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An Offer You Can’t Refuse...

Posted on: Monday 08 May 2017 3:44pm

The origins of CMC 2017's interstitial animations are revealed in Spinning Clock's Matt Buck's latest contribution to our occasional series: "What Has the CMC Ever Done for me?" Our first interaction with CMC was the summer conference in Sheffield in 2016. It's been a whirlwind ever since. Having met Greg Childs and talked through what our agency gets up to, he has been an invaluable voice of wisdom on the children’s media climate. Our involvement is set to jump up a few notches when we complete this year’s interstitials that open every session and Keynote at this year's CMC.  How did this happen?…

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BarrowBand Flash Mob

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 12:05am by Gabrielle Smith

Upon arrival at the Crucible Theatre for tonight's Creative Keynote, delegates were greeted to what appeared to be a very traditional marketplace fruit 'n' veg stall parked in the entrance. But this was no ordinary market barrow – it was in fact The BarrowBand. Flash mob like you've never seen before, this band of musicians and performers are changing the way people eat with clever, witty and funny songs about fruit, vegetables and healthy eating. Lovely, lovely, broccoli – don't mistake it for a tree!        

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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…

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China on my Mind

Posted on: Monday 03 April 2017 11:25am

Helen Howells, Joint MD of Hoho Entertainment reveals her ambitions for working in the Chinese market and how she plans to get there. I sighed heavily and asked myself: “Was it really going to be worth it?” Here I was desperately shovelling coins into a machine and pressing buttons manically trying to print out yet another letter before the computer and indeed the ’booth” would say ‘no’ again at 3.00 p.m. at which point I would have to go home and come back in the morning and take another number! What was I up to? Well quite simply (or not as…

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Introducing.... Monica Murthy - DIT New York

Posted on: Monday 12 June 2017 12:26am

In the first of our new series, CMC guests, delegates and contributors introduce themselves and why they re coming to Sheffield in July. Some of you already know me, but my hope is that by the end of CMC 2017, every delegate will know my name. My name is Monica Murthy, and I work for the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT – formerly known as UKTI), out of the British Consulate-General in New York. A little bit about me: I grew up in the US in the New York area, but eventually headed south to Washington DC where I…

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Preview: Best Friends Forever?

Posted on: Friday 30 June 2017 3:46pm by Viola Gabrielli

 Viola Gabrielli, session producer on Best Friends Forever? asks 'can broadcasters and funders work together to finance children’s features films?' Let’s talk about it...   At 12.45 pm Thursday 6 July, in the Hubs Common Room For more years than we like to remember, Kathy Loizou (Director of CMC) and I have been discussing children’s feature film production. Most of the time we wonder why the UK has such a problem in producing feature films for children – particularly live-action of different genres. It seems that other European countries that face the same obstacles do much better. Moreover, they've been able to…

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Preview: Engineering Change

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 10:57am by Esther Kaufmann

Esther Kaufmann, session producer for Engineering Change, on why opening up STEM careers to girls is still a pressing social issue – and what we can do to help. Thursday 6th July, 2pm, in the HUBS Common Room  Let's face an ugly truth: most young girls struggle to name even a single female engineer. Only 3 in 500 girls at 11 go on to study anything technical at university, and less than 9% of the UK engineering workforce are women. The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 predicted that we needed 1.5m more STEM Professionals by 2020, and over 60% of the current UK school population will…

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Preview: Focus on Canada.  UK/Canada co-productions – the perfect match?

