Alabama has an art and design scene that highlights art museums such as Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Birmingham Museum of Art, Huntsville Museum of art, and Mobile Museum of Art. The state is also home to dozens of contemporary art galleries, design centers, and performing arts venues, as well as an active film office. The Alabama Film Office offers incentives, easy access to beautiful locations, and an endless amount of resources for filmmakers. This attracts productions of all kinds to the state. Just a few include Selma (2014), Failure to Launch (2006), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and Big Fish (2003).
Thanks to a lively arts and culture scene, and an active film office, aspiring animators can expect to find opportunities in multimedia art and animation and film production, as well as advertising, public relations, marketing, graphic design, web design, game design, and even education. In fact, Alabama is home to 75 Title IV Degree-Granting colleges and universities as well as 1,640 elementary and secondary schools, which offer plenty of opportunities to teach.
Continue reading to learn more about job opportunities for Alabama-based animators, the best program options for aspiring animators, and what to expect in the areas of employment and salary trends.
Employment and Salary Trends for Alabama Animators
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest state occupational employment and wage estimates on March 30, 2016. According to the report, Alabama is home to 16,260 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations, down from 18,770 in 2010. Around 140 Alabama-based ADESM professionals are salaried multimedia artists and animators averaging $64,060 per year, up from 70 in 2010 when the average salary was $47,340.
Nationwide, the median annual wage for animators and multimedia artists was $63,970 as of March 30, 2016 and overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2014-2024 decade. This is as fast as average for all occupations. It is important to note that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the second highest concentration of employment (not highest employment level) in the nation for animators and multimedia artists. This means it’s safe to assume that Alabama has an even larger population of animators and multimedia artists. Further, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” typically earn more than their salaried counterparts. According to the BLS, they average $70,080 per year.
The top five highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:
- California ($82,810)
- Washington ($80,460)
- Connecticut ($77,860)
- Massachusetts ($74,440)
- District of Columbia ($74,230)
The industries with the highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
- Software Publishers
- Cable and Other Subscription Programming
- Specialized Design Services
The industries with the highest levels of employment are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Software Publishers
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Other Information Services
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services ($85,750)
- Other Information Services ($82,940)
- Software Publishers ($76,920)
- Professional Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers ($75,540)
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($74,960)
The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Animation Career Opportunities in Alabama
Alabama is home to a variety of creative agencies, PR firms, production studios, technology companies, academic institutions, and other places that may hire animators. Just a few options include:
- 24 Communications, Montgomery
- Big Communications, Birmingham
- Cayenne Creative, Birmingham
- Hummingbird Ideas, Mobile
- Intermark Group, Birmingham
- Lewis Communications, Mobile
- Longleaf Studios, Jacksonville
- Luckie & Company, Birmingham
- Red Sky Studios, Birmingham
- Red Square Agency, Mobile
Besides the top three largest cities in Alabama (Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile), aspiring animators should consider exploring other major cities such as Huntsville (#4), Tuscaloosa (#5), Hoover (#6), Dothan (#7), Auburn (#8), Decatur (#9), and Madison (#10).
Alabama Animation Training Programs
Alabama is home to several schools that offer animation programs or animation as part of the curriculum. A few of the best include The University of Montevallo (Montevallo, AL), Virginia College-Huntsville, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). The College of Fine Arts-Department of Art at University of Montevallo offers a BA, BS or BFA in Art. According to the Department, “studies will encompass a wide range of processes, from large format digital imaging to video installation and animation, and will continue to expand as new art forms emerge and new resources become available.” Students will take advanced courses in the areas of animation, 3D animation, experimental video, sound, and exploration of the Internet as an art tool and environment.
Virginia College offers a BS in 3D Imaging and Animation, while the Department of Theater at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a film program that highlights animation and new media coursework. UAH Department of Art, Art History, and Design offers a BFA in Art with a Digital Animation Concentration (DAC BFA) (pending NASAD approval Spring 2016). Students can also take digital animation courses as electives or as part of the BA in Art - Studio Concentration, Studio Art Minor, or Game Production Minor.
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, France, and Online via SCAD eLearning
Awesome Animation Fact: One of the 150,000 color cells from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was sold in 1991 for $203,000! –FunFactsAbout.net