MEDIA Presents a Ticket to Europe

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2013 3:47pm by David Ault

This session heard case studies from UK Companies that have benefited from the various grants, training programmes, markets and events supported by MEDIA.

The funding bodies are very friendly and approachable – you could assume it’s very difficult to apply, but it’s not.
Duncan Raitt, Plastic Milk Animation

The world of funding can be very dense, but it was good to hear case studies – including successes and failures – to put things in context.
Jane Marlow, Park Pups Ltd

Top Ten Takeaways:

1. EU Funding is FREE MONEY.

2. It’s not good enough to have a great creative idea – to get funding you need business details.

3. You need to understand your target market and do your research.

4. Get your questions in early and you’ll receive the most help.

5. Even if your projects get funding but don’t get broadcast, it’s still a useful process.

6. Pilots are extremely good – they let you make mistakes, and make pitching to broadcasters much easier.

7. Last year 1 in 4 UK projects received funding from the EU, sharing €9.1m across UK companies and €7.6m across UK films.

8. You can get up to €80,000 for a single project, making it well worth the time to fill in the forms!

9. The next budget strand, Creative Europe, runs from 2014 to 2020, with calls for proposals going out in November.

10. EU funding is FREE MONEY!

Lunchtime talks are often difficult beasts to master, with hungry delegates and rustling food bags; there was, however, lots to chew over in this session. With this funding stream coming to an end, celebrating Competitiveness, Circulation and Cultural Diversity, the panel were keen to make everyone aware that as the new budget comes online, there are many ways for UK studios, producers and companies to get funding to make their media.

Francesca Walker of MEDIA Desk UK started proceedings by showing off just how much match funding is available through the European Union: €80,000 for single projects, €190,000 for slate funding, with €1.3bn being earmarked between 2014 and 2020. This can be used for training as well as production costs, and needs only a modicum of paperwork.

This is, in fact, the nub of the discussion. All the panellists were at pains to remind the audience that once you get stuck into what can be very daunting forms, the process becomes a lot easier and eminently repeatable. This was borne out by the two other panellists, providing their case studies of EU funding.

Owen Stickler is Managing Director of Dinamo Productions, sharing his experience of the process, from finding out about the programme from a local forum, sending in applications in triplicate with each page in an individual poly pocket, through to the first project about a crime-fighting moose. Whilst this never got to broadcast, the process itself was extremely instructive, leading to the development of The Wordles, which then became Abadas on CBeebies.

Oli Hyatt of Blue Zoo talked of his success with Digby Dragon and failure with Monkey Fist, the latter due to a badly-timed statement about the project being “the most expensive and ambitious animation ever made”. A number of times he mentioned ‘free money’, that the funding bodies wanted to give money away, but needed applications to be in and – most importantly – done correctly.

They stressed the need for research, for a well-thought out marketing and distribution strategy, the need for a good budget and a willingness to engage with the funding body to get the help that they are very willing to give. The points system for awarding funding depends on all aspects of your pitch – 50% for the creative aspects and 50% for the business, so it’s vital that you nail down that side of your projects. As Oli continued to say – it’s free money, so it’s worth the time and effort to engage with the paperwork – and it certainly focuses you on the details.

The lunchtime audience was very appreciative of all the hints given, and the case studies provided gave good case studies for anyone wanting to join in. Last year 1 in 4 UK projects were funded, which shows that it’s a good idea to go for it.

Introduced by: Mike Robinson, Animation Consultant

Speakers: Oli Hyatt, Blue Zoo Animation; Owen Stickler, Dinamo Productions

Produced by: Francesca Walker, MEDIA Desk UK

Sponsored by: British Council France

Event Reports

David Ault, Storyteller and Astrophysicist – The Mercenary Artist

About the author

David Ault

The Mercenary Artist, Storyteller and Astrophysicist

David is a voice actor and storyteller who has toured the country - and the internet - doing drama and creating all sorts of characters. He is also a scientist, regularly putting out astronomy podcasts, and travelled across North America blogging about the state of science communication on the continent… Read more