×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: Hollywood Looks to Canada for Animation Talent

Could the brisk wintry climes have something to do with the fact that Ontario, Canada, is a production hotbed for some of today’s most eye-catching animation talent on the smallscreen?

Per Frank Falcone, president and creative director of the Toronto-based Guru Studio, the answer is a resounding yes.

See also: Toronto: Lower Costs Transform Market for Kiddie Films

“It’s dark and cold for half the year!” says Falcone. “Malcolm Gladwell mentions the 10,000-Hour Rule. People spend a lot of time indoors watching shows and films, drawing and painting. So they get very good. Toronto-based productions are generating an exceptional amount of critical and audience success in the U.S. and abroad. The depth, breadth and sophistication of our talent pool is unsurpassed.”

To wit, “Paw Patrol,” animated and directed by Guru Studio for Spin Master Entertainment, has risen to the top slot on Nickelodeon and is the No. 1-rated preschool series on American TV.  The show charts the adventures of six heroic puppies who save the day in the fictional town of Adventure Bay.

Inclement weather notwithstanding, tax-break incentives and government funding are the primary key reasons that the region has successfully established itself as a formidable breeding ground for top-notch cartoon fare.

“There’s great talent in America on the animation side,” says Irene Weibel, head of Nelvana Studio, which has produced such toddlerdom faves as “Bubble Guppies,” “Max & Ruby” and the recent Disney Junior co-production, “Lucky Duck.”  “I think that the key difference is the environment of funding animation as an industry in Canada. The government of Canada provides support in the way of tax benefits and subsidies to animation that is produced in Canada and that doesn’t exist in the U.S., and that gives the Canadian industry that kind of leg up.”

So desired are animators at Ottawa-based Mercury Filmworks that Disney TV Animation creators frequently request to partner with them when cooking up new series.

“Because Mercury has been doing awesome work for us for a few seasons — we’re doing ‘Wander Over Yonder’ and the ‘Mickey’ shorts with them and they have been so well received — there are showrunners who come in when they pitch and know that they want Mercury to do the pilot,” says Lisa Salamone-Smith, senior VP production, Disney Television Animation. “Mercury does such a lovely job, and they take such ownership of their part of the production that it really feels like a partnership. It doesn’t feel like ‘Oh God, we’re outsourcing that part and we’ll see what it looks like when it comes back in 16 weeks.’ ”

“We enjoy a particularly special relationship with Disney,” says Mercury Filmworks president Clint Eland. “The more of these high-caliber shows that we work on, the more we’re strengthening our talent base and we’re getting better and better and better. It’s a win-win.”

More TV

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Cancels 'Late Show' New Zealand Trip After Mosque Shootings

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” had been scheduled to make a surprise trip to New Zealand this week — but those plans have been put on hold in light of last Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 people dead. On Monday’s show, Colbert revealed the now-shelved trip, which had been kept under wraps but [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2' Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has dropped the first trailer for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2” starring Kiernan Shipka, and former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson has been cast in Fox’s drama pilot “Lovestruck.” CASTING Former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson is set to play the female lead in Fox’s new drama pilot “Lovestruck.” The [...]

  • Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

    Imagine TV Sets 'Mindscaping' as First China Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Television is developing “Mindscaping,” a 24-episode science fiction series written by Oscar Yang (“Medical Examiner Dr. Qin,” “The Ten Deadly Sins”). The series is the first Chinese-language series developed by Imagine Television, part of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment group, for a Chinese audience. The show is pitched as an original sci-fi [...]

  • "The Bow Tie Asymmetry" - Pictured:

    Pilot Season 2019: Multi-Camera Comedies Remain in High Demand

    For the second pilot season in a row, multi-camera comedies have proven to be a hot commodity. The Big 4 have collectively ordered 28 comedy pilots this year, including two animated straight-to-series orders at Fox. Of those 28, 12 are single-cams and 13 are multi-cams (including one multi-cam hybrid at ABC and two at CBS). [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content