Officially nicknamed “The Constitution State” in 1959, Connecticut has its fair share of firsts from the very first cigars made in America to the first color TV. The state produced the nation’s first law school, the first telephone book, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine was built in Groton, the state was the first to issue permanent license plates for cars, and the first commercial U.S. telephone exchange opened in New Haven.
Connecticut is one of the few states that continues to publish more than 144 different newspapers and it runs the oldest newspaper in America—the Hartford, which began as a weekly newspaper in 1764. The state is a leader when it comes to innovation and accepting new ideas, so it’s not surprising that Connecticut is also home to an active film office that offers excellent incentives for digital animation production companies. This attracts productions from all over the U.S., which spells “opportunity” for aspiring animators.
Just a few Connecticut production studios include Blue Sky Studios, Greenwich; Sono Studios, Norwalk; Connecticut Film Center, Stamford; Palace Production Center, South Norwalk; P&P Studios, Inc., Stamford, and Televerse Studios, Stamford. A 495,000+/- square feet production studio with nine soundstages (175,000 square feet) is also in the works. If all goes well, Connecticut Studios will be located at the intersection of I-291 and Route 5 in South Windsor.
In addition to a growing film and animation scene, Connecticut is home to a number of top creative firms that hire animators. Just a few include Akins Marketing & Design, New London; Cronin and Company, Glastonbury; Deltron Designs, Bethel; GO Media, Hartford; Mascola Group, New Haven; Mintz + Hoke, Avon; Planet 12, Manchester, and GEM Advertising, New Haven.
Finally, the state has a nice collection of colleges that offer the opportunity to study everything from Media Arts to Illustration to Film. In addition to areas in the film and animation industries, these majors prepare students to work in advertising, game art and design, web design, graphic design, and more.
Connecticut Animation Schools
Connecticut is home to 47 Title IV Degree-Granting colleges and universities. Enrollment is more than 200,000, with thousands enrolled in art and design programs. Just a few of the state’s top art and design schools include Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Paier College of Art, and Hartford Art School. Of the state’s 47 Title IV’s, more than a dozen offer programs that may be a good fit for aspiring animators. Here you go.
Western Connecticut State University - Degrees Offered: BA Media Arts with a Focus in Media Production
Fairfield University - Degrees Offered: BS Film, Television & Media Arts
Sacred Heart University – Degrees Offered: BFA Art and Design with a Concentration in Illustration or Studio Arts; BS Media Arts with a Concentration in Film, Television and Media; Film and Television Minor
Paier College of Art – Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration, BFA, Diploma Fine Arts
Quinnipiac University – Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Film, Television + Media Arts, BFA Interactive Digital Design; Dual BA or BS/MS Interactive Media; MS Interactive Media (online) with a Concentration in Multimedia Production
Central Connecticut State University – Degrees Offered: BS Communications with a Filmmaking Emphasis
Southern Connecticut State University – Degrees Offered: BS Communication with a Concentration in Film, Television, & Digital Production
Connecticut College - Degrees Offered: BS, Minor Film Studies
Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration, Drawing
University of Connecticut - Degrees Offered: BFA Digital Media Design-DMD (students explore 2D animation, 3D Animation and Visualization, Video Production, Game Design, and more); BFA Individualized Program (Film Studies is an Option); BFA Art with a Concentration in Illustration or Communication Design; Film Studies Minor
Hartford Art School – BFA Illustration, Media Arts; MFA Illustration
University of New Haven - Degrees Offered: BA, BS Communication, Film, & Media Studies
Several community colleges offer animation programs. They include Middlesex Community College (MXCC) in Bedford, which offers a Gaming and Animation program, Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, which offers a Graphic Design program with very heavy animation coursework, and Manchester Community College in Manchester, which offers an AA in Multimedia Studies and an AS in Computer Game Design with heavy animation and modeling coursework.
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, France, and Online via SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Connecticut Animators
As of March 30, 2016, Connecticut was home to home to 24,540 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. They average $57,990 per year, up from $55,510 in 2010 when the state was home to 21,360 ADESM professionals. Of the 24,450 people working in the creative sector here, 610 are salaried animators and multimedia artists averaging $77,860 per year. This is the third highest average salary for animators in the U.S. In 2010, the state was home to 310 salaried animators and multimedia artists averaging $62,410.
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 Connecticut has an even larger population of animators and multimedia artists. In fact, Connecticut is number five on the list of states with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation. 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)
While the states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas, and Georgia, of the top ten metro areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients, the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metropolitan has the tenth highest concentration. Consider major cities such as Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, and Waterbury as well.
Awesome Animation Fact: Stop-motion has been around since the late 1800’s. In the early days of stop-motion animation, inanimate objects were used. The object was photographed, moved a bit and then photographed again. This process is repeated a number of times. After this, the photos are patched together in order to create animation. The very first example of a stop-motion animated short was The Humpty Dumpty Circus, created by Albert Smith and Stuart Blackton in 1899. -Lomography