Posted on: Friday 30 June 2017 12:54pm by Jeff Norton

Jeff Norton, moderator of the CMC 2017 Focus on Canada session, and a Canadian in London, tells us what to expect from our friends across the pond...   As Canada celebrates its historic 150th anniversary, there much to cheer about with respect to its success in kids' TV. Canada, a country with a population roughly half of the UK, has long punched above its weight in children’s television. Historically, the combination of tax credits, government incentives, and independent funds (created in the wake of various M&A activity in the sector) have enabled creators, producers, and broadcasters to assemble a large percentage…

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Preview: Growing and Making Money

Posted on: Wednesday 28 June 2017 10:49am by Anttu Harlin

Gigglebug Entertainment co-founder and CEO Anttu Harlin (session producer for Beyond Survival: Growing your Business and Making Money) talks about getting comfortable with money. Let’s get it out in the open. Money. In the kids' business, where does the money flow from and who gets it?  Money is a topic that's shrouded in far too much mystery and we're terrified to talk about frankly. That needs to change. If producing is about enabling great content, than being a producer in 2017 means being an entrepreneur. It’s time for more producers and creatives to get entrepreneurial.  Why is money so scary? It…

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Preview: IP 360

Posted on: Friday 30 June 2017 1:13pm by Lucy Gill

Lucy Gill, kids app and User Experience (UX) specialist is the session producer for IP 360. There she talks about the challenges of creating a 360 brand in the children’s space. Like many mothers, I can map my son’s early years through his brand affiliations. From 'Fireman Sam' to 'Octonauts' to a world of superheros, our house has filled with toys, books, magazines, stationery, really anything ‘on brand’ that he could get his hands on. Accompanied, of course, by an obsessive desire to watch the show, play the games etc etc. I vividly remember having to wash my son’s one Fireman…

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Preview: Opening the Vault

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 11:45pm by Rosemary Klein

Rosemary Klein, session producer for Opening the Vault, looks at how to get your hands on more money for your projects – what’s not to like? Thursday 6th July, 9.30am, in Cinema 4  Money, money, money, MONEY… makes the world go round (well that and cosmic forces). But it certainly is the fuel to launch and maintain children’s media projects and business. Are sources of financing your children’s media venture more or less open in 2017? Are you looking for cash in all the wrong places? Or are you simply still awake from the party the night before and need…

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Report - Attention Seekers

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:45pm by Lyndsey Smith

What do the digital native 10-16 years want these days and how must today's producers develop their content accordingly? Takeaway: The audience between the ages of 10 and 16 are the toughest to capture It's important to use many platforms – linear TV is not the primary platform for this age group Listening to the audience is key – they know what they want and need from content Detail: “No audience is as tough to capture as tweens and teens,” said David Kleeman, SVP of Global Trends and Dubit. Exploring how the panel are managing to do this, Newsround editor, Lewis James…

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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…

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Report - First Timers Reception

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 10:27am by Lucy Heavens

This event, hosted by Disney, was an opportunity for first timers to mingle with each other and CMC veterans. CMC debutant and Guest Blogger Lucy Heavens dived right in. Takeaways: Friendliness! The children's media industry isn’t your run-of-the-mill media industry; these people are nice! People want to chat – they’re here to chat, so use this opportunity to introduce yourself. Go to as many sessions as you can; they are all full of nuggets that could prove invaluable to your work. Detail: After a pretty intense trial by fire this morning at the International Exchange (not for the faint-hearted), and…

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Report - Is your IP Ready for Licensing?

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:22pm

A successful licensing programme can deliver significant revenues and marketing eyeballs for your brand. This session shared valuable insights into what licensing partners are looking for before they will commit to supporting your IP in the consumer goods business Takeaway: Licensed product represents a great opportunity to extend marketing, brand and revenues Children and parents will pay a premium for branded product, and retailers see value in this Great characters and story lines are the foundations for licensed product success Detail: Ryan Beaird is Marketing and Operations Manager LIMA, representing the trade association for companies actively engaged in kids’ TV brand licensing. He started…

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Report - Kids - Do We Care… Enough?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 4:44pm by Simon Bor

Presenter and actor Cel Spellman, who starred as a child actor in 'Waterloo Road', examined how television professionals deal with working with children Takeaway: There are challenges (but good ones) in using children in TV programmes – with The Voice kids' version a prime example. There is no equity minimum for a child. There should possibly be a limit to the length of time for kids' consent to appear on TV     Detail: Adapting ‘The Voice UK’ into a children’s version has been a challenge… ,’ said Jeanette Moffat, production executive on ITV’s ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘… but a good…

