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Why you can’t afford to miss the next Toon Boom Animation Career Camp

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Animation has entered a golden age. Fuelled by international demand for original content from Subscription Video On-Demand (SVOD) streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, studios are hiring artists at all levels of production. In order to stand out from the competition, animators must future-proof and specialize their skill sets — and Toon Boom Animation Career Camps are here to help them do that.

Consider this: the global animation industry was worth $254 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $270 billion by 2020. The cartoon SVOD streaming market made $2.4 billion last year, and is rising at a rate of eight percent annually. The demand for talent is there; it’s up to artists to position themselves as the ideal candidate.

Launched last fall, Toon Boom Animation Career Camps (ACC) are a series of free weekend-long events aimed at professional animators of all levels, from recently graduated students to seasoned studio professionals to self-employed freelancers — all with the desire to learn the future-proofed steps, strategies and specialized skills needed to increase their opportunities and pay today, and secure their employability for tomorrow.


“Specialization has become essential to an optimized pipeline, Harmony or otherwise,” says Jefferson Allen of Mercury Filmworks. “That in-depth knowledge can make all the difference when pushing the technology and artistic goals of the shows Mercury Filmworks works on.”

Each ACC includes keynotes, training sessions and hands-on labs, and networking opportunities. As a global leader, Toon Boom can tap into its network of instructors, experts and local industry influencers to show attendees how to succeed by specializing in the most in-demand animation skill sets like rigging, compositing and cut-out in Harmony.

The first Animation Career Camp was held in Toronto at Corus Quay in November and upcoming events are set for Vancouver (March 17-18), Los Angeles (March 24-25), Paris (May 05-06) and Dublin (May 12-13), with London and Tokyo anticipated later this summer. The inaugural edition was a massive success; Sonya Carey of Portfolio Entertainment was the keynote speaker and there were over 40 participants, with significantly larger crowds anticipated for future camps given surging demand.

(Editor’s note: You can sign up for an upcoming Animation Career Camp and see the full schedule here — space is limited.)

Among those in attendance were YouTube animation star Stylus Rumble, Brown Bag Films (read their recap), and animators Brian Lemay and Sand McDowall, otherwise known as Sand McUnicorn. McDowall has been a generalist throughout her career and, having recently moved to the city, she enjoyed connecting with the range of professionals, instructors and the advanced content covered.

toon_boom_animation_career_camp1.jpgSource: Toon Boom

“Among the variety of skills I learned at the Animation Career Camp, I found the streamline techniques most beneficial,” says McDowall. “Not many courses focus on ‘how’ to rig or multi-plane, or how production flows, or to use deformers and more. It was very useful.”

McDowall continued her training by receiving a Certiport Toon Boom certification, which helped her get a character animation position in Toronto. During the hiring process, the interviewer expressed interest and optimism in her new credentials. To prepare for her certification and further her skills development, she used the free tutorials on the Toon Boom Learn Portal.

“Since my background is mostly as a generalist, being Toon Boom certified will help express my skill set as a professional,” she explains. “I would recommend the certification process; it takes a week or so to go through the Learn Portal to practice and prep for the test, but once you get to the exam portion it’s not long at all.”

toon_boom_animation_career_camp3.jpgSource: Toon Boom.

Fellow animator Brian Lemay has had a storied career, having worked on productions like Care Bears, Teddy Ruxpin and Inspector Gadget, as well as teaching animation at Sheridan College, Seneca College and Humber College. He started using Harmony last summer for a film based on the work of late comedian Phil Hartman and wanted to update his skills in the software.

“I really enjoyed [Animation Career Camp], it’s a great introduction to the software,” says Lemay. “I would highly recommend it to anybody who’s looking to upgrade their skills and understand what Toon Boom Harmony is all about.”

“What impressed me the most about the entire workshop was the knowledge base that the instructors brought to each of the sections,” he continues. “I would have loved to do all three sections, but I wanted to key in on the elements of animation rigging. If only there were four days in a weekend!”

nickelodeon_studios_toon_boom_career_camp.jpgSource: Nickelodeon.

For those interested in furthering and future-proofing their skills through specialization, the next Toon Boom Animation Career Camp will be in Vancouver on the weekend of March 17 to 18. Held at the Vancouver Film School’s state-of-the-art facilities, over 85 participants are anticipated and Joel Bradley, line producer at Atomic Cartoons, is the keynote speaker.

Soon after, there will be an ACC in Los Angeles on March 24 and 25. It will be hosted at the cutting-edge Nickelodeon Studios in Burbank and have the biggest group yet, with 100 attendees set to see keynote speaker Joel Kuwahara of Bento Box Entertainment and take part in a packed schedule of training sessions, hands-on labs and networking opportunities.

There is still space for both the Vancouver and Los Angeles Animation Career Camps, but it is limited and filling up fast. To secure a spot, register now.

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