Wow! Unlimited Media, the Toronto-based media company, is hoping to double the size of its animation workforce amid changes caused by the coronavirus. It currently has two animation divisions — Mainframe Studios (in Vancouver) and Frederator Studios (in Burbank) — but the growth that it is eyeing is specifically for its Vancouver location.
Here are the details:
- Mainframe’s swift transition to remote working, coupled with the growing demand for animation during the crisis, have prompted Wow!’s senior leaders to explore the possibility of doubling the animation team. “We think we have a great opportunity to scale the business,” said CEO Michael Hirsh in an investor call.
- At the start of the crisis, Mainframe transitioned its 400+ employees to remote working within a week. The process was eased by the studio’s “Global Studio Pipeline,” which it had developed in 2018 to facilitate outsourcing to third-party studios in Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. This feature in Animation Magazine details how this setup was adapted to the crisis.
- In a press release, the company wrote, “Mainframe plans to adapt this work-from-home model beyond the current crisis, and will therefore be able to expand its production capacity significantly over the current 400+ employees, without leasing any additional facilities.”
- Wow! was formed in 2016 out of a merger between Rainmaker Entertainment, a prolific producer of animated content based on toy lines and video games, and Fred Seibert’s Frederator Networks, known for its network of Youtube animation channels, as well as its independent production studio Frederator Studios.
- Rainmaker’s animation studio was subsequently rebranded as Mainframe. The studio’s current projects include Barbie content for Mattel and the series Madagascar: A Little Wild (image at top) based on the Madagascar franchise, for Dreamworks Animation. Frederator Studios produces Castlevania for Netflix.