Working on Hollywood movies, Emmy-winning TV shows, and games played by millions is a dream job for many. In Vancouver, it’s a real possibility.
The city is an oasis for creative professionals. Home to the third largest production centre in North America (behind only Los Angeles and New York), the region has earned a reputation as being the world’s capital for visual effects and animation.
Understandably, there are plenty of job vacancies in Vancouver’s digital entertainment industry—and next weekend it’s possible to check out hundreds of them in one place.
Returning for its eighth year on Saturday April 6, the Vancouver Digital Entertainment Career Fair expects more than 3,500 professionals to descend upon the Vancouver Convention Center to meet hiring representatives from 40 of the city’s top businesses. More than 400 jobs are up for grabs, with roles available for everyone from seasoned designers to entry-level creators.
Best of all, it’s free to attend.
“Vancouver is one of the top places in the world to find well-paid jobs in the creative industries, and is where the world comes to collaborate and innovate with digital media,” says Catherine Warren, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, which has organized the event in partnership with Netflix. “There is huge economic potential where emerging technologies meet creative demand, and Vancouver leads at this intersection.”
A number of high-profile businesses will be present at the event. Jobseekers will be able to introduce themselves to the studios behind titles such as Star Wars (ILM Vancouver), the Lego Movies (Animal Logic), Spider-Man (Sony Pictures Imageworks), Game of Thrones (Image Engine), and other big budget projects. As digital media continues to expand into alternative realities, large VR and AR businesses like Archiact and Finger Food Studios will also be on hand to scoop up talented employees that can create interactive worlds.
The event aims to allow professionals the chance to move up and across sectors, and to establish an international profile. Potential applicants can meet face-to-face with the people who will be reading their CVs, and ask any additional questions of the studios to determine how well they will fit with the company culture.
The careers fair also creates an opportunity for those not actively searching for a new job to engage with their peers and gain insider knowledge. The Speakers Corner will be running throughout the event, where industry leaders will be breaking down the processes behind award-winning projects, imparting first-class advice on animation and VFX techniques, and discussing important trends such as 360 production and equitable workplaces.
“Whether you are in animation and visual effects, games, VR/AR, post-sound or physical production, there are a lot of transferable skills,” says Nancy Basi, executive director of media and entertainment at the Vancouver Economic Commission. “Come with your portfolios, demos, and reels pre-loaded on a device or thumb drive. These studios don’t usually look for paper résumés—and definitely not at this career fair.”
The digital media industry in Vancouver is a good place to forge a career. More than $4 billion is projected to be spent on film and TV projects in 2019, and the Vancouver Economic Commission predicts that the value of the city’s visual effects and animation industry—where Vancouver leads the world—will exceed $1 billion for the first time this year.
The region also ranks in the top 10 game development hubs internationally. As well as being home to global giants like Electronic Arts and Microsoft's the Coalition—responsible for franchises such as FIFA and Gears of War respectively—Vancouver also boasts scores of independent mobile games developers such as Hothead Games, A Thinking Ape, and Eastside Games.
In addition, the city is rapidly emerging as a global hub for esports, capturing even more global attention after hosting The International 2018: Dota 2’s world championships, and the largest esports event ever. This year, the city also announced the launch of the Vancouver Titans, its first pro esports team, which will play in the popular Overwatch League.
The Vancouver Digital Entertainment Career Fair is at Vancouver Convention Centre East (999 Canada Place; Ballrooms A, B and C) on Saturday April 6 from 10 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Jobseekers can pre-register through Eventbrite here, or sign up at the event.
Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays