Types of Jobs in Animation and Related Fields

Animation Careers in Maryland Overview

The Maryland Film Office has an entire department dedicated to stimulating and strengthening the state’s digital entertainment and emerging media community. Known as "DEEM," an acronym for Digital Entertainment & Emerging Media, the Department encourages the growth of companies specializing in animation, audio and interactive technology, web design, and e-commerce. In addition to having DEEM on its side and being recognized as a major hub for games and interactive technology, the State of Maryland is home to a large community of innovators in the computer gaming industry, a variety of successful digital modeling companies and firms that outrank others in simulation and serious games for application in the education, medical, defense, and training sectors, and primary, secondary, and higher learning institutions that are busy educating the next generation of digital trailblazers.

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Animation Careers in Iowa Overview

 The State of Iowa attracts a good number of animators interested in production, advertising, education, and computer design and technology. Animators interested in computer design and technology may find employment at one of more than 800 technology firms located throughout the state. Those interested in teaching can choose from 66 colleges and universities across the state and more than 1,400 elementary and secondary institutions. 

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Animation Careers in Arkansas Overview

The Arkansas Film Commission has been attracting productions of all kinds from big budget classic films such as Gone with the Wind (1969) and The Firm (1993) to indies such as Three for the Road (1987). The Commission attracts productions by offering a variety of film incentives, as well as access to one of a kind backdrops such swamplands, pine forests, Mount Magazine State Park, and Mammoth Spring State Park. Because Arkansas attracts a number of productions each year, studios are always looking for talented artists—this includes animators. Animators may find work as part of the production team, promotions, and other areas

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Animation Careers in South Carolina Overview

The State of South Carolina has been hosting film productions for nearly 100 years. According to The Augusta Chronicle, one of the state’s earliest films, The Arizona Bandit, was shot on the bluffs of the Savannah River in North Augusta. The year was 1920. Scenes from movies such as Asylum (2008), The Notebook (2004) Radio (2003), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), The Patriot (2000) Rules of Engagement (2000), The Abyss (1989), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Longest Yard (1974), and Deliverance (1972) were filmed here, and dozens more are set to be filmed in cities from Conway to Charleston. Hollywood productions and others come to South Carolina to take advantage of the states’ beautiful landscapes and the South Carolina Film Commissions’ numerous television and film incentives.

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Animation Careers in Arizona Overview

The Arizona Film Office of the Arizona Department of Commerce has a number of major productions to its credit—many are classics. Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007) was filmed in parts of Bullhead City, Kingman, Page, and Yuma, and certain scenes from The Savages (2007) filmed on location in Sun City. The Oscar winning film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) made its way through Chandler, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, and scenes from Star Wars Episodes IV and VI (1977 and 1983), Natural Born Killers (1994), Psycho (1960), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Forrest Gump (1994), Planet of the Apes (1968), Wild Wild West (1999), Wayne’s World (1992) and Casablanca (1942) were filmed here. The Arizona Film Office attracts major productions such as these by offering incentives, access to picturesque shooting locations, and easy access to local talent and staff. As a result, the Arizona film industry continues to thrive, attracting production companies from all over the U.S. and abroad. This includes animation studios. 

In addition to an active film and video industry, the State of Arizona is home to a variety of advertising agencies located in major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson; it is home to the Tucson Animation Screening Society (TASS), which promotes Japanese animation (anime) for the University of Arizona, and it is home to top-rated art and design schools such as the Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA), which offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in animation and the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), which offers a BA in Game Art and Animation.

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Animation Careers in Indiana Overview

Indiana may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of the animation industry, but The Hoosier State does offer a number of benefits for artists that would like to break into the industry without breaking the bank. For starters, Indiana is home to 109 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities, and most are very affordable. Next, many of these schools offer a variety of innovative programs for aspiring animators. Just a few include Indiana University, which offers a BA in New Media, Art, & Technology with a Creative Digital Development Concentration (video, animation, and/or mobile application development), and Ball State University, which offers a BFA with an Emphasis in Animation and an MFA in Animation. 

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Animation Careers in Massachusetts Overview

Massachusetts is one of the most popular states to film movies. The state has hosted hundreds feature films and a long list of Some of the most recent productions include Black Mass (2015), Ted 2 (2015), The Equalizer (2014), Captain Phillips (2013), The Way Way Back (2013), Grown Ups 2 (2013), The Zookeeper (2011), Moneyball (2011), The Fighter (2010) and many more. In addition to offering access to extraordinary locations throughout 351 cities and towns, the Massachusetts Film Office offers generous production tax incentives and access to an arsenal of resources to filmmakers of all kinds—including animation filmmakers. 

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Animation Careers in Oregon Overview 

Portland Oregon hosts one of the biggest animation shows in the U.S. According to the Oregonian, The Northwest Animation Festival features 174 short films from 54 countries, selected by a team of 62 international jurors, all of which will be screened over seven days at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre. The event is still growing after just five years in existence. The year before the 2014 festival, 127 films found their way to the screen, and before that, says the Oregonian, the festival took place over just two to three days. This is just one indication of how fast the animation scene in Oregon has grown over the years.

The Oregon Governor's Office of Film & Television has been around since 1968. Since then, the Office has been involved in animated productions such as ParaNorman (2012), The PJs (1999-2001), and Gary & Mike (2001 and 2003), and major film productions or television series such as Wild (2014), Twilight (2008), Into the Wild (2007) Grimm (2011-Present), Elephant (2002), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2000), and of course, Portlandia (2011-Present), to name a few. 

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Animation Careers in Washington Overview

The State of Washington is home to some of the country’s coolest cities. Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane and Vancouver are just a few. Head to Seattle, where you will find a variety of major art venues such as Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Frye Art Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Olympic Sculpture Park. In Tacoma, digital art studios dot the landscape along with top museums such as Tacoma Art Museum. Even smaller cities such as Bellingham—the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border, and Redmond (population 59,285) have something to offer. The Arts Commission, The Downtown Art Walk, and the Whatcom Museum are popular Bellingham attractions, while the Redmond Arts Commission features theatrical productions in the park, concerts at City Hall, and more than 100 public art displays by local and regional artists.

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Best 100 Animation Studios thumbnail

I’ve been writing about the animation industry for nearly a decade and last year I assembled the rankings for our 2014 Top 100 Most Influential Video Game Studios and 2014 Top 100 Most Influential Animation Studios. This year, I want to create a comprehensive list of the one hundred best studios to work at across all animation industries.

To help research the constantly evolving landscape of the job market, we sent surveys to hundreds of schools asking which studios actively recruited their students as well as which studios most often employed graduates. When choosing which of the hundreds of companies to include, I also considered what projects studios were working on, and even the quality of life at those studios regardless of salary. Studios are listed in alphabetical order:

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