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Report – Animation UK Meeting

Posted on: Saturday 09 July 2016 2:27am by Kath Shackleton

A buzz and much excitement in the air as UK animation is forming a new trade organisation.

Oli Hyatt explained to this special meeting that Animation UK, the organisation that campaigned for the animation tax incentive, now needed to mature into a longer term and broader-based industry body – representing the interests of animation professionals across the country.

There is much work to be done to build more understanding of the animation sector amongst decision makers in government and to profile the achievements of our sector and the value it brings to culture and the economy.

Animation studios have pledged to financially support a new industry body to represent the sector, and there are offers of support in kind with office space and linked work from other organisations.

Animation UK will be formally launched in October 2016.

Broad aims are

  1. Business To provide representation on UK policy and fiscal developments and promote the sector globally
  2. Culture Promote the cultural value and heritage of animation both in the UK and internationally
  3. Skills Support the continued development of a pipeline of talent and skills into the sector.

Oli Hyatt is gradually stepping back from the organisation, as he is aware that a different kind of person is needed to take the work forward, who can meet the challenges of parliamentary lobbying and developing a professional organisation.

Oli Made the point that, we need to be able to prove our value as an industry and quantify how much money we bring into the UK, to be able to ask for more from government, The only measure of our industry currently is what is put through in terms of tax credits, we know it is so much more than that. We need to be shouting loudly as a sector about what we need going forward.

Brexit has left our sector with lots of questions. Other sectors are moving rapidly to make sure that politicians understand what they need. We mustn’t stand back and wait, or we will be at the back of the queue when resources are re-allocated from the EU over the coming years. Which body will hold the money? How can we ensure that we get our fair share? Who will administer it? How can we work effectively with PACT, the BFI and the Creative Industries Federation to get what we need? How can we hold on to our staff who come from other EU countries? Oli stated we have a seat at the table, but currently only as a small part of a wider agenda, we need to gather together to forge our own bigger organisation.

Independent Consultant Kate O’Connor and Animation Producer Helen Brunsdon are working together to lay the foundations for the new organisation. Kate has worked widely in government and in Creative Skillset, mostly working across skills and education, but has a great respect for animation. Helen Brunsdon has the connections and track record across the sector.

The response to consultation to date has been positive and Kate and Helen are working to look at how a business plan might map out.

Some key studios have pledged money, and other organisations such as Directors UK and UK Screen have resources which may be helpful. VFX houses may also want to join with us.

We need to appoint someone to lead our new organisation, set up a board, work in synergy with other relevant organisations and fund research.

There is an offer to use UK Screen offices and admin resources, which there seemed to be a consensus was a good idea, to keep admin costs to a minimum.

There were enthusiastic messages of support from Cake Entertainment, Finger Industries, Collingwood & Co, Aardman Animation, Tiger Aspect Productions, Spider Eye Animation, Fettle Animation, A Productions and Toon Boom Animation.

Others involved in animation, but not in the children’s sector such as those in the Animation Alliance are also keen to get involved.

Rachel Murrell, writer, also requested that the barriers to being involved are kept low financially, so that freelancers and smaller companies are able to be involved. There are some important ambassadors for our sector who need to be part of the conversation.

The parameters of the organisation need to be made clear – there is a lot of work to do, and not everything can be achieved at once.

There was also a plea to include the regions around the country – connecting with hubs in Manchester, Bristol and Scotland so that it isn’t just the same set of people in Soho represented.

So between now and October the following is needed

  • A constitution
  • A board
  • A chair
  • A job description for a member of staff
  • A finalised fee structure for studios and individuals to contribute to the organisation
  • Working towards a three year plan with specific clear goals

Expect further consultation as plans take shape.

Onwards and upwards!

Kath Shackleton

About the author

Kath Shackleton

Fettle Animation, Producer

Kath is producer at Fettle Animation, a multi-award winning 2D production company. Fettle makes animation for broadcast, online and all things digital.  Kath started her career making arts with local communities, as a workshop leader, performer and latterly as a local government arts officer.  She went on to set up her… Read more

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