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Report - Look! No Strings

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:08pm by Gabrielle Smith

Puppets are brought to life for television, theatre and film by the talented puppeteers that operate them. Thinking about puppetry as a skilled and diverse art, this panel explores the magic and illusion of puppets and performance Takeaway: Puppets have the ability to animate and engage their audience, and are allowed to get away with things that a human just couldn’t! Performance skills are essential: a puppeteer must sing, act, dance, move… and then make it live! The craft of the puppeteer is often a self-directing role Detail: As puppeteer and puppet maker Neil Sterenberg begins: "Puppets are perennially loved,…

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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,…

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Report - Meet the Commissioners: Branded Content

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:04am

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: The process of adapting series or films from books, toys or dolls is not new, but in our evolving world of converging content and 360° approach where the dynamics are changing, it is difficult to know what comes first: The toys? The merchandising? The story? Or is it social media? Hasbro Studio, Mattel Creation and Beano Studio share their approaches. Takeaway: Big toy and IP companies are still developing their own IP but are also taking on-board new IP to be developed and are open to ideas…

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Report - New Kids on the Block

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:16pm by Amy King

Leading this panel, Jon Watts tackles the question of what does it take to succeed as a new company entering the children’s media market? The diverse panel of innovators and entrepreneurs discuss their own experiences in the industry, and what they have learnt along the way. Takeaway: Originality is key. Don’t worry about what the bigger companies are doing. People who take risks and think differently are the future of children’s media. Work hard, survive and thrive! Detail: When competing against media giants, such as Netflix and Amazon, Raul Carbo Perea from In Efecto advises that while it can be…

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Report - Opening Keynote

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 2:16am by Simon Bor

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake introduced the two keynote speakers from BBC, James Purnell, Director of BBC Radio & Education, and Alice Webb, Director of BBC Children’s and Director of BBC North, to discuss the details of the BBC’s increase in children’s spending announced today. Takeaways: ​BBC announces additional £34m spend on children’s content over next three years. CBeebies and CBBC content and channels remain in place though fewer and bigger will become the watchwords. The new money will mainly be used for digital developments, greater interactivity and new…

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Report - Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:38am by Lucy Heavens

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Prospective show creators got in the den (a really big stage in front of a really big audience!) to pitch their ideas to the dragons (your friendly neighbourhood producers). After a five-minute pitch, the panellists bid for the show-creator’s time in a three-month 'chat' period Takeaway: These broadcasters get a lot of pitches and they get them often. It’s really important to have a handle on what makes yours unique. Know the marketplace. At the end of the day the broadcasters are looking for strong characters and stories with the potential…

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Report - Reflecting and Serving Neurodiversity

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:21pm by Catherine Trewavas

The team creating new preschool programme ‘Pablo’ discussed making an inclusive, positive show which promotes understanding for children on the autistic spectrum. The session explored the process of developing stories celebrating neurodiversity and asked how we can put children’s ideas and creativity at the heart of programming Takeaway: New programme 'Pablo’ will provide an insight into the experiences of a neurodiverse child Authentic and insightful stories have been developed through working closely with people who have personal experience of autism Creating accessible games content through the addition of extra features is important in making products as inclusive as possible   Detail:…

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Report - Serving Up a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 2:51pm by Sid Sloane

With the UK spending £47 billion on obesity and overweight related issues, not since Popeye opened his first tin of spinach has there been a greater need for a ‘Peppa Pig’ hit show that moves the dial for healthy eating Takeaway: Obesity is the biggest health problem of the 21st century There are links between obesity in children and adult illnesses A sandwich of hard facts either side of two fillings of tasty ideas Details: The Speakers Ricky Boleto, Presenter/Reporter at BBC – In the last eight years Ricky has travelled the world covering a wide range of stories. Recent assignments include visiting the…

