The first stop on my journey to find animation employers in Cincinnati is Epipheo, which is possibly Cincinnati’s largest employer of animators.
Epipheo has a simple goal- to give people epiphanies with their content, hence the name. They do this through writing and producing both live action and animated commercials and explainer videos for a wide variety of clients.
Nestled in Longworth Hall, Epipheo has a space filled with staff creatives that feels very similar to a cabin in the woods… minus the cozy fur-covered couch needed for napping. However, the whiskey and moonshine were present.
This is how they work: they get the assignment from a client, and their storytelling teams find the epiphany and write up the script. For the animated videos they then either assign the script to a single animator/filmmaker to complete from start to finish (this seems to be their favorite way to work with offsite artists), or they put together a team of creatives who are each skilled at one aspect of production to make the piece.
They have a large pool of freelance animators that they work with because they usually have a large group of work that needs to be done, so they are communicating with 30-40 animators at a time. Plus they have 90+ artists in a pool that they are just waiting to be able to work with. My impression is that they work with animators on a solely freelance basis.
A large majority of the artists that Epipheo works with are not local. They are mostly based on the coasts or even internationally. This is because the most experienced artists are usually located in these places. However, Epipheo does prefer locals, because it is much easier to communicate with someone who can pop in at lunchtime than someone who is in a different time zone/country.
Animators that apply to Epipheo are reviewed based on upon visual and animation style, experience, and reliability of both quality of work and ability to meet deadlines which are both extremely important to Epipheo.
They are open to artists who work in Flash (Animate) , After Effects, Toon Boom, Moho (Anime Studio) or other programs.
Another great aspect about them- they have an open door policy. If you ever want to visit Epipheo to see what’s going on just email Mike Morehart, the Design Coordinator, at mike(at)epipheo.com to schedule something. I am thinking that a field trip should be on the horizon for us….
In Conclusion, dear Cincinnati animators; target your style and hone your filmmaking skills because there’s a stack of work at Epipheo that may one day have your name on it.