Wow! Unlimited Media execs see opportunities in lockdown. As the company navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, senior leaders believe they may be able to double its animation team as demand animated fare grows.
The company transitioned its entire 400-person Vancouver team to work from home within a week of lockdown protocols coming into effect in March. Now, it believes a growing demand for animation, coupled with learnings from the past two months, will enable it to build out its domestic and international workforce.
“We think we have a great opportunity to scale the business,” said CEO Michael Hirsh during an investor call announcing the company’s year-end results.
In 2019, the company’s animation subsidiary Mainframe Studios launched a global digital pipeline, which allows studios from overseas to connect in virtually in real-time and work within a secure environment.
The plan is now to adapt this work-from-home model so that Wow! can further expand its production pipeline, doubling its manpower without the need to take out additional space.
Wow! says it is in production or scheduled to go into production on more than 200 half-hours of episodic animation and seven animated movie specials.
Among the projects is an animated series, Madagascar: A Little Wild—based on the animated film Madagascar—for DreamWorks Animation. Wow! has been working on the service project since last year and is due to complete it in 2022. Its other projects include season four of Castlevania (pictured), Octonauts and Made by Maddie.
With lockdown measures still for the most part in effect across all the world’s major production hubs, animation has emerged as the most viable form of screen production. And with a multitude of questions surrounding how and when live-action production will resume—from concerns about on-set safety to questions about project insurance—animation has experienced fewer continuity issues and has remained relatively insulated from the issues faced by other parts of the screen sector. For its part, Wow! said it is operating at “full capacity” and is engaged in active discussions with various partners about taking on additional projects.
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