Animation Careers in Florida Overview
The State of Florida is home to Universal Studios Resort—one of the largest entertainment resorts in the World. The resort is home to both Universal Studios and the prestigious Dave School of Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE School). The DAVE School is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios in Sound Stage 25. The staff at the school consists of former Disney animators and other celebrated visual effects artists. DAVE School alumni work (or have worked) for top studios around the country such as DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Activision, Sony Imageworks, and Digital Domain. Their work can be seen in blockbuster films such as Avatar, Beowulf, Battlestar Galactica, The Expendables and more.
While many aspiring animators flock to Florida to attend the DAVE school, this is not the only reason they come here. The state is home to one of the nation’s largest animation and film communities, it has an impressive number of animation studios (both large and small), and it offers competitive salaries for animators—even for entry-level positions. In addition, besides the DAVE school, Florida is home to a number of colleges and universities that offer top-tier degree programs for aspiring animators. The University of South Florida, Digital Media Arts College, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida State University, and Miami International University of Art & Design are just a few.
Employment and Salary Trends for Florida Animators
Florida was home to 870 animators and multimedia artists in 2013. The population has increased significantly since then to 1,110 salaried professionals in this field. Salaries have increased as well. In 2013, the average salary was $51,470. Today, the average salary is $53,610 per year. Salaries vary by a variety of factors from industry to geographic location. For example, the top five industries for animators and multimedia artists are the motion picture and video industries; computer systems design and related services; software publishing; advertising, public relations, and related services; and other information services.
The average annual salaries for these industries are $73,950, $71,860, $76,090, $63,350, and $80,310, respectively. Although “other information services” offers the highest annual salary of the top five industries for animators, “wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers” offers the highest salary of all related industries. Animators and multimedia artists working in this industry average $81,760 per year.
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are as follows:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers: $81,760 per year
- Other Information Services: $80,310 per year
- Software Publishers: $76,090 per year
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers: $75,150 per year
- Motion Picture and Video Industries: $73,950 per year
To get an idea of salaries by city, a number of websites such as Indeed and PayScale offer a good start. As mentioned, salaries vary by location and Florida houses nearly 300 cities, 100+ towns, and more than a dozen villages. The following are salaries for Florida’s top 11 largest cities and all are higher than the state average of $53,610 per year.
Indeed reports that Tallahassee-based animators average an impressive $83,000 a year. Equally as impressive are Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie-based animators who earn average salary of $76,000 and $70,000, respectively, per year according to the site. Fort Lauderdale animators average $67,000 per year, while Miami, Pembroke Pines and Hialeah-based animators average $66,000 per year. Jacksonville animators average $64,000 per year. Orlando-based animators average around $62,000 per year, while St. Petersburg and Tampa-based-based animators average $60,000 per year, according to Indeed.
Animation Career Opportunities in Florida
In addition to Universal Studios, aspiring animators may fine employment opportunities at studios and creative agencies such as:
- Beverly Boy Productions, Orlando
- BFW Advertising, Boca Raton
- Big Time Productions, Miami Beach
- Bonomotion, Miami
- Dunn & Co., Tampa
- Film Studios Miami, Miami
- Hooah! Studios, Winter Park
- Lava Studio, Miami
- Levitation Studio, Palm Coast
- Little Big Bang Studios, Miami
- MDG Advertising, Boca Raton
- Multi Image Group (MIG), Boca Raton
- Riley Animation Studios, Tampa
- Stilt Media, Miami
- Unknown Media, Orlando
There are more than 2,000 computer systems and design firms in the State of Florida. This means, opportunities for animators interested in this industry are plentiful in the state. Although employment opportunities can be found in many Florida cities, a larger number can be found in major cities. Florida’s principal cities are Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Cape Coral and Pembroke Pines. If you prefer a smaller city, consider Boca Raton.
Florida Animation Training Programs
As mentioned, Florida is home to a number of respected institutions that offer quality animation programs. In addition to The University of South Florida (Tampa), Digital Media Arts College (Boca Raton), Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota), Florida State University (Tallahassee), and Miami International University of Art & Design (Miami), consider:
- Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale
- Art Institute of Jacksonville, Jacksonville
- Art Institute of Tampa, Tampa
- Full Sail University, Winter Park
- Jacksonville University, Jacksonville
- University of Central Florida, Orlando
- University of Florida, Gainesville
- University of Tampa, Tampa
More Information About Florida Schools with Animation Programs:
- San Francisco & Online
- Winter Park, FL & Online
If you are serious about a career in animation, you can get started by enrolling in an accredited animation degree program. Just a few popular programs include a BFA Media Arts and Animation, a BFA Motion Picture Arts-Animation and Digital Arts, a BFA Computer Animation, and a BS Media Arts and Animation. These and many other animation degree programs are on the menu at some of Florida’s best colleges, so explore what each has to offer and inquire within.
Awesome Animation Fact: The computer-animated film A Bug's Life (1998) used nearly 10 times the computing power that the computer-animated Toy Story (1995) used.