Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and GNO, Inc. announced Swaybox Studios in Jefferson Parish will expand its animation production operations under Louisiana’s Entertainment Job Creation Program. Swaybox creates original content, featuring a unique combination of puppetry and animation, for feature films and television.
To start the expansion, Swaybox will create six new permanent jobs with an average annual salary of $62,800, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the company’s expansion will result in four new indirect jobs, for a total of 10 new jobs for the Southeast Region.
“Louisiana is a leading destination for entertainment activity, thanks to our talented industry workforce and the excellent production infrastructure that has developed in our state,” Gov. Edwards said. “We remain committed to creating permanent, quality entertainment jobs for this important Louisiana industry. We welcome the expansion of Swaybox Studios through our Entertainment Job Creation Program.”
“GNO Inc. is pleased to be part of the team helping Swaybox Studios expand in Greater New Orleans and continuing to grow our digital media and entertainment sector,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Swaybox’s continued expansion demonstrates how our state’s incentive programs lead directly to job creation now and for the future. As Swaybox Studios continues to entertain audiences around the world, we look forward to seeing Louisianans at work in their offices.”
Signed into law by Gov. Edwards in 2017, the Entertainment Job Creation Program, also known as the Qualified Entertainment Company program, or QEC, is designed to encourage investment in permanent quality jobs for Louisiana residents engaged in entertainment content creation. For jobs paying $45,000 or more annually, the employer may claim a 15 percent payroll tax credit. That credit increases to 20 percent for new jobs paying more than $66,000 a year. A similar credit was established for music-related companies.
“We are thrilled to be a part of, and help to grow, the incredibly deep and talented community of Louisiana-based artists and storytellers,” co-founder and Co-CEO Theresa Andersson said. “Swaybox’s plans include the creation and production of original content for both family and adult audiences that will change the game of filmmaking. The QEC program will help us achieve the goal of creating a self-sustaining studio in greater New Orleans by enabling us to bring in the high-level talent that we need to create content that will consistently push the bounds of puppetry, animation and storytelling.”
The company was founded in Shreveport in 2013 and relocated to Elmwood in 2018. Swaybox began with puppetry storytelling, and as its four founders experimented with their creative processes, the company expanded into innovative animation techniques.
Louisiana created modern-era film production tax incentives in 2002 and remains one of the leading destinations for motion picture production in the world. The industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year in project-based spending across the state, from episodic TV productions to feature films.