Manimation Reports: Opening the Manimation “Season”

Posted on: Thursday 07 November 2013 9:12am

Joe Godwin – Director of BBC’s Children’s – is responsible for all of the BBC’s services for kids, CBBC and CBeebies, on TV and Online. He opened the Manimation Fesstival and this first event on developing the business of animation in Manchester with some thoughts on the BBC, the kids’ audience, animation and working in Manchester.

Joe began with the question: ‘Why does animation matter?’ Animation is hugely important to childhood and childhood memories – Joe’s own animation memories include The Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Magic Roundabout.   Animation fuels children’s imagination, and Joe felt it provides a “cultural glue”, with each generation collectively remembering some key titles and animated experiences.   Animation often explores the wilder reaches of imagination – again important to kids.  Things happen to characters that can’t for real people.  In that sense the animation world is easier to navigate than the real world.  It’s easier to understand than real life, which is much harder to interpret. It helps kids get to grips with real life, but less obviously.  And of course the power of animation to generate physical and verbal comedy is a hugely valuable tool for broadcasters.

Joe explored the commercial and business aspects of developing great animated series – the basic purpose of the Manimation daytime workshops.  On the whole he felt that what’s good for the audience is also good for business.  Play characters and personality toys from animations are not new and the demand for quality merchandise for toys is a reflection of the audience’s love for the programmes.  And ancillary revenues are now very important to ensure funding for animation series.   The growth of digital consumption leads to interesting new scenarios for animators and animation producers.  But broadcast remains important.  The new tax credits are advantageous – with out a doubt.  And Joe prefaced later events in the Manimation calendar where this will be explored in detail. (21st Nov). He felt that the UK, and in particular the Northwest, now has the opportunity to be world class in animation, and a programme like Strange Hill High from Factory Transmedia is a prime example of that.

Joe ended by stating that although the BBC will always support the animation community, spending more money won’t necessarily be the answer.  He felt that in future, there was a need to use the money cleverly and build deals in innovative ways, in the hope of developing more original UK animation for the BBC Channels.

Manimation is a new animation festival, created by the CMC for MIDAS, the Manchester Investment Development Agency.  It combines business development events with creative and social evenings aimed at the Manchester animation community.

Blogged by Sarwat Jaleel

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