I love living in Toronto. Honestly, and unabashedly. I’d be happier if my rent was lower, and had more windows in my apartment. I still love Toronto. I like the cold, I like the summers. I like the energy and pace that Toronto has. I like the attitude that Toronto has where it feels like it has to prove itself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about choosing a city you live and work in. I was reading this article by Derek Sivers. It talks about the sad truth that the best decision for your music career is to move to the big city. You move to the city not for the big job but for this.
“It has a serious energy, because the stakes are high. It’s not casual. It’s not a place for a comfortable work/life balance. It’s fueled by ambition. People go go go.” Derek Sivers
I don’t have big ambitions about moving to LA. I can’t help wanting that “serious energy”, to be surrounded by people doing their best work. Pushing the limits and making really cool cartoons. There are other cities like Paris, Tokyo, but I don’t know enough to know if they compare to LA. Let’s face it, Hollywood is practically the center of the universe for film and television.
I love Toronto, and I feel like we have to prove ourselves, so I’m going to try and defend it. I think a lot of the world is more like Toronto than LA. Toronto has it better than a lot of places. We have a strong and mature industry but so far to go. Here are the reasons I’m excited and optimistic about Toronto.
My peers and colleagues are amazing. There is so many great artists, designers, animators and producers. Talent is not the problem, we know we have it. I want to be able to give these people the productions they deserve.
While a place like LA might have a serious energy, they also have serious competition. The stakes are high, and everyone is trying to do something big. Here, a great production could attract amazing talent. We have the advantage of scarcity.
I love that the Canadian industry does full productions. We can make animation from storyboard to final animation all in same building. I think this a big advantage of Toronto, something we ought to pay more attention to. One of our advantages is that we are still animators. We are connected and embedded in the process. This is where we can grow.
I want to experiment with organizing production. Focusing on collaboration and small teams. Where storyboard, layout, and animation work closely together to produce cartoons. I don’t think this kind of structure can be built in many places but we could do it here.
Those are the reasons I’m optimistic. I think optimism is really the key, you need to put in the work to make your local community better. The one thing that worries me about the Canadian industry, is the pessimism and hopelessness that gets into animators. We don’t have that serious energy fueled by ambition. The ambitious people leave. If you stay, don’t lose your ambition. It’s one of the reasons that I started this newsletter. I saw that this conversation was happening out there in the world. The same conversation that I have with my friends. I realized that this conversation has probably been happening the same way since the industry began. I figured if enough of us can connect we might have the start of a community.
So reach out. If you have a reason you’re staying, where ever that is. Or if you have a reason you want to get out send that too, share it in the comments.
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