Jobs can be found on the Talent Montreal portal, which has 58 animation and vfx publications, and 120 in-game, at time of writing. Applications are open until November 12, and applicants will be selected for virtual interviews in the week of November 15-21.
The Montreal sector is growing. According to recent figures from Montreal International, vfx and production services revenue increased from C $ 327 million (US $ 260 million) in 2014 to C $ 982 million in 2019. There are now 6,250 animation and vfx workers and 35 studios in the city, as well as around 15,000 workers “with video game skills”.
This workforce is already fairly international: around 40% of those working in the city’s vfx industry hold a “temporary foreign worker” permit. Why are Americans especially needed?
“We go where the talent is,” Montreal International president and CEO Stéphane Paquet told Cartoon Brew, noting that Montreal has already launched international recruiting campaigns with a broader focus. He adds: “We are seeing projects in Montreal right now that could be quite attractive. [to Americans]. It’s a thing.
Several high-profile animated feature films have been produced in the city in recent years, including The SpongeBob SquarePants movie: the runaway sponge (Mikros Animation), Scoob! (Reel FX), and Playmobil: the movie (On Animation). Ditto for vfx: Montreal studios worked on 1917, Blade Runner 2049, Captain Marvel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Arrival, and Game Of Thrones, to only cite a few.
Paquet continues: “Second thing: we also know that many cities that are very active in the gaming or vfx sector in the United States have skyrocketing living costs… You could obviously find a nice apartment in Montreal for the first time. half the price of what you can find in some of these cities. The city’s relative cheapness is key to its argument to workers, just as its tax incentives are crucial in attracting employers.
While Americans may be drawn to the city’s affordability, some might be put off by the dominance of the French language – which the Quebec government is seeking to improve with a new language bill.
While acknowledging that each employer will have their own language requirements, Paquet says that based on his experience, he believes that holders of a “temporary foreign worker” permit who speak only English should have no difficulty in find a job. He adds that these workers can choose to put their children in French or English schools.
Americans who wish to settle in Montreal and become permanent residents must take a French proficiency test. Montréal International notes that there are programs to help people who wish to learn French, whether through their workplace or free French courses offered by the Government of Quebec.
“It’s true, the city is officially a French-speaking city,” says Paquet. “That being said, you have more than half of the population of Greater Montreal who is bilingual. For the foreign workers who arrive here, I encourage them to take French lessons… but I think that we are more of an international city, because of all these languages that we speak and our openness to the world.