Animation Careers in Kentucky Overview
Did you know that Kentucky offers filmmakers, producers, and crewmembers some of the best tax incentives in the nation? The Film and Entertainment Incentive Program managed by the Kentucky Film Office exists to encourage increased production activity in The Bluegrass State. The program covers feature films of all kinds—including animated features, as well as television shows, commercials, documentaries, and even Broadway productions. The program is so effective that a variety of major films were filmed in whole or in part in Kentucky. Just a few include Tammy (2014), Secretariat (2010), The Ides of March (2011), Elizabethtown (2005), Seabiscuit (2003), The Insider (1999), U.S. Marshalls (1998), and Rain Man (1988).
In addition to an active film scene and an impressive collection of post-production animation studios that have been in business from a few years up to 28 years, Kentucky is home to a number of creative agencies and technology firms that often hire animators. To get your foot in the door, you will need a degree in animation or related program from an accredited school. Experience is often a requirement as well, which can be obtained through the schools internship program.
Animators that would like to teach while working in the industry may find opportunities at a number of the states 76 colleges and universities. There are also ample opportunities to teach at community colleges as well as elementary and secondary schools. Kentucky is home to more than 25 community colleges and 1,500-plus elementary and secondary schools.
Employment and Salary Trends for Kentucky Animators
Kentucky is home to 15,490 salaried professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations. Of this group, around 120 are multimedia artists and animators. The number of multimedia artists and animators in the state has doubled since 2013, when Kentucky was home to just 60 salaried animators. Salaries have increased as well. In 2013, the average salary for multimedia artists and animators was $51,260 per year. Today, the average annual salary is $56,340.
Nationwide, the mean annual wage for animators and multimedia artists is $69,410 and overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2012-2022 decade.
The top five highest paying states for animators are:
- California ($82,170)
- Washington ($75,740)
- Massachusetts ($73,470)
- New York ($70,660)
- Idaho ($69,450)
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($81,760)
- Other Information Services ($80,310)
- Software Publishers ($76,090)
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers ($75,150)
- Motion Picture and Video Industries ($73,950)
The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas and Georgia.
Animation Career Opportunities in Kentucky
In Kentucky and across the U.S., the industries with the highest levels of employment are the Motion Picture and Video industries, Computer Systems Design and Related Services, Software Publishers, Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services, and Other Information Services. The group ‘Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers’ has the second highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists, along with an impressive average salary of $75,150 per year.
Job opportunities for aspiring animators in Kentucky can be found at agencies and studios such as:
- Barking Fish Lounge, Covington
- Current360, Louisville
- DBS Interactive, Louisville
- Grace Animation Studio, Danville
- Group CJ, Lexington
- Hammond Communications, Lexington
- Isis Media Group, Lexington
- Oculus Studios, Lexington
- Power Creative, Jeffersontown
- Quantum Communications, Louisville
- The PPS Group, Covington
Animators with a computer science background may find opportunities at more the than 200 computer technology firms in Kentucky.
Although job opportunities can be found in many cities across the state, a large number of opportunities can be found in Kentucky’s largest cities. Consider Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Covington.
Kentucky Animation Training Programs
Kentucky is home to a variety of top colleges and universities. Just a few include the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Murray State University, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Berea College and the University of Louisville. Many of these top schools offer competitive programs that can prepare artists for a career in animation.
A number of community colleges offer programs for aspiring animators as well. Consider Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Hazard Community and Technical College, Somerset Community College, and West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah.
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Awesome Animation Fact: Chris Griffin, son of Peter and Lois Griffin in the animated television series Family Guy, has quite the voice. Played by Seth Green, Chris’ voice was inspired by Buffalo Bill—a terrifying character from the 1991 American Thriller The Silence of the Lambs.