Meet the Commissioners: Specialists

Posted on: Saturday 06 July 2013 1:17pm by Jan Leventhall


Interesting  – it is good to know there are alternative ways of raising funding.
Ogodinife Okpue (Adverto)

You may not have walked away from this session with a suitcase of cash, but you will have left with new ideas of different funding and partnership options for the future.

Top Ten Takeaways

  1. Tate Kids are interested in anything that engages kids with art.
  2. Take Kids have an annual budget of £20k although they would seek further funding for larger projects. You won’t make your millions from Tate, but they may open doors for you.
  3. Watershed in Bristol take a very interdisciplinary approach are passionate about supporting creativity and will help you research and develop new concepts
  4. They are currently particularly interested in new ways of presenting factual formats and tailor their support to individual needs.
  5. Watershed’s Playability Project will be offering £30k again next August for projects on what it means to be human in a city and how cities can become more playable – pitching is open to all, in any format (from videos to matchstick models!  Whatever suits your project best.)
  6. Wellcome are interested in projects that can reach mass audiences  – things that will appeal to people that are not necessarily interested in science.  They want entertainment that may have some embedded science, but not didactic educational material.  Consider the marketability of projects, don’t just rely line on the uploading of on-line material as a guarantee of mass appeal.
  7. The Wellcome trust offers three different grants: Development Awards of up £10k, People Awards of up to £30k (to support science content in existing projects) and Co-Production Awards of £200 – £300k.  Application forms may look daunting and the devil is in the detail – contact their grants advisory team first.
  8. Wonderreel is developing a completely on-line global children’s tv network.  They are looking for stuff that is already made that isn’t currently available to kids – perhaps because a pilot did not get picked up, it may be foreign language or has too niche an audience.
  9. Wonderreel negotiate revenue share deals with partners. They do not pay traditional licence fees, but may renegotiate revenue shares further down the line for successful formats.
  10.  Don’t leave voice mail messages – email or arrange to meet in person!

The session opened with 90 second introductions from each of the panellist on their companies and their remits.

Sharna represented Tate Kids who have been involved in the Tate Movie Project with the BBC, with the Wondermind Project and commissioned ArtSparks from people she met in previous years at CMC.

Verity from Watershed in Bristol explained that they support work that cuts across disciplines and are very involved in research and development.  Their Pervasive Media is a space for academics, writers, producers and people doing forward looking things – currently looking at the future of documentary film and how you can tell factual stories in non-traditional ways.

Iain from the Wellcome Trust explained that they are major funders of projects that embed biomedical research and science, but that they are looking for non-didactic projects with mass appeal – he quoted the film Mememto as an example of something that was entertainment but embedded education on memory loss.  He also likes distinctive projects.  The Trust supported Okido, which is now becoming a TV series.

Russell describes his on-line Wonderreel Channel as TV for Digital Natives.  He wants children to have better interfaces to enable them to mess around with TV, for it to become a truly social network channel.  All programming is dubbed into English and Spanish for international accessibility.  They can micro programme, precision deliver marketing message to kids, build audiences for and share revenue with rights holders.  His main criterion for content is that is has been made for itself and not to sell something else, targeting 6 – 12 year olds. Bugs Bunny not Barbie!

Although each panellist had different priorities, they all came from the same viewpoint that anything is possible.   As long as projects fit within their brand identities they are not looking for anything specific, they are looking at everything.  They are indeed generalists, not specialists!

If you want to talk about your ideas further they would be delighted to hear from you!  Now how often do you hear that…

Iain Dodgeon, Wellcome Trust
Sharna Jackson, Tate Kids
Verity McIntosh, Watershed/Pervasive Media
Russell Miller, Wonderreel, The Centre for Intentional Media

John Lomas-Bullivant, Kickback Media Ltd.

Executive Producer:
Debbie MacDonald

Event Reports

Jan Leventhall

About the author

Jan Leventhall

Formerly Development Executive for Children’s and Young People’s Programmes at Central/Carlton Television, Jan was involved in the development of a range of children’s programmes including ‘Press Gang’ and ‘Harry’s Mad’.  She was the originator and associate producer of seven series of the multi-award winning C4 series ‘Wise Up.’  More recently… Read more