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Report - Show Me the Money! The Business Realities of VR

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:51am by Laurel Stone

Virtual reality has rocketed in popularity this last year. In this session, Matthew Thomas, MTM London, asked a panel of experts about the challenges faced by companies and developers working to bring this relatively new technology into the mainstream of children’s media. Takeaway: Large companies are hesitant to take financial risk on a new market However, children are aware of the technology and keen to try it There is a demand for new children’s content in VR The future of VR is more social than you might expect Detail: In new VR projects aimed at children, there are some exciting…

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Report - The Fall and Rise of British Comics

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:56am by Catherine Trewavas

Comics have played an important part in the childhoods of many British kids and classic characters continue to endure, whilst new stories emerge and engage readers. However, despite continued interest in comics, newsagents seem to be in short supply. How are methods of distribution changing and how are fanbases being sustained? Takeaway: Comics are a strong example of how to build a fanbase around characters that audiences really connect with Using online platforms to reach fans in a new way has been important for Beano but hard copies of comics are still popular Commissioning editors should attend conventions to meet…

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Report - Trade, Treaties & Taxes

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:58pm by Simon Bor

Micky Rogers, MRM Inc., hosted this session on the burning questions about financing in the shadow of Brexit, and asked the experts: where are the risks and where are the opportunities? Takeaway: Bad news: No deal on Brexit would not be good for the industry Good news: Co-productions under existing treaties will continue to work whatever happens during Brexit negotiations The current tax credit scheme is unlikely to be taken away, having being introduced by Labour and extended by the Conservatives. Detail Rosina Robson of PACT thought that no deal on Brexit would not be good for the industry. What she…

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Report - Tuesday Workshop: Pitch Perfect

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:44am by Lyndsey Smith

In this workshop a panel of industry experts were on hand to share their experiences of pitching and provide helpful tips on how to pitch and develop skills. Each member of the panel had unique experiences they were able to bring forward to the session. Takeaway It all starts with the pitch and the characters – know your story Flexiblity of ideas, allowing them to be tailored for different platforms Don’t fixate on the one project that you think is going to be your golden ticket. Mickey Rogers, Director, MRM inc., began by sharing her knowledge with the delegates through a…

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Report – The Art of Writing for Animation and The Art of the Theme Tune: Knowing The Score

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:31pm by Tyler McRae

Two Art of… talks in one session saw an insightful interview with top children's writer Andrew Brenner, followed by notes on notes from composers Banks and Wag Takeaways: Writers and composers both need to absorb the whole show as inspiration, not just an outline brief Writers need to be aware of an animated world's limitations and restrictions, and let that shape your characters accordingly Composers shouldn't be afraid of putting their own style and interpretation on a brief Writing For Animation Kath Shackleton, Director of Fettle Animation, hosted a fascinating half-hour talk with writer Andrew Brenner, with the conversation covering…

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Report – Are We Open?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 12:25pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Prof. Jeanette Steemers moderated this morning’s session dedicated to covering many of the policy issues facing children’s television today, in a ‘Question Time’ panel format – asking how is the industry open for ideas, challenges and potential problems within the current climate? Takeaway: Policy, budget and funding will impact the creative industries in short and long term Securing terms of trade suitable for everyone should be an industry priority UK is a powerhouse of creative talent, so thought should be given to how we protect and nurture…

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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…

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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…

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Report – Can We Fix It?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:06pm by Tyler McRae

Debating the issues surrounding online child safety has never been more important. Giles Dilnot spearheaded this important panel discussion, with the aid of in-house social media app Slido to bring audience comments and feedback into the equation  Takeaway: Tech conglomerates need to be more involved in safety, despite it not being profitable. A digital charter is necessary but needs great development to work effectively Educating parents will make a child’s online experience better Detail: Digital literacy can be just as important as some of the core school subjects such as Maths and English to help a child gain key skills. Baroness Beeban…

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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…

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Report – CMC Creative Keynote: Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:26am by Tyler McRae

