Blogs

May 2018

CMC 2017: What has the CMC ever done for me? From BA to Ball Pit

Posted on: Tuesday 15 May 2018 3:24pm by Bethan Cook

Bethan Cook was a volunteer at CMC 2017, who won the Disney competition to visit for a day. During the summer of 2017, my second year working towards a BA (Hons) Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University was coming to a close. Only one year to go before it’s all over! As I was soaking up the sun and enjoying my last summer of freedom, it suddenly dawned on me…what do I want to go in to after I graduate? I’d had plenty of work experience, but the career opportunities when studying journalism is so vast - do I want to work in marketing or television? Social media or web? Communications or film? The opportunities were endless, however…

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April 2018

CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Don’t Forget the Creator

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:35pm by Simon Bor

John Lomas-Bullivant quizzed the people behind the new Disney Junior show: 'Claude' - a successful adaptation of the already popular series of books by the same name. He introduced the creator, author and illustrator, Alex T Smith, and asked him how he came up with the original idea for 'Claude'. Alex said that it came from a doodle in his sketchbook, a small plump dog in shiny shoes -  with a sock as his best friend. His influences were not only the comedy he was brought up with, such as ‘Allo ‘Allo and the Carry On films, but his accident prone grandfather. It all came i=out relatively fully-formed. He put together two pages of illustration and some written work and sent…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Disruptive Publishing

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:17pm by Simon Bor

The not so "tongue in cheek" title of the session highlighted two companies who have not taken the traditional route into publishing. Moderator, Stephanie Barton saw parallels between the two companies. Both have only been around for a few years, both have a direct root to their customers, both cater for the under twelves and both have been on 'Dragon’s Den'! Neither, though, had a background in publishing. Jonny Pryn was one of the founders of One Third Stories which is just two years old.  The idea was to publish a language picture book, where (originally French) words were gradually added to the English text throughout the story. A slick Kickstarter presentation was made and the company found it had…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Emotion Sells! Unlocking the Power of Family and Reading

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:05pm by Simon Bor

Even though children’s book sales are at a high point at the moment, Egmont’s Cally Poplak told us that their research indicated the figures for kids reading for pleasure were down on five years ago. Now 30% of children read independently and 36% are read to. The session gave us overviews of research being used or with potential to encourage the growth of the reading habit - from a variety of perspectives. Dr Barbie Clarke of Family Kids and Youth, and Jessica Bondesson, Children’s School Manager at IKEA, presented research conducted with children in Germany, China and the UK, that showed how the type of lighting in children’s bedrooms effected their moods.  IKEA take children seriously, calling children: ‘The most…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Make an Exhibition of Yourself – Museums as Brand Partners

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 10:47pm by Simon Bor

Abigail Ratcliffe, Group Head of Licensing at the Science Museum, Helena Jensen. Head of Commercial Intellectual Property at the Natural History Museum and Lauren Sizeland, Head of Business Development & Licensing at the V&A, are three people who sit between the commercial world and the institutions they represent. Moderator, Tim Collins, from The Brand Director, wanted to know how these two very different worlds can work together. It seems there’s an increasing willingness for publicly-funded institutions to engage with the commercial sector - the popularity of characters and brands is valuable.  Abigail thought that  year-on-year reduction in funding has driven commercial cooperation. It has made the museums more outward looking. The example of Clarkes sponsoring an exhibition of shoes at…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: The Power of Brand Partnerships

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 7:07pm by Simon Bor

Before introducing the panel, moderator Eric Huang, of Made in Me, said that the relationship with digital had already changed for publishing There was less panic about books being overtaken by digital content than a couple of years ago. In fact, the children’s sector of book publishing is bigger than ever. The first speaker was Julia Posen from Walker Books, one of the first publishers to have in-house licensing and media production divisions. When asked if this increased revenue, Julia said it was complex, because of the number of staff needed in house. However, their marketing budgets can be used across all areas of a property which was a bonus. Paul Denton has organised immersive exhibitions at the Southbank Centre that…

