening headquarters or extensions of their offices back here later on what we’re i think what we’re selling people is not just the competitive salary because that is difficult to keep up with when the market is what it is now each company offers a company culture of some kind um and creative freedoms that might be not replicable elsewhere we offer i mean for toronto anyway a very cosmopolitan city that is very diverse by nature much more than any american city uh can offer you know there’s there’s a whole ecosystem that that should be desirable that we all strive to promote and as i said like i promote toronto and i promote certainly of course physical studios and infrastructure but a lot of it is also like the nature of the city like the music scene the food scene the art scene like everything else that comes with being here and the ecosystem that you tap into within your industry but also outside of it like the reason we all love to live in the cities we we choose to live in so there’s something there in terms of the pathways uh the demystifying i think of the industry is like are a huge well not a huge challenge it’s actually it’s actually not a hard challenge when you think of it we just really all have to do kind of a part of it and um it’s to explain the roles what they require as a minimum in terms of training how much that costs like not just talking vagaries i think telling people like look for these types of jobs in animation for a colorist for a rigger for you know to be very precise this is on average the salary you might expect one day the amount of gigs you might get unless you work full-time at a company as an employee um and this is the minimum training you need if it’s a six-month sort of technical training or if it’s a four-year program with them more upskilling through time people should be ready for that i think it’s the great unknown of people not understanding both in kids entertainment but like certainly also just how do i work on a set like where do i go what are unions how do they work do i need to be union so it’s that stuff like as a tiny side little note i will say like we’re we will publish as the city of toronto in the coming two months a sort of like entry point guideline like the few hundreds of titles of jobs in pre-production production and post animation basic requirements for each and the entry points for each in terms of training and a lot of it is training at community groups levels like it there’s the whole gamut like you can really spend a lot or not too much time in training and find a pathway so i think you know without going into all the pathways tonight um i think that that’s the piece is for people that are interested in certain parts of it to start familiarizing themselves with the training path at community not-for-profit groups at film festivals that might have sort of entry 101s uh what companies are the leading companies to start picturing what the landscape looks like um and start consuming the content that you wish to make one day sort of thing so there’s there’s a lot of i’m not sure that it’s very helpful everything i’m saying but you know it’s it’s really like dig a little bit to see how much work there will be in you know towards certain jobs if i might follow up i think you know the other part there the two other things i guess in my very way long career is you know we’re just now getting back to making animated feature films that’s really been say the last five years so a number of our brain drain left because their whole reason of go doing animation was to make animated features so we have this amazing opportunity for that to happen i think the other thing we’ve learned as a nation is we you know and this is a credit to sheridan because i’ve been at a few events in in los angeles where they’re keeping in contact with their graduates all along and i think we often just let people go and then you know they’re nominated for an oscar and it’s like oh i’m gonna come back in and i think now what we’re doing is we’re just saying we know you’re you know you’re you’re happy there how else can we help you and i think that’s a little bit of what telephone’s been trying to do as well is how do we work with our creators that are now based somewhere else and can they even be that opening access you know those based in los angeles or in france or someone else could you help someone else get started there and just sometimes just that reflection of oh canada cares about me because it’s it’s the same trend you know kind of transparency and that demystification that magalie is talking about once people leave they feel forgotten and no one’s paying attention to their success and i think we’re getting better and better at staying connected i always say like as a fundraiser you don’t go to so you have to stay with them the whole time you can’t go to them you know when they’re making it big they need to know that you’ve been in their their corner the entire time and i would echo magaly in terms of what we all need to do is talk in plain english stop talking like we’re talking to experts in anything and and really show what’s the true value proposition because there’s generations out there that have no idea that they may actually like one part of this work and um i telephone 2 has been working actively more in bc we’ve been working with capilano and the women in view to actually continue to bolster women in animation in particular women of color in animation and i still i think we’re going to start seeing more more indigenous uh creators more black uh women of color so it’s it’s kind of a great time but it’s like don’t take your foot off the gas and let’s just we have to just keep focused on giving them the tools of success great yeah that sounds fantastic um um athena i’m gonna throw over to you in terms of pitching um if you offer any if you have any advice to offer on on pitching stories and how to get your ideas heard so that they can be greenlit sure i mean pitching is always a really tricky thing um it feels it seems like the you know doors are really shut and it’s hard to get in and i i can appreciate that that is it’s just it’s just about finding one person to talk to who’s then going to introduce you to someone else so i encourage people to do that reach out to me and i can you know connect you with the person who takes care of all the pitches on our side novan is a studio like all other studios we’re looking for great content and we’re looking for content creators who can be a part of their own show and have a real um active participation in it whether they are writers or directors or artists and um animators so you just need to find the right person to talk to and talk to as many people as you can who will guide you there um and if you are pitching to nelvana you can reach out to us if you’re pitching to a network then you need a more refined pitch so um you can come to a studio with a script or a treatment and no designs or designs and no treatment we