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leap of Faith: from Europe to North America

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leap of Faith: from Europe to North America

Hi everyone!
It has been awhile since I last wrote anything at all in this forum... things have never been easy around the studio where I work, but they have taken a turn for the worse. Oh yes, nothing worse that being abandoned by the big fish partners for whom the studio has served its purpose, well, maybe there is... Having the little fishy partners taking big chunks of our budget!
Our studio has a great atmosphere (apart from when the producer is here, but that's another story) and above all it has a wonderful, extremely talented and very tight team, but I feel that it is time for me to bid "Adieu"!
So now that I very loosely told you my story and made you cry (just kidding), what I really want is to ask you guys a few questions:
Are there any Europeans, Asians, Africans, South Americans, etc etc in this forum that are working in either the US or Canada? If you're North American do you know anyone working in animation who's foreign?
How hard is it to get there? How are you adapting? What advices could you give me?
Please, please, please, just write anything useful, preferrably an answer to my questions, but a nice good luck note or a cake recipe will also be welcomed!

Fazendinha's picture
"check it out, you know it makes sense!"

"check it out, you know it makes sense!"

All I can offer you is the best of luck Faze, no cake recipe and no real experience in the professional world. So you'll be leaving that studio with no windows, that is probably a breathe of fresh air for you anyway.


Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Hello Fazendinha,

I've recently landed here in Canada from the Philippines in Asia. It is a leap of faith, because I already have a wonderful job in an animation studio in our country but decided to move to Canada with my wife so that she can be with her family (I hope this is not turning into a sob story).

I am currently staying in Calgary. Although most of the studios are in Vancouver, I believe there are some animation studios in this city and I am hoping to land a job here. I am still in the process of applying for the necessary documents needed to be able to apply for a job here in Calgary so I am currently unemployed and living on my funds.

Right now I am a bit scared but I am also confident that once I have completed what is required to get a job here I will be able to make it. I have full confidence in my skills and working experience and so far that is what drives me to pursue an animation career here in my new home. This early, the people here in Calgary have made me feel welcome, and I am adapting very well, and I believe you will too, wherever you are planning to go next. Just believe in yourself. Oh, and having family and friends in the place you want to settle in is a great help too. So good luck!


Thanks for your support, Phacker! And Sandrock, I hope that you get the job that you want.
I did live outside of Portugal for about 8 years, I have both studied and worked in the UK, and I know how hard it can be... but, the legal side of things was much easier because I didn't need a visa, now the emotional side, well... it is much harder, but I am an adaptable creature and consider myself a citizen of the world!
So, guys and gals, keep on sending your answers and tell me about your (or your friend's) experiences!!!

"check it out, you know it makes sense!"

One thing you folks coming to Canada need to know is that many productions now are asking that talent sign proof of citizenship documents so that the production can legally claim the provincial and federal tax credits that often help make the work viable here.
The credit has a cap though--there is a certain percentage of talent that has to be from the province, or at least from Canada.
There's no outright restrictions on landed immigrant or foreign talent working on Canadian productions--that I know of--its just that some producers might either not understand the credit program fully, or simply prefer to have all-Canadian/local talent working on the job so as to avoid hassles.

I DO NOT reccomend coming over here without a job offer in hand, simply because immigration policies here tend to be stricter on foreigners popping in to look for work--you WILL need a work visa.
To get the visa, you'll need to be a pretty stellar talent to rise above the selection of local talent accessible and be chosen over them.
Best thing to do is to approach the studios from wherever you are and see who bites.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

I came to the states about five years ago with just about a suitcase and few hundred dollars!

Things worked out pretty well for me, pretty rapidly!

You know.. things happen!!


At the last two studios I was at there were a number of foreign workers from a number of different countries. The trickiest part for them was finding a company that would sponser them for their visas.

I don't think that there's a country that isn't without its prejudices, but the countries in North America can be a very friendly place to new people, especially the metropolitan areas.

Good luck!

Producing solidily ok animation since 2001.

Now with more doodling!


I'm Welsh, but I work in California. I've been here just under 2 years now and I'm loving it. I would say about half of my department hails from outside of the US, so the opportunities are there.
It's a bit of a pain making the move, but once you're through all of the red tape, then it's all good.

Best Wishes,

Thank you all for you kind messages! I wasn't thinking of leaving Portugal without having a job secured... Been there, done that but, at least I was in a EC country, where I had no problems with visas.
go on keep on writting!

"check it out, you know it makes sense!"