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November 2017

Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 4: Pipelines and Workflow

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:38pm by Kath Shackleton

How can studios manage their assets and workflow on ever more complex productions? The data generated by digital animation is limitless - there can be in excess of 200,000 assets on a production. This session attempted a whistle-stop tour of just some of the tools out there to help studios to manage productions. Andy Wyatt, from Toon Boon, a Canadian company, working across 120 countries, showcased their latest software. Toon Boon Producer helps studios to manage assets in a user-friendly way that's easy to set up without coding skills. Producer integrates effectively with Toon Boon Harmony and Storyboard Pro, but it can also work with other software. It offers production tracking and workflow control. The only limit on the software is…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Training and Skills

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:35pm by Kath Shackleton

Training and Development Consultant Belinda Peach, introduced the fantastic new array of opportunities for apprenticeships.  The government have set ambitious targets of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. There are ever generous incentives and subsidies on offer to help employers take on apprentices of all kinds. Apprenticeships provide an exciting opportunity, to develop new young staff tailored exactly to the needs of your company.  Apprenticeships are also great for those keen to advance the Diversity agenda, by enabling a different kind of young person to bring their voice to the Creative Industries. You can hire apprentices in all areas of your business including PR, admin and marketing. However, there are exciting new animation specific apprenticeship standards currently being developed, there are two new…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Case Study 2: What’s the Hook?

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:31pm by Helen Dugdale

What happens to your series once it's been signed sealed and delivered to a broadcaster? The panel used the phenomenal success of the 'Go Jetters' as a case study. Moderator: Westley Woods Speakers: Tim Jones, Creative Director for BBC Creative Kate Fawcett, Marketing Exec, BBC Marketing and Audiences Adam Redfern, Series Producer, ‘Go Jetters’ Takeaways: Make sure you create a back-story to your series, you don’t have to use it straight away, keep it on the back burner. BBC Creative brings all marketing in-house and makes it easier for all aspects of the team to work together to make stronger propositions. Go-Jetters is a co-production with the BBC Worldwide. It’s one of their biggest commercial products and a flagship brand…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 6, Ten Things You Need To Know About VR

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 12:06pm by Catherine Trewavas

An expert panel discussed the future of VR, the platforms it lives on and the opportunities it offers to the UK animation industry. Takeaway: Ensure storytelling is at the heart of VR projects Unlock creative possibilities as the technology develops Using additional technology such as SubPac systems can make experiences even more immersive Detail: Professor Andy Miah introduced the VR session on behalf of The University of Salford. He described the surge in activity in this area over the last year and encouraged members of the audience to test out the technology using Samsung VR headsets that were passed around. The panel then discussed the latest developments in VR and looked to the future, debating what may lie ahead for…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 3, Working With China

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:32pm

As the market in China begins to open up for UK writers, animation producers and distributors, the panel considered what the challenges are of working with this complex territory Takeaway: Meet in person and talk with companies to build strong relationships. Keep the relationship at the front of everything you do. Use an agent or advocate in China to aid discussions and negotiations. China has a genuine will to create high quality content, to spread their culture and have a fascination with Western culture. Commerce and government are completely intertwined. Enormous numbers of potential partners within a sophisticated market. Detail: The panel Tony Humphreys, DIT (Chair) – moderator Oli Hyatt, Blue Zoo Animation Jon Rennie, Cloth Cat Animation Helen Howells,…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Case Study 1: Print to Screen, Periodical to Platform: the Beano Story

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:13pm

Chris Rose describes the Beano journey from everybody's favourite comic to a modern media brand and a platform for entertainment content. Takeaway: The UK's longest running comic has harnessed its digital platform to increase print sales. How updating the characters of Dennis and Gnasher have aligned them with today's world. Unity between the comic team, digital team and trend-spotters create strength and success. Detail: Moderator and writer Alex Collier introduced the session by describing the huge impact the Beano has had on him. "I absolutely loved the Beano and all I ever wanted to do was work for the Beano," he said. "I worked for Viz which owes a huge debt to the Beano." He said that he recently wrote…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 2, State of Play: Games Up North!

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 4:49pm

This session discussed how programmers, animators, artists and musicians are coming together to once again create world class games in the North Takeaway: 2016: Global spend was £100bn on games industry in UK. Manchester is the biggest city outside of London for game developers. The North has a strong heritage in making games and is a hub of world class creative talent. UK universities need to offer specific courses – there are very specific skill-set shortages. Marketing skills should be built into courses so graduates know how to make money. Analytics systems are vital in order to make money from game developing. Visibility and exposure of games as well as putting the right tools in the right hands will see…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Cosgrove Hall Archives

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 2:41pm by Helen Dugdale

The Cosgrove Hall archives are now on display, thanks to curator Westley Wood – and he's looking for support to continue the project. Takeaway: The Cosgrove Hall Archive is made up of 200 complete production pieces, figures and sketches from forgotten shows, and is currently on display at Sale Waterside Centre. In 2018, Cosgrove Hall Archive is set to become a charitable trust and is looking for deep-pocketed donors! Westley is now looking for designers, filmmakers and app developers to get involved. It’s part of our collective culture – so, support it! Detail: The Cosgrove Hall Films archive is one of the most significant contributions to the development of British animation and children’s television, and is currently housed at Sale…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 1, Europe: Potential & Pitfalls 10.05-10.45am

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 1:21pm by Helen Dugdale

A discussion about Brexit, what’s known, what’s suspected, what’s feared and where the opportunities lie. Takeaway It’s about early planning and scenario planning to try and predict the negotiations in Europe. Animation UK is leading the case to increase our tax breaks with key competitors. Creative industries in the UK is worth £87 billion. European culture is much better at putting emphasis on art, culture, and creativity. We have to do a lot of work with schools and getting kids into companies to raise the standard of the talent pool. Detail Moderator: Kate O’Connor (Animation UK) Speakers: Phil Chalk (Factory) Louise Cornally (Brown Bag) Phil Dorbee (Jellyfish Pictures) Tom Van Waveren (Cake/Animation in Europe) The panel gave their insight and opinions…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Keynote Opening Address: A Plan For European Animation

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 12:39pm by Catherine Trewavas

Tom Van Waveren shared the vision for European animation, with emphasis on the impact of Brexit and the importance of continued collaboration. Takeaway: Continued collaboration is key Communication is extremely important We need to retain and train talent more successfully Finance remains crucial and creative financial solutions can benefit everyone Detail: Tom Van Waveren has been working in animation for over 20 years, and said he “has loved every day”. He is currently CEO and Creative Director of CAKE Entertainment, based in London, and the company distributes, develops and produces series, with the aim of optimising commercial success with partners. CAKE Entertainment works with studios and companies all around the world. He has also been instrumental in the founding of…

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July 2017

CMC 2017: Can’t Wait for Next Year…

Posted on: Monday 31 July 2017 1:50pm

Dave Collins, Co-Founder, PowerStation Studios was a "first timer" at CMC 2017. He liked it... It was my first time attending the CMC and after attending for an invaluable 3 days. It certainly won't be my last. CMC is a very different event from any other industry event I have attended. It feels much more creative and collaborative then it does a commercial sales frenzy. The speakers and panels were informative, open, and provided genuine insights rather than manufactured sound bites. There is a real sense of an industry community and, yes, of course people are pitching, networking and doing business, but in a much more relaxed and open forum. I found myself engaged in varied and engaging conversations with a variety…

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CMC 2017: Report – Engineering Change

Posted on: Tuesday 11 July 2017 11:00am

With a number of new shows and initiatives encouraging girls to become interested in engineering and STEM-based careers, a panel of producers discussed the main issues and talked about their future plans Takeaway: The UK is the worst country in the EU for channeling girls into STEM careers. There is likely to be a huge shortage of engineers in the UK and over 1m more are needed by 2024 Gender stereotypes are formed young so we need to get to the audience from pre-school up Whilst there is great work already being done, there needs to be greater collaboration across industry and broadcasting to make a visible difference Detail: As a schoolgirl who glazed over every time someone mentioned kinetic…

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CMC 2017: Report – Play to Learn or Learn to Play?

Posted on: Monday 10 July 2017 11:52am by Tyler McRae

The full session is available here as a podcast: Emma Cooper led the open talk on the educational side of gaming and what this can do for the future of education. Takeaway: There is a demand for quality educational games Government needs to invest more in other creative ways of learning Newer technologies can lead to greater exposure for educational gaming Detail: Ever since the closing of BBC Jam, the independent side of the e-learning industry had lost money and confidence in gaming with educational purposes. With new developments being made to help bridge the gap, is this helping to rekindle a student’s love of learning with a love of gaming. It is now a crowded market for casual games,…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet The Commissioners: BBC

Posted on: Saturday 08 July 2017 10:48am by Christina Evans

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: A panel of BBC commissioners from across the departments told a keen audience everything they need to know in order to confidently pitch, from they types of shows they're looking for to details of development deals and IP rights Takeaway: Wanted: Content for gaps in programming. Wanted: Inventive brand extensions that take popular shows to another level. Wanted: Comedy, diversity and and passionate hosts who can really inspire young minds. Detail: Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC Kay Benbow,  Controller, CBeebies, Lucie McLean, Head of Product, Children's, BBC Design and Engineering, Jakie Myburgh, Business Controller, BBC Children's Variety’s Stewart Clarke introduced the panel, before reminding us of the recent big news for BBC…

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CMC 2017: Report – Beyond Survival: Growing your Business and Making Money

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 6:23pm by Amy King

This session explored some of the industry’s success stories, as business leaders and investors discuss how they have taken their companies through the tricky growth stage to develop the strategies and raise the investment in today’s difficult marketplace Takeaway: It pays to plan for the future Look for the best compromise between financing and retaining rights Listen to professionals and be open minded Detail: Co-founder and CEO of Gigglebug Entertainment Anttu Harlin, who is based in Helsinki, produces games and animation that is focused on creating positive content for kids. However, Anttu also wants to capture the idea of asking some of the more difficult questions about money: money enables better content, something that both company and entrepreneur requires equally. Some…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet the Commissioners: Video On Demand

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 2:03pm by Christina Evans

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Steven Kavuma: The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Jesse Whittock, editor of TBI, introduced a panel of commissioners for VOD content, who explained to delegates exactly what kind of pitches are interesting to them at the moment Takeaway: Sky Kids balances its channel partner's US content with British commissions and acquisitions Learning shows including 'Ben and Holly' are popular with the Hopster audience Azoomee look for entertainment lead content, with learning incorporated. Detail: Changemaker Steven Kavuma, founder of the Diversity School Initiative, started the session by giving an inspirational speech about diversity and challenges in education. The first of the VOD commissioners to speak was Lucy Murphy, Head…

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CMC 2017: Report – Best Friends Forever?

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 12:25pm by Lyndsey Smith

This session addressed the issue of the lack of feature length children’s films being produced in the UK. Would the ideal situation be to follow the German and Dutch model and bring together broadcasters and funders to collaborate on projects? Takeaway: Collaboration between broadcasters and funders is a way to gain high quality content Funding schemes are a way of encouraging new content Longevity of a project is key in children’s film Detail: Head of Business for NTR Hedda Bruessing explained how their mission was to “bring special programmes to everyone”. The children’s department is the biggest section of the broadcaster, and with 25 per cent of programming aimed at children she believes that kids deserve content linked to their…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet The Commissioners: PSBs

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 10:27am by Christina Evans

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Yasmin Lodhi: The full session is available here as videos and as podcasts: This session aimed to demystify the Public Service Broadcaster commissioning process – walking the audience through the stages of pitching, development and production for PSB TV shows Takeaway: Each PSB has a different approach to children's coverage, depending on their remit Consider language when pitching to S4C Talk to people and do your research! Detail: Channel 4 First to the floor, Dom Bird, Head of Formats, Music & Education, Channel 4, discussed the fact that C4 do not have any kids' channels currently, raising the question of what the channel is mandated to do. Children’s policy is of course informed…

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Report – Games Masterclass – Max Scott-Slade

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 10:03am

The Games Industry is booming. It’s bigger than film and TV combined, but it’s saturated and tough. Max Scott-Slade of the developer Glitchers led this session, and led with the question ‘what is your game for, what purpose does it serve?' Takeaway: You need to be clear about what makes your game different Slapping on ‘game elements’ to your product or project is not enough – the product has to be designed from the ground up around the concept, story, mission or IP Games are a great way to collect masses of data Collaboration, Clarity, Empowerment, Storytelling and Security are paramount Details: Using the example of Sea Hero Quest, Max explained how games can be used to explore and perhaps help…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Route to China

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 8:29am

From brand IP owners through to a production facilities, if you have ambitions to work with media in China then the China International Cartoon Animation Festival (CICAF) is the place to be. How do you maximise your chances of success? Are you sure you are ready? If you are going to have a once in a lifetime chance to showcase your brand, your creation, who you are and what you do, then be prepared and make it count. If you are not ready, don’t go until you are… Takeaways The Chinese market is on a scale you will not have imagined China is hungry both for new content AND to find worldwide partners for Chinese IPs The UK has a reputation…

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CMC 2017: Report – Character Building

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:10pm by Tom Jordan

What do you get when you cross a writer, an illustrator, an animator, a creative director, an art director, two voice actors and an art director? Answer: The perfect panel to deconstruct what goes into making a successful character. Takeaway: Don’t fall into the trap of creating your main character in isolation for your pitch bible, develop them through dialogues and interaction with the other characters in your world. A character’s voice should be acted, not just mimicked Visuals can be stronger when the designer absorbs the back story of the character Children are a great source of inspiration for character creation All of the above need to work together to develop a character Detail: Voice Director Dave Peacock introduced…

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CMC 2017: Report – Fake News and False Friendships

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:58pm by Bethan Cook

“Fake news is a symptom, rather than the cause, of a deeper social problem”. We live in a world where false news is constantly at the forefront of the media. Fake news stories are being shared around the world and are becoming increasingly plausible. How can children learn to understand what’s real and reliable? Are these sources purposely misleading children, or just carrying out sloppy journalistic practices? Takeaway: Fake news has always been a problem Children need to be educated about the dangers of fake news Children predominantly get their news from social media outlets, which is worrying considering there is a rise of fake news on such platforms Teaching digital citizenship and critical media literacy is of utmost importance…

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CMC 2017: Report – VR: The Creative Challenge

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:54pm by Lyndsey Smith

The session discussed the opportunities Virtual Reality brings to the industry and the potential it has for engaging the audience emotionally through its experiences. There are however still unknowns about the technology especially in regards to children with an age limit in place on certain VR headsets. Takeaway: VR has the potential to engage with the audience emotionally through the user experiences There are a number of possibilities with this technology for home use and commercial promotion There are still unknowns with the technology and its effect on children. Detail: Phil Stuart, the Creative Director of Preloaded, has been making children’s content for 17 years and shared his son’s experience of using VR for the first time. At four years…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:49pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: As the world seems to close its eyes to the people on the edges, life for children and young people in the care system is often steeped in a lack of expectation and frustration. This panel invited three changemakers to share how these perceived limitations can be replaced with satisfaction and aspiration. Takeaway: Projects and campaigns driven by real stories, real people and real experiences How can we do more to represent and advocate for children in care and looked-after children? Use your voice and platforms to shape, change and raise aspirations Detail: The final panel and the last word for this year’s CMC invited three impressive…

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