can talk about content in that way but if you want to reach out to a broadcaster or a streaming service you really need to put something together that is a little more uh polished this is where studios like novana can help so um go to the festivals they’re all virtual now go to every single one talk to whoever will listen and look i pitch all the time development is an exercise in um like just disappointment because most of the time you hear no but sometimes you hear a yes and that one yes it just drives everyone right that’s that’s all you need to go forward so um don’t be shy uh content people love to talk about content so just start the conversation yeah and you make a great point about how um as you know covid covet 19’s made a lot of things virtually it has in some way level the playing field for a lot of folks because some of the barriers that were there before don’t exist anymore so that’s that’s a great uh that’s a great and we’ve only got a couple of minutes and i just wanted to go through all of you for for final you know 30 second thoughts before we close up here um ted do you want to start with you yeah for for adults and youth uh you know thinking about a career in the creative economy i just want to say i don’t think there’s ever been a better time and you know listening to this panel um uh all these powerhouse uh women in their respective fields and roles you can see how real these opportunities are and i i also echo that message of i just encourage you to be curious and to you know if you’re looking at how do i dip my toe in how do i i learn more you know take a summer course uh take a camp at sheridan uh read books uh go to these festivals and check out what’s happening at these companies and and just you know keep keep looking we’re in a we’re in an era now where you can um you know learn so much just just even from your home and from your computer when you get serious and you’re you know you’re really looking at a bigger commitment to post-sec talk to faculty go to open houses and and really you know make sure that you’re finding the right fit for you there’s there’s so many great opportunities out there and um and there’s a whole bunch of shared and i’m gonna do that plug but there’s there’s a lot of really good programs out there in canada all across the country and a number of them have been named here today as well so keep looking it’s a good time thank you um final final words that was awesome i love what you just did it was great um yes it’s the right time to get into this business if you know one thing that has been for years kind of like plaguing the industry is that basically like kids or youth could not really explain to their parents that these were viable pathways for them it was kind of like oh your sort of artsy dream on the side it’s like no longer this is one of the only sector that thrived during covid that was completely stabled after three weeks nearly like as athena said it was unbelievably quick how um fast uh it could keep going um and if you have a hard time explaining that i think starting to read a lot about industry news like i’ve always loved to read like indie wire and playback if you’re in canada and all the trades to kind of start feeling like you know a little bit more what’s going on i think you’ll feel more confident about that check all the programs that exist and the kind of outcomes often institution will track students and they become sort of their poster kids like what can happen after and that’s really good to see and i will say one thing that’s really amazing for uh content development in kids um for kids specifically is that kids for the past what like five eight years uh now pick themselves what they watch as i don’t know who said like i can’t just plot my kids in front of the channel that i picked or the movie that’s on tv that night they pick so the content creation is really to go get them less than it used to be about getting their parents so that’s pretty cool that’s a huge responsibility and opportunity and like i would never want to be responsible for that this is this is legit heart amazing stuff that someone can can go put in kids heads on screen so to know that they kind of have more autonomy and they have the tools and the technology really like in their actual hands to do it is very cool so i think that angle to say like you will have the kind of that kind of creative power is really cool it’s really exciting fantastic thank you uh francesca some final quick words uh one i you know in terms of those aspiring out there to do any type of media as athena said there are festivals now it’s because they’re online they cost not a lot of money uh there’s free content out there watch watch the content i think it’s so important and through that you see a short you like and you want to meet the person reach out to them because as athena said content people like to talk and more often than not they’re ready to sort of share their experience with you they’re you know ready to sort of talk about their path uh never doubt the importance of doing a a coffee chat or a zoom chat many of us are available and we’re we really are happy to do it and for everybody else who’s not seeking to be in the industry just please watch go out and watch please go to the cinemas this is my plug for cinemas but the cinemas now are open in ontario please go and and bring your families back or go back and and watch our content um it’s fragile feature films are fragile and we need all of you to help us to to keep feature films alive and robust and engaged that’s my but yay i didn’t mean to bring it down but yes it’s great that’s great thank you so much and uh athena happy anniversary to you and now we will we will end with you uh find some final words before we wrap um remember that kids decide i think francesca you said it and maggie you said it as well kids are our compass we create for them um treat them with respect understand what they watch and why um there is no accident that youtube is successful right now with kids of six plus um and there’s a reason for that so as we continue to um understand what kids love to watch and how we tell great stories and we create for them i think we’ll always be successful we just can’t forget that they are to magley’s point more autonomous than they ever have before but um they are our compass they’ll continue to be that wonderful thank you so much um this panel has been um so informative and amazing and gives me great hope um for for our future to continue our successes thank you everyone watching for joining us today um you can expect an email with a video link to this session and uh some upcoming nelvana events uh we’ll all will be sent to all of you so look for that in the in the coming days so thank you again everyone and uh we’ll see you soon thank you thanks for watching [Music] you
rn

Northern Star: How Canada Has Become a Star in Animation and Children\'s Media

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *