Herzing College partners with leading animation studio, Big Jump Entertainment, to offer students internships, training, and jobs
Did you know that Ottawa is one of the hottest cities in Canada for animation? Ottawa is home to 7 major studios, employs at least 1000 animators, and creates amazing content for iconic production companies, like Disney and Marvel.
And we're just getting started. Ottawa is quickly gaining a reputation for world-class animation talent. Local studios are getting more work, and seeking to expand—the only problem is finding trained animators to hire.
Demand is overtaking supply, and the city is experiencing a serious shortage of animation professionals. Cory Morrison is one of the founders of Big Jump Entertainment, and is seeing this phenomenon unfold on the front lines.
"We're starving for talent" says Cory, "and we're not the only ones. Several leading companies are having trouble filling positions."
Living in Ottawa and dreaming of a career in animation? Want to work at a top animation studio? Now's your chance.
Herzing College recently partnered with Big Jump, to offer our animation students mentoring, internships, and employment opportunities at the studio.
Big Jump will play a key role in ensuring Herzing animation students learn cutting-edge skills and get hired after college.
We interviewed Cory to learn more about Big Jump, the Herzing partnership, and the Ottawa animation scene. Here's everything you need to know.
Q: Cory, what's your role at Big Jump, and how long have you been active in the animation industry?
CORY - I am the EVP of Development in charge of our own proprietary shows. On top of the service, we option concepts from creators or popular books and develop our own properties to package and bring to market.
I'm one of 3 founders of Big Jump Entertainment, including Rick Morrison (President) and Rod Amador (EVP of Production). We opened shop in March of 2008. We are all veterans of the business with upwards of 50 years between us.
Q: What kinds of animation projects does Big Jump do? What are you working on right now?
CORY - We specialize in all kinds of animated shows from pre-school to primetime animation. We are currently working on a pre-school series for TVO called Wolf Joe created by Alexander Bar, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros., and have just wrapped working on the animated Trailer Park Boys now premiering on Netflix. We are also in development on two new series with CBC.
Q: Can you tell us about the special partnership between Big Jump Entertainment and Herzing College? How do students benefit?
CORY - We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Herzing College. They offer a world-class animation program with in-depth training on ToonBoom Harmony—the industry standard software program used predominantly for 2d pipeline animation.
The partnership allows Big Jump to convey studio needs at a program level, and support students as they make their way through school.
We offer an internship at the studio during the last 4 months of class, allowing Big Jump to train the students in industry standard techniques, while providing them their first opportunity to cut their teeth animating on current in-house productions.
Q: Big Jump often hires Herzing 2D Animation graduates. What makes Herzing grads such great employees?
CORY - Students who graduate from Herzing enter the animation industry prepared to succeed. The program is laser-focused on animation, giving them a leg up on all the other schools.
Most importantly, students leave with an expert understanding of ToonBoom Harmony, which makes them job-ready upon graduation. We don't have to spend extra time training them on the software, which is key.
Herzing animation grads are prepared to succeed and produce exceptional performances the day they enter the industry.
Q: What kinds of jobs can Herzing grads get at Big Jump?
CORY - Grads will enter the industry as animation professionals. Once in the studio, they have ample opportunity to test for other departments to expand their skillsets, such as Rigging, Composite, Layout, BG paint, and Storyboards.
Q: What's your connection to A.J. Cote, the creator of Herzing's 2D Animation Program?
CORY - I have known A.J. for many years. Big Jump has been fortunate to have worked with him on several occasions, and he is a good friend. He is an industry vet with exceptional skills and foresight, plus an infectious smile.
(Check out our interview with A.J. right here: Huge Demand for Animators in Ottawa: Should You Get Training?)
Q: What makes Ottawa the perfect place to start a career in animation?
CORY - There are several animation studios here in the capital, all starving for more talent. More talent means more work for everyone. Ottawa is a fantastic town with incredible night-life, its own Hockey franchise, amazing restaurants, and most importantly ...it's affordable.
Q: So, what are the most important skills for up-and-coming 2D animators? What's the recipe for success?
CORY - Drive.....the drive to succeed, and put a small piece of yourself in everything you do. As creators and artists, we tell stories through our work. It's important to recognize that you are not just a cog in a wheel. In animation, it's everyone's responsibility to "better" the next stage and create something memorable.
Good drawing skills are a plus, but one can always improve upon them. Finally, don't limit yourself. Put yourself out there, try different mediums, ask questions, keep learning and most importantly, be professional. You are not an island, you work with a team of people, and you must be able to collaborate, take criticism well, and never settle for "good enough."
And there you have it. What it takes to build a successful career in animation, straight from the co-founder of a leading Ottawa studio. A big thank-you to Cory Morrison for talking with us, and opening doors for aspiring animators.
Think you have what it takes to join Ottawa's thriving animation scene? Looking for information on 2D animation training, and what steps to take next? We're here to help.
Click below to explore Herzing's 2D Animation Program—designed by pros and partnered with industry leaders.