Animation Careers in Utah Overview
The Utah Film Commission has been around since 1974. The active office has a solid reputation in Hollywood, which is just one reason the state attracts productions of all kinds—including animated productions. The state has hosted award-winning productions such as The Lone Ranger (2013), The Tree of Life (2011), 127 Hours (2010), Star Trek (2009), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Mission Impossible II (2000), Forrest Gump (1994), and Thelma & Louise (1991). Producers of these films and many others had access to spectacular landscapes, historic sites, and local talent, as well as one of the industries' most competitive incentive packages.
Besides film and animation studios such as Golden Street Animation in Provo, Lumenas Animation Studios in Salt Lake City, and Park City Film Studios, aspiring animators in the state can find job opportunities at a variety of game design studios, creative agencies, art centers, and colleges and universities. The state is home to dozens of creative agencies and studios, more than 40 accredited colleges and universities, and dozens of art centers and community colleges.
Employment and Salary Trends for Utah Animators
As mentioned, Utah is home to 18,280 professionals working in ADESM occupations. Around 150 are animators and multimedia artists averaging $53,910 per year and hundreds more are self-employed. In fact, the ‘Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers’ industry has the second highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists, along with an impressive average salary of $75,150 per year.
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 Utah
In Utah 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. In addition to the studios mentioned earlier, job opportunities for aspiring animators in Utah can be found at agencies and studios such as:
- Advent Integrated, Logan
- Avalanche Software, Salt Lake City
- Bowen Studios, Salt Lake City
- BWP Communications, Salt Lake City
- Creative Media Group, Orem
- Electronic Arts Inc., Salt Lake City
- Epic Games – ChAIR entertainment Group, Salt Lake City
- Epic Marketing, Draper
- Fluid Advertising, Bountiful
- Fusion360, Millcreek
- Objective (formerly Agency Fusion), Salt Lake City
- React Games, Salt Lake City
- Richter7, Inc., Salt Lake City
- Silverlode Interactive, Provo
- Struck, Salt Lake City
Animators with a technology background are in luck. With a booming tech scene dubbed “Silicon Slopes,” tech animators will have no trouble finding work at one of the hundreds of technology firms popping up in the region. Although animation positions can be found in most Utah cities, a larger number of opportunities can be found in major cities such as Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, West Jordan, and Orem.
Utah Animation Training Programs
Utah offers access animation programs at top universities such as Brigham Young University in Provo and Utah State University in Logan, and at entertainment art schools such as Broadview Entertainment Arts University in Salt Lake City. Also worth considering are colleges such as Stevens-Henager College in Provo and Salt Lake City Community College.
More Animation related programs to consider:
Awesome Animation Fact: Despite having a rich plot with developed characters, 'Spirited Away' (2001) was not made with a script. In fact, Hayao Miyazaki’s films never had scripts. “I don't have the story finished and ready when we start work on a film,” the filmmaker told Midnight Eye--a publication that covers Japanese cinema. “I usually don't have the time. So the story develops when I start drawing storyboards. The production starts very soon thereafter, while the storyboards are still developing.” -Mentalfloss