Gleaner Honour Award - Reel Rock GSW Animation: a key player in the international animation industry
Today's global animation industry is estimated at more than US$200 billion and Jamaica has begun to capitalise on this lucrative market. Reel Rock GSW Animation is one of the first end-to-end animation production companies gaining global recognition in that industry since they began operations in Kingston in February 2012, making the company a key player on the international scene.
Using cutting-edge software technology such as the Toon Boom Harmony Platform for 2D and Maya for 3D animation, plus a highly skilled and trained staff of illustrators and animators, Reel Rock offers its clients the full spectrum of animation services - from character, background and other illustrations to storyboarding, animation, digital paint, compositing and post-production work.
Utilising Jamaica's rich cultural history, they have a rigorous programme of training upgrades for their staff that are chosen from the country's top art and design programmes. Reel Rock is also developing a library of smart, funny and engaging programming for all audiences that can take advantage of Jamaica's unique cultural diversity.
Recognising that the growing animation industry has the potential to provide employment for thousands, Reel Rock is putting a strong focus on community development through the creation of employment, in line with Jamaica's plans to increase opportunities for local and regional animators to get a foothold in the industry.
Founding directors Lorna Green, Wayne Sinclair and Fayval Williams have more than 75 years of combined experience in the areas of information technology, music and film production and finance. This has resulted in a management philosophy that listens, pays attention, and always puts the needs of the client first.
"The possibilities are endless in the animation industry. It holds a lot of promise for that segment of the society that really needs some hope and promise right now - which are younger people who have creative talents but didn't necessarily know or feel that there was a place for them to professionalise their creative talents," said Sinclair.
For its outstanding contribution to Science and Technology in 2014, The Gleaner Company proudly presents The Gleaner Honour Award to Reel Rock GSW Animation.
What They Say About Reel Rock
JULIAN ROBINSON - state minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining
Jamaica's animation industry has been identified as one of the few new areas from which the local economy can derive significant benefits. Among the few highly skilled outfits already operating in this fledgling industry is Reel Rock GSW Animation.
According to Julian Robinson, state minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, "GSW, while not the first animation company, has certainly lifted the profile of animation in Jamaica by virtue of the clients it has acquired, its professionalism and the number of persons employed."
In highlighting the significant progress already made by Jamaica's developing animation industry, Minister Robinson said, "It has helped in establishing Jamaica on the map as a location for the outsourcing of animation content which will ultimately assist us in attracting more international clients."
Importantly, the state minister pointed out that "GSW has also shaped the training and educational component of the animation sector by working closely with CARIMAC [Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications] at UWI [University of the West Indies] and the HEART Trust in influencing their curricula development."
Minister Robinson added: "They have also set standards for themselves which will become industry standards."
INGRID RILEY - Executive Director, Connectimas
Jamaica's animation industry is still in the developmental stages, but already it is showing the potential of becoming a viable option that has the ability to generate tremendous returns for the economy, as a consequence of the skills and competence of outfits like Reel Rock GSW Animation.
Reel Rock GSW Animation is among a small number of studios on the island that is already producing work of international quality, having gained acknowledgement from a number of international players in the global animation industry.
"Reel Rock GSW Animation is an example of what a Jamaican company can do internationally by linking with overseas partners," said techpreneur Ingrid Riley, executive director of Connectimas.
While they are not the pioneers in the fledgling animation industry, Reel Rock has demonstrated that it has what it takes to be a major player.
"There are others who have come before and have paved the way and are actually pioneers in the animation industry, but GSW Animation has made it sexier because they brought together people who are also themselves pioneers in different ways in other industries and brought together a lot more young animators under one roof," said Riley.
PROFESSOR HOPETON DUNN - director, Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications (CARIMAC)
Jamaica's animation sector is rapidly developing and one of the studios at the forefront is Reel Rock GSW Animation.
The quality of the productions done by the animation outfit is well recognised both locally and internationally. Importantly, too, are the opportunities created for young animators by the company through training and employment.
"The local animation company GSW has played a leading role in seeking to establish a viable animation subsector in Jamaica," said Professor Hopeton Dunn, director of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
"CARIMAC has had a close association with GSW in this regard, as a large number of our animation students have found employment and strong mentorship at the company."
Professor Dunn said Reel Rock's "impact has been significant at multiple levels, including employment of young animation graduates, forging beneficial linkages with international content providers and with software producers, as well as being a leading local producer of cartoon animation output."
He added, "GSW and its executive leadership are to be commended for their leading role in animation development in Jamaica in the short time since the establishment of the company."
Reel Rock is meticulous in their attention to detail. Its deep connections with the local film and music industry allow the company to strike the best deals with Jamaica's wealth of talent for clients seeking musical composition and production services.
To date Reel Rock has been contracted to co-produced 52 episodes of The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon cartoon series, Lucky Fred, which is distributed to more than 160 territories worldwide, and aired on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Reel Rock is part of a five-country partnership for the project along with Italy, Spain, Ireland and Luxembourg.
Reel Rock has been contracted to animate Disney Junior France kids show Quiz Time for Studio Red Frog in France.
Reel Rock clients include the Caribbean Examination Council, University of the West Indies, Jamaica Stock Exchange, and the International Organisation for Migration.