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Nikki Christou: The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: The connoisseurs of Creamy Muck Muck, Dick and Dom had entered the Crucible to cause mess, mayhem and talk about their 20+ year career in children’s television. Takeaway:  Their success wouldn’t exist without enthusiastic, hard-working teams around them Give children a greater media platform to present themselves Invest in silly! Detail: There was no better way to kick off the keynote than with some audience participation from Dick and Dom, which loosened up the crowd. Armed with…

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Report – Deciphering the Data Puzzle

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:26pm by Catherine Trewavas

Children are increasingly consuming content through online platforms and using many different devices to do so. A panel of experts discuss the use of analytics in monitoring trends, as well as challenges and advantages that come with these developing technologies Takeaway: Children are increasingly turning to online platforms rather than linear TV More digital media consumption means trends can be tracked with greater ease Understanding audiences and data sharing can create commercial opportunities Detail: How can we use data science and analytics to change the way we make content for children? Children’s media consumption has changed dramatically. Over the last…

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Report – Development Masterclass: Terry Kalagian

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:34pm by Tom Jordan

The full session is available here as a podcast: The key to getting your idea developed successfully is the C word – Compromise. That's the advice from Gaumont Animation’s Terry Kalagian Takeaway: Compromise and collaboration is something to be embraced, rather than resisted, when developing your project. You just need to know how much you’re prepared to compromise Your producer is on your side, so work together rther than against each other Own your product, then you’ll have an instinct on what you are happy to compromise on, and what you can’t It’s better to have been open to compromise…

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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…

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Report – Focus on Canada

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:18pm by Amy King

Host Jeff Norton from Awesome Media & Entertainment led this morning’s session deliberating the pitfalls and challenges of co-production, joined by a panel of Canadian producers, distributors, and broadcasters Takeaway: Co-production is potentially a complex system, but if the right partnership is formed the outcome is worth it It’s crucial to develop a good relationship with a potential co-pro before signing off on a project Detail:  The interactive session promised to demystify the world of co-production and simply help delegates learn how to do business with Canada. Despite the early time slot, the panel were primed and ready to answer…

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Report – Focus on China

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:10pm by Lyndsey Smith

With a co-production treaty between China and the UK imminent, host Chris Colman led the session informing delegates on how China and the West can collaborate on children’s media projects in the future.          Takeaway: Collaboration between the UK and Chinese markets is predicted to continue in the future The Department for International Trade (DIT) is on hand to help with the deal making process between the UK and China Patience is key – the language barrier must be considered Detail: Delegates were given an insight into the experiences of UK producers already working with China and…

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Report – Focus on France

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 3:08pm

France has important resources in terms of animation talents and also offers a large market for kids broadcast, but it is also an underused country for animation coproduction. Major French broadcasters and producers talked about the industry, their own perspectives and possibilities for the future Takeaway: France has a highly competitive TV market with branded blocks and kids' dedicated domestic free TV channels and pay TV split 45/55% between domestic and American networks Only 7% of French household have access to an SVOD service French quotas make the co-production route financially attractive for producers Detail: Julien Borde from France Télévisions…

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Report – I Don’t Need a Role Model - I Just Want to See Me

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:17pm by Catherine Trewavas

How are children’s aspirations being influenced by characters they see on screen and in toy shops? Nicki Karet, Managing Director at Sherbert Research, hosted a panel and the topic was hotly debated Takeaway: Brand creators should consider whether they are doing enough to make sure content is diverse, inclusive and open for a young audience Licensing and marketing can have a major impact in terms of profitability, but also can bring limitations when it is too tailored There is an ongoing struggle between commercial return and social impact              Detail: Cato Hunt, Director of Innovation at brand…

