Friday, May 8, 2009

Pixar in Vancouver

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that Pixar will be opening a studio in Vancouver.
The studio will hire 75 to 100 people, most of them Canadians, and will make all of Pixar’s three-dimensional, computer-animated short films, which usually run three to five minutes. All Pixar theatrical features will continue to be made at its main studio in Emeryville, Calif., which employs almost 900.
This is not the first time that Disney (which owns Pixar) has set up in Canada. Earlier, Disney opened two studios, one in Vancouver and one in Toronto, to produce direct to DVD sequels. Those studios were both closed during the period when Disney was shedding studios (in Florida, Japan, France and Australia) at a dizzying pace.

At present, anything that increases employment opportunities is a good thing. However, past experience shows that satellite studios tend to stay satellites. Rather than regard the satellites as minor league teams, where talent is developed and then moved up to the majors, the satellites are walled-off as facilities for lower budget work. Disney already has two studios turning out cgi features and there's no shortage of cgi family films. Furthermore, with rumours that John Lasseter is treating Pixar's studio more favorably than Disney's, it's unlikely that a Vancouver studio will be allowed to compete on a level playing field.

The reason for the new studio is convenience and cost. Vancouver is fortunate to be located in Pixar's time zone, but the other incentives are the cheaper Canadian dollar and various tax incentives.

No doubt that the people hired will have opportunities to learn techniques and sharpen their skills. They'll also have a credit that will improve their future job prospects. However, no one should apply to the Vancouver studio with the hope that it will be doing features. Where many artists see Pixar as their ultimate destination, Vancouver, at best, will be a way station.

(See further commentary by me here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment