Blogs

November 2019

Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – Diversity: Good for Business

Posted on: Friday 15 November 2019 2:27pm by Helen Dugdale

Following up on the UK Screen Alliance inclusion and diversity survey, the session considered how access to the animation industry can be improved and why that‘s better for business. Kate O'Connor (Animation UK) Kate gave a whistle top tour through the Key findings of the Screen. Alliance Report on Diversity and Inclusion, which offered separated figures for the animation sector. Talent is critical issue - 30% of our work force come from outside the UK. Gender balance is improving but - 66% of women in animation are in junior roles. This isn’t good enough! BAME representation. Only 14% of animation workforce, lower than other sectors. 92% of the animation workforce holds a first degree, so the record on social inclusion…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – Panel: Ads and Animators

Posted on: Friday 15 November 2019 1:58am by Helen Dugdale

A panel discussion exploring the connections between animation studios and ad agencies that have worked together to develop successful relationships and inspiring animation. Top Takeaways Small animation studios can take on jobs and turn them round quickly Creative agencies like to see visuals from animators to get an idea of their take on the brief Animation studios and creative agencies need to be honest with clients about budgets and time frames to get the best results Agencies want a safe pair of hands to deliver the creative.   Andrew Lord (Flipbook) Flipbook are behind the animated ad for Manchester Christmas Markets. They worked with the creative agency M4 on the ad alongside Manchester City Council, to come up with the…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – International Opps.

Posted on: Thursday 14 November 2019 2:01am by Helen Dugdale

The realities and benefits of working with co-producers: Top Takeaways Look out for people who are on the same wavelength. Make it a real partnership. Have the conversations at the start of the co-pro. The difference in time zones is interesting . You can easily lose a day on the animation schedule. Don’t have money changing countries as if the exchange rate shifts  your budget will rise.   Speakers: Tamsin Lyons (Ink and Light) We’re a small company and it can be lonely. With an international co-pro, you have partners to share the highs and lows and creative decisions. Our partners in Ireland and Finland are supportive and are great broadcasters. They have made it more fun. Look out for…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – Keynote: Sarah Muller, BBC Children’s

Posted on: Thursday 14 November 2019 12:35am by Helen Dugdale

Greg Childs introduced Sarah Muller, recently turned to BBC Children's to take on the role of Head of Independent Animation and Acquisitions, and who would take us through a comprehensive outline fo how the BBC finds its animation and what it is looking for. “It’s an interesting time to be in the industry. Our key audience is very media literate and tech-savvy. They are loyal to the content and not to the platform anymore,” said Sarah Muller Top Things BBC is looking for: We need more drama for CBeebies with a BBC angle We’re looking for dominant and strong female characters Comedy – little kids like to laugh – we like smart writing and gags 2-D fast-paced comedy We’re really interested…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – Forum: Screen Skills and the Animation Skills Council

Posted on: Thursday 14 November 2019 12:09am by Helen Dugdale

ScreenSkills is an industry-led body which offers training and funding. Under the chairmanship of Tom Box, who is Chair of tether Animation Skills cCouncil, which guides ScreenSkills in their priorities, invited guests shared training opportunities already available and guest and delegates also shared thoughts on what animation companies would like to see as future training initiatives/   ScreenSkills training available: The Helen North Achieve Programme – growing the careers of women in animation. It offers great networking opportunities as well as expanding skillsets and job opportunities. 72 women have been on the programme so far. CPD developments - freelance sessions, masterclass sessions, return to work training and 2D training. Storyboarding is a recognised skills gap. ScreenSkills will be offering storyboarding training in 2020 with Lupus…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 – The Shock of the New

Posted on: Thursday 14 November 2019 12:07am by Helen Dugdale

Three  separate presentations discussed the latest in tech, animation on the new platforms and new sources of funding. Top Takeaways The TV industry has a duty of care - datacentres spill massive of carbon pollution Technology is great but the story is king The Young Audience Content Fund is a great resource   James Stevens, CCO, YellowDog Shock of the new in technology James Stevens looked back over the last few decades exploring the trends and patterns that have emerged in tecnology - from the early Intel days and the personal computer which meant everyone could produce content to the birth of mobile communications and the boom of the internet which changed society. And now, YoutTube...  17-year-olds in their bedrooms are…

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Manimation 2019: Manimation 2019 Keynote – Peter Lord

Posted on: Wednesday 13 November 2019 11:15pm by Helen Dugdale

In this inspiring opening keynote, Peter Lord talked about the way Aardman has organised itself as a creative powerhouse over the last 30 years – and how their new position as a mutual company is part of that process. The Aardman partnership began at school and as a hobby which somehow turned into a career. The team has grown slowly and steadily from the early days in Dave Sproxton’s back bedroom to now a team of 220 and an employee-owned company. What is the secret to their creative success?  Optimism, communications, a sense of play and understanding the privilege and power of working in the communications business. “We had the desire to keep going and we had optimism and ambition…

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Be Ready for Brexit: Brexit Implications for Export and Import Issues

Posted on: Wednesday 06 November 2019 3:38pm by Stuart Dredge

On 24 October, Animation UK and CMC teamed up for the 'Be Ready for Brexit' event in London, to help the animation and kids' content TV and digital production communities learn about and discuss the implications of Brexit on their businesses – whether the UK exits the European Union with or without a deal. At the time of the event, 31 October was still looming as the deadline for the UK's withdrawal agreement to be ratified – and a no-deal crash-out if it were not. Since then, however, the UK's request for an extension to 31 January has been approved by the EU, pushing back that deadline. The third session at the event focused on export and import issues, with a panel…

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Be Ready for Brexit: Brexit and the Future of Finance

Posted on: Wednesday 06 November 2019 3:34pm by Stuart Dredge

On 24 October, Animation UK and CMC teamed up for the 'Be Ready for Brexit' event in London, to help the animation and kids' content TV and digital production communities learn about and discuss the implications of Brexit on their businesses – whether the UK exits the European Union with or without a deal. At the time of the event, 31 October was still looming as the deadline for the UK's withdrawal agreement to be ratified – and a no-deal crash-out if it were not. Since then, however, the UK's request for an extension to 31 January has been approved by the EU, pushing back that deadline. The second session at the event explored the future of finance, with a panel including…

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Be Ready for Brexit: What will Brexit mean for workforce, skills and employment?

Posted on: Tuesday 05 November 2019 10:25pm by Stuart Dredge

On 24 October, Animation UK and CMC teamed up for the 'Be Ready for Brexit' event in London, to help the animation and kids' content TV and digital production communities learn about and discuss the implications of Brexit on their businesses – whether the UK exits the European Union with or without a deal. At the time of the event, 31 October was still looming as the deadline for the UK's withdrawal agreement to be ratified – and a no-deal crash-out if it were not. Since then, however, the UK's request for an extension to 31 January has been approved by the EU, pushing back that deadline. The final session at the event focused on the human side of Brexit…

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Be Ready for Brexit: Brexit and the future of funding for TV, film and games

Posted on: Tuesday 05 November 2019 1:20am by Stuart Dredge

On 24 October, Animation UK and CMC teamed up for the 'Be Ready for Brexit' event in London, to help the animation and kids' content TV and digital production communities learn about and discuss the implications of Brexit on their businesses – whether the UK exits the European Union with or without a deal. At the time of the event, 31 October was still looming as the deadline for the UK's withdrawal agreement to be ratified – and a no-deal crash-out if it were not. Since then, however, the UK's request for an extension to 31 January has been approved by the EU, pushing back that deadline. The first session at the 'Be Ready for Brexit' event focused on the future of…

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October 2019

What has the CMC Ever Done for me? From Cardiff to the World…

Posted on: Monday 28 October 2019 2:09am by Jon Rennie

As Cloth Cat Animation has grown over the last 7 years, the CMC has been not only been an essential part of the calendar but also our route to visiting conferences all over the world. We've had so much support from everyone involved and there is a real sense of family at all the events. Visiting CMC Sheffield is always a pleasure because it's a more relaxed event, with insightful panels and conversations over coffee and sandwiches. The keynotes are a highlight and they manage to be at the forefront of discussions on the future of the industry. Keeping on top of all the new platforms, emerging markets and expectations of the audience is the most challenging aspect of building an…

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July 2019

CMC 2019: Report – Research 5 & 6

Posted on: Wednesday 24 July 2019 12:55am

Research 5 and 6 focused on the trends in familial co-consumption of content and possible ways to improve con-consumption experiences. In today’s media landscape, digital media dominate daily habits for both children and adults. Research 5 looked at how grandparents fit into the picture of children’s playtime. Additionally, it examined how the difference in play styles between the generations could be reconciled with today’s technology. Research 6 talked about trends in familial co-viewing of content and attitudes of parents and children in different activities. Takeaways: Grandparents are increasingly likely to join in on digital gaming Smart toys are a really good way to bridge that gap Parents are feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children TV is…

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CMC 2019: Report – Are the Robots Coming for our Children?

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 1:01pm

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an increasing impact across a wide range of industries. This session explored both the opportunities for AI in children’s industries, from robots to marketing campaigns, as well as the risks and ethical dilemmas this presents. In such an exciting and fast growing area, how do we ensure as an industry that we don’t cross the line? Takeaways:  Applications for AI across children’s media are fast emerging, from robots that support early language development to deep analysis providing audience insights However, there are also numerous potential risks and ethical concerns The panellists highlighted existing guidelines such as those from the European Commission and called for more research, discussion and rules both…

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CMC 2019: Report – Media Medicine

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:54am by Michelle Jones

Media Medicine used case studies to illustrate the various ways in which it's possible to make a difficult and sometimes disturbing topic not only palatable, but fun and engaging for the younger audience. Takeaways: Play is the best way to educate children of all ages and get these difficult facts across to them Kids don’t want information to be dumbed down and getting the right mix of fact / educational and Entertainment is a challenge and ever-changing. When kids are ill they age down slightly and are happy to cuddle a teddy bear – they want information to be simple to make them feel better….. Play, fun and entertainment can be used across all media – children learn in different ways and all information should…

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CMC 2019: Report – VR and AR Storytelling for Kids

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:38am by Jess Percival

The ways children interact with the world around them is changing fast. With many children preferring to watch content on a mobile device, such as a tablet, than they do traditional TV, there are a lot of new possibilities that comes with having a device in your pocket. Takeaways: Use music and audio to engage and guide Create an emotional connection with the characters Let kids interact, touch, stamp and more - they want to DO stuff The testing phase is crucial - you never know how kids will react Detail:  The differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are big. AR creates a little bit of magic in your reality, whereas VR allows you to experience a completely different…

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CMC 2019: Report – Merging Digital and Physical Experiences 

Posted on: Saturday 06 July 2019 10:51pm by Helen Dugdale

Merging Digital and Physical Experiences was a friendly and informal panel discussion looking at the way real-world play and digital play are now entwined. The panel discussed how to help some parents to overcome their resistance to the world of digital as it is now linked to many of their children’s toys. The panel explored the challenges, possibilities and experiences of working in this space. Takeaways: Children use coding to come up with real-world problems and digital solutions A big challenge is communicating to parents that digital isn’t evil. 70% of girls are more interested in learning to code which is a pattern replicated around the world. Detail:  To kickstart the hour, moderator Laerke Vindahl asked the panel: “Playing in the real world always…

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CMC 2019: Report – Research 1 & 2

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:52pm by Shannon Reeve

Research 1 and 2 focused on the content strategies being used by online video organisations and tech-giants to get into the children’s side of the growing online video sector. Takeaway: ● Netflix is looking for content for 7 to 9-year- olds, whilst Amazon is looking more for pre-school content. ● YouTube is the dominant content provider, with Netflix following behind. ● Only 10% of children go to live TV sources first, versus 41% of adults. Detail: The first of the research presentations, delivered by Fred Black of Ampere Analysis, examined what key SVODs have been commissioning and may be looking for in the near future. The focus of the research was on the contrasts between Netflix and Amazon, and where…