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Report – IP 360

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:40pm

This session used real-world case studies to explore why some IP succeeds and some does not in today's 360 landscape. By Guest Blogger Craig Hill Takeaway: There is no one 'magic bullet'; success in 360 comes from attention to detail across a wide range of disciplines including planning, finance, asset management, audience research, platform understanding, development timelines A deep understanding of the child's view of the brand, the storyline and characters is essential to be able to bring them to life in different ways on each platform, playing to the strengths of each It is important to have a deep…

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Report – Kindfulness

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:57pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a podcast: A huge topic on the minds for kids’ media professionals today – how can we get kindness on the cards? Producers and media industry experts discuss the ways kindness, empathy and respect can make their mark on children’s media content Takeaway: Teaching children to be resilient, respectful and kind to each other is more important than ever – TV and pro-social gaming is a way to do this Imbuing content for kids with messages to bolster core emotional and life skills, at home and at school, is important It's crucial to…

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Report – Learning Through Animation

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:48pm by Tyler McRae

Kath Shackleton, Producer at Fettle Animation, headed this broad talk on the process of producing educational animation for children of all ages.  Takeaways: Constant testing is needed for content to succeed. Make animation for kids, not their parents. Animation can greatly assist in further learning.  Details: Zane Wittingham, Creative Director at Fettle animation, began with an explanation of what animation is and how it can inform, entertain and educate. Animation can take you out of your comfort zone and make the viewer challenge their preconceived ideas about a topic. It can be perceived as a condensed form of communication that…

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Report – Meet the Commissioners: Channels

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:27pm

The full session is available here as videos and as podcasts: Nico Franks of C21 Media, introduced executives from the digital children’s channels Nickelodeon, Baby TV, Disney and Turner. Takeaway: Nickelodeon says: "Approach a pitch as a partnership, not as a boss/employee relationship." Baby TV addresses parents first. Disney is open to pitches from every talented individual. Turner is open all year round for submissions Detail: Nickelodeon Alison Bakunowich, General Manager of UK and Ireland, and Nina Hahn, Senior VP of Nickelodeon, were first to set out their stall. Nickelodeon is currently the number one satellite kids network, and boasts coverage…

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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…

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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…

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Report – Opening the Vault

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:35pm by Catherine Trewavas

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: A panel of children's media financing experts explored possibilities for raising and sourcing money for projects Takeaway: Be confident and prepared when approaching commissioners Have a simple, succinct business plan that can spark further conversations and opportunities Look at all funding routes and research the possibility of unlocking extra money through secondary television royalties Details: Abhi Arya is the Co-Founder and Partner of Sandbox & Co. He discussed their emphasis on investment in gaming and educational content, focusing upon learning through entertainment. He cited some investment must-haves:…

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Report – Play Patterns in Digital

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:19pm

Child development doesn’t change, but its context does. In a digital world, playthings have taken new virtual forms but how are digital toys changing existing play patterns? Experts give some insight on relationships between physical to digital play Takeaway: Digital playthings are an evolution rather than a revolution – “It is mimicry of what we know until it becomes something new” (Jais Holm Christensen’s presentation) Leave place for the child’s imagination and discovery rather than dictating a linear play pattern For a successful transition to digital, a brand needs to start from its essence, mission or values, understand the relationship…

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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…

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Report – Playground

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 4:16pm by Gabrielle Smith

and Catherine Trewavas Based at Cantor Gallery, the Playground is open to all. An interactive digital art exhibition featuring cutting edge digital technology – mixing play and interaction for children (and big kids too)! Games, apps, toys and even VR to immerse oneself in. Takeaways Projects focused on enhancing digital skills and encouraging emotional development. Games to promote creative thinking and problem solving. Explore paper craft cityscape through interactive 360 virtual reality headset. With free admission to all, the Playground is a component of the Children’s Media Conference you won’t want to miss. Carefully curated to showcase some of the UK’s…

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Report – So Over Unboxing – What’s Next?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 4:54pm by Sid Sloane

The full session is available here as a podcast: Guest blogger Sid Sloane puts his slant on the experts’ view of what the next big thing in digital will be. Takeaway: The best way to prepare for ‘what’s next’ is to be clear about where you, and your audience, fit into the digital world Digital will always be a two-way process The future is now! Detail: Just lately my mantra has been don’t dwell on anything be present, which takes a lot of in-the-moment thinking. So when it comes to the question ‘what next?’, the answer is now. It takes…

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Report – The Art of Personalisation and The Art of Discoverability

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:06pm by Simon Bor

The second two-for-one Art of… sessions took a look into the world of personalised publishing and how children will, or will not, discover your content Takeaway: Your child's data can be used to create a personalised book Find a niche. You are not going to be able to compete with Harry Potter straight away Know your audience and engage with it Detail: The Art of Personalisation Alison Stewart, Head of Production at CBeebies, introduced the session and the first speaker, Nick Marsh, Head of Product at Lost My Name (the world’s leading personalised publishing company). Nick was pleased to be back…

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Report – The Ethics of VR – Inside a Child’s Virtual World

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:08pm by Bethan Cook

Journalist Stuart Dredge moderates this afternoon’s session dedicated to understanding how children between the ages of six and twelve interact with Virtual Reality. What does it mean to children? How should they use it? What impact does it have? Takeaways: VR is still somewhat of a sensitive subject in the children’s world VR and AR have become useful tools in educating children VR creates a gap in the market, and offers experiences that are more immersive and social than ever before Propositions to create rest breaks whilst using VR to promote a healthier, non-addicted lifestyle (unlike traditional gaming) Various issues…

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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…

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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…

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Report – Tuesday Workshop: Get Social

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 10:02pm by Kerry Drewery

This session discussed how to make a brand successful on social media – looking at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – followed by hands-on experience of how to create social media content. Takeaways Think about where your brand fits. Make your brand voice authentic. Make sure what you post fits with what your audience want and what your themes are. The session first discussed using social media to reach and grow your audience, and was chaired by Moderator/Producer Nellie McQuinn, from Grass Roots Media. The panel: Rebecca Frankel, Head of Distribution and Partners at Little Dot Studios. Anna Lewis, Co-founder of…

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Report – Tuesday Workshop: Open to Virtual?

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 5:37pm by Tyler McRae

A hands- and head-sets-on workshop on getting to grips with the world of virtual – and how to use it to create good content. Takeaway: Creative storytelling is in high demand for the VR industry. Small techniques from non-creative sectors are crucial in immersive design. The market for children’s virtual reality is in high demand. Detail: Moderators Ray Maguire and Alison Norrington expressed from the get-go that VR is an ever-growing technology. Brands like Playstation, Oculus and HTC are funding further development of stereoscopic cameras and pinpointing tracking technology. In order to become a successful virtual reality company, Ray explained…

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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…

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Report – Who’s Running This Show Anyway

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:18pm by Lyndsey Smith

This session focussed on the role of 'showrunner' – what a showrunner actually is, how crucial a role they play, and how the position differs in the UK and the US Takeaway: There is no one size fits all for the term Showrunner There is a difference of meaning in the UK and the US In general, a showrunner is responsible for the overall creative vision of the show Detail: Each panellist came to the session with their own opinion on what a showrunner was responsible for. For Foz Allan, Executive Producer for Bryncoed Productions, the showrunner is usually the head creative…

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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…

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What has the CMC Ever Done... for Sheffield Kids?

Posted on: Tuesday 20 June 2017 1:40am by Emma Cooper

Emma Cooper, CMC Advisory Committee member asks... Which for a Children's Media Conference that has happened in Sheffield every year for the last 14 years is a very good question.  As a Sheffield resident and someone who works in children’s media I’ve gained a huge amount from CMC being on my home turf. Not just sleeping in my own bed and seeing my own children while attending a conference, but also making international connections,  learning more about making media for children, and growing and strengthening my career - from outside the M25. A thousand or more delegates coming to the…

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Manimation is supported by National Lottery funds awarded to ScreenSkills from the British Film Institute to deliver its Future Film Skills programme.

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