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CMC 2019: Report – China – A Creative Approach 

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:51pm by Cate Zerega

Connecting with the Chinese market can be difficult but very rewarding. With a lot of hard work you can create something very successful. This session gave advice to those looking at cracking the Chinese market, and was upfront about the challenges. Takeaway:  Creators acknowledge that they don’t know how China works or how they can develop better partnerships within China.  Everyone wants a successful show, however, the definition of success is different, which is where partnerships can diverge. There is Chinese market potential for voice software applications for remote parenting apps.  Detail: Moderator Alice Webb began the hour asking,  'What works creatively and what doesn’t work in China?  Manman Chen highlighted WeKids' search for properties from the global market targeting…

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CMC 2019: Report – Kids’ Media Connected

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:50pm by Jess Percival

MACKY, the Media & Audiovisual Creatives for Kids and Youth, is an international organisation of children's media professionals which gathers the insights of creatives and youth across platforms. Founded in Belgium, MACKY is now looking for partnerships abroad to put the collective on sound financial ground and develop supporters in neighbouring countries, so it can grow into an international creative association. Takeaways: MACKY was started because Charlie believes all youth deserves to be represented in all media. MACKY brings together many professionals who want to share their knowledge with those who want to learn. It is important to spark more conversations about what creators truly want to create - not just what they think broadcasters will like. Detail:  Audiences are…

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CMC 2019: Report – Gambling and Gaming: What’s the Difference? What’s the Harm?

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:49pm

Gambling within video games is a real concern for parents and kids alike. What is the nature of the relationship between gambling and game design, and what responsibilities do we have as a community? Takeaways: Awareness is key - gambling features are prevalent in 54% of the current top grossing mobile apps, of which 94% were deemed suitable for children. Loot boxes can take many forms in gaming and certain safeguards need to be added to games to make this feature much more transparent. There is a correlation between gaming and gambling, which exploits people who are more vulnerable to addiction. Detail: Tim Miller introduced the session and ran through some sobering statistics revealing that 14% of 11-16 year olds…

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CMC 2019: Report – Commissioner Conversations VoD

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:48pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaway: Online Safety, although viewed differently is a guiding principal in all commissioning. Content with high and forward thinking child discoverability is lucrative in commissioning VoD. Detail: Nico Franks of C21 Media kicked off the conversation asking what has worked for commissioners in the past, what they’re looking for next and how to get a pitch through. Estelle Lloyd programmes for Azoomee’s platform according to the premium nature and hand picked sensibility of the brand. Game content is as important to Azoomee as video content because games are the number one driver of engagement with the product. Games content also helps them differentiate themselves from Netflix. Azoomee is emerging from a fallow year of commissioning and so are thinking again…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Animation Skills Fund – Use it or Lose it

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:47pm by Vanisha Sumboo

New initiatives from the re-booted ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council will address animation skill shortages. Animation recruiters were invited to have their say on the priorities and approaches. Takeaway: How best to use the fund is open for discussion and the panel welcomed input and opinion on this. While it can sometimes be tricky in deciding which initiatives to move forward with, working collaboratively and collectively as a whole is the key element to drive the animation industry forward and address the skills shortage. A position is open for someone to chair the Animation Skills Fund and act as an ambassador who can help it move forward. Detail: In terms of skills shortages, this can vary from practice to practice. In Adam…

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CMC 2019: Report – Fresh Kids Tech

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:46pm by Sam Barlow

In this session, Stuart Dredge gave the audience an entertaining whistle-stop tour of the latest tech trends in the kids’ space. Stuart explained that his talk was definitely not intended to evangelise about tech - and that while there is much to be excited about, some developments are cause for concern too. Takeaway: Even within big tech companies, pockets exist of people who care and seek to do ‘good stuff’ for the kids audience. Tech is capable of more than just entertainment. It can positively impact on kids lives in all manner of ways. There are still discussions to be had about issues surrounding kids privacy and the tracking of their data. Detail: Starting with Augmented Reality, we heard about…

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CMC 2019: Report – Kids with Stones in their Pockets

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:45pm by Emma Boucher

With a focus on narrative and play, this session explored the importance of creative, open-ended play to children’s development and how media experiences can encourage self-expression and self-discovery. Takeaway: Children need the space to explore ideas through creative play, with the room to try and fail. Open narratives encourage children to explore self-expression through play. Adults don’t need to teach children how to play! Detail: Alison Norrington introduced the session by telling the story behind the title of the session, which comes from her year of research into VR - best practice, narrative and experience design, and psychology and play. A boy collected stones and put them into his pockets. Every day his mum threw them away. Eventually he asked…

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CMC 2019: Report – Don’t Mention the C Word!

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 3:59pm by Gabrielle Smith

This session explored the way in which class and socio-economic background is (and has always been) an important driver of diversity on and off screen. This panel discussed personal and professional experiences of why inclusion is imperative at all levels. Takeaway: Ask young people what they need? They won't ask you - so be prepared to have a conversation in order to push past the barriers. Class is not visible - don't assume anything about anyone! Encourage young people to develop innate skills without obsessing about demonstrable qualifications. Detail: This session saw four speakers who were united in their passion for eradicating inequality across various media industries. By changing the way our young people are taught to think about how…

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CMC 2019: Report – Commissioner Conversations Channels

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 1:28pm

First, Changemaker Brandon Relph, opened up the event with a smile and youthful enthusiasm about his knowledge of Generation Z and his Yentrepreneurship - which stemmed from YouTube success with Minecraft videos, but now sees him advising companies as to heir relationship with Generation Z. Session: Industry veterans, those just starting out, or somewhere in between, gathered to hear what commissioners have to say. In an ever-evolving media landscape, we heard what’s new with Sony, Turner and Viacom, what they’re looking for and how best to approach them with the next big idea. Takeaway: Nickelodeon. “Everything we do is defined by the child”. Sony are looking into other platforms to build the audience around television screens. Projects (format and length) can…

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CMC 2019: Report – Alexa, How should Youth Brands Use Audio in 2019?

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 11:44am

As audio’s influence importance grows, and podcasts, smart speakers and audiobooks are increasingly part of family life, children’s brand strategies are placing audio at the heart of their media mix. This session explored how brands hope to capture the ears and interests of young people around the UK, and how they are coming to grips with these exciting new audio experiences. Takeaway: Fast  growth across all audio experiences, with unmet demand. Audio and Voice family offering needs to be better. ‘Nothing not to like’ -  Audio and Voice offer something exciting and new for a child’s media world. A fertile ground for innovation, but quality and detail are essential. Detail: BBC research suggests 32% of homes with kids have smart…

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CMC 2019: Report – Staying Local

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 11:26am by Jenny Kane

This session asked what is the place of local drama - in a world where the streaming ‘giants’ are able to throw huge resources at international stories? The key question put to panel experts was how ‘kid focused’ drama can flourish during times of change. Takeaway: Children need and have a desire to see their lives reflected on screen back at them. The BFI Young Audience Content Fund is a new funding stream to encourage producers to make the local dramas they haven’t been able to before. International programmes do not necessarily mean glossy and expensive. A mix model approach should be adopted by broadcasters when it comes to local vs international - "for every 'Stranger Things' there is a 'The…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 10:52am

With the advertised contributor, Nikki Lilly unable to attend CMC due to illness in her family, CMC moved quickly to put together something inspiring and challenging for the final thirty minutes of the Conference.   Who better than the Changemakers (and friends)?  A group of young people who had never met before, some from this year's Changemaker team, one from last year's (now moderating a session of her own at CMC) and one of the much-appreciated CMC volunteer team who had been in the Changemaker support crew. and got to know them through the course of the conference. The panel closed the event by discussing their opinions of the conference and industry, and what they hope for the future of media…

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