Blogs

November 2017

Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 3, Working With China

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:32pm

As the market in China begins to open up for UK writers, animation producers and distributors, the panel considered what the challenges are of working with this complex territory Takeaway: Meet in person and talk with companies to build strong relationships. Keep the relationship at the front of everything you do. Use an agent or advocate in China to aid discussions and negotiations. China has a genuine will to create high quality content, to spread their culture and have a fascination with Western culture. Commerce and government are completely intertwined. Enormous numbers of potential partners within a sophisticated market. Detail: The panel Tony Humphreys, DIT (Chair) – moderator Oli Hyatt, Blue Zoo Animation Jon Rennie, Cloth Cat Animation Helen Howells,…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Case Study 1: Print to Screen, Periodical to Platform: the Beano Story

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:13pm

Chris Rose describes the Beano journey from everybody's favourite comic to a modern media brand and a platform for entertainment content. Takeaway: The UK's longest running comic has harnessed its digital platform to increase print sales. How updating the characters of Dennis and Gnasher have aligned them with today's world. Unity between the comic team, digital team and trend-spotters create strength and success. Detail: Moderator and writer Alex Collier introduced the session by describing the huge impact the Beano has had on him. "I absolutely loved the Beano and all I ever wanted to do was work for the Beano," he said. "I worked for Viz which owes a huge debt to the Beano." He said that he recently wrote…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 2, State of Play: Games Up North!

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 4:49pm

This session discussed how programmers, animators, artists and musicians are coming together to once again create world class games in the North Takeaway: 2016: Global spend was £100bn on games industry in UK. Manchester is the biggest city outside of London for game developers. The North has a strong heritage in making games and is a hub of world class creative talent. UK universities need to offer specific courses – there are very specific skill-set shortages. Marketing skills should be built into courses so graduates know how to make money. Analytics systems are vital in order to make money from game developing. Visibility and exposure of games as well as putting the right tools in the right hands will see…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Cosgrove Hall Archives

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 2:41pm by Helen Dugdale

The Cosgrove Hall archives are now on display, thanks to curator Westley Wood – and he's looking for support to continue the project. Takeaway: The Cosgrove Hall Archive is made up of 200 complete production pieces, figures and sketches from forgotten shows, and is currently on display at Sale Waterside Centre. In 2018, Cosgrove Hall Archive is set to become a charitable trust and is looking for deep-pocketed donors! Westley is now looking for designers, filmmakers and app developers to get involved. It’s part of our collective culture – so, support it! Detail: The Cosgrove Hall Films archive is one of the most significant contributions to the development of British animation and children’s television, and is currently housed at Sale…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 1, Europe: Potential & Pitfalls 10.05-10.45am

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 1:21pm by Helen Dugdale

A discussion about Brexit, what’s known, what’s suspected, what’s feared and where the opportunities lie. Takeaway It’s about early planning and scenario planning to try and predict the negotiations in Europe. Animation UK is leading the case to increase our tax breaks with key competitors. Creative industries in the UK is worth £87 billion. European culture is much better at putting emphasis on art, culture, and creativity. We have to do a lot of work with schools and getting kids into companies to raise the standard of the talent pool. Detail Moderator: Kate O’Connor (Animation UK) Speakers: Phil Chalk (Factory) Louise Cornally (Brown Bag) Phil Dorbee (Jellyfish Pictures) Tom Van Waveren (Cake/Animation in Europe) The panel gave their insight and opinions…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Keynote Opening Address: A Plan For European Animation

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 12:39pm by Catherine Trewavas

Tom Van Waveren shared the vision for European animation, with emphasis on the impact of Brexit and the importance of continued collaboration. Takeaway: Continued collaboration is key Communication is extremely important We need to retain and train talent more successfully Finance remains crucial and creative financial solutions can benefit everyone Detail: Tom Van Waveren has been working in animation for over 20 years, and said he “has loved every day”. He is currently CEO and Creative Director of CAKE Entertainment, based in London, and the company distributes, develops and produces series, with the aim of optimising commercial success with partners. CAKE Entertainment works with studios and companies all around the world. He has also been instrumental in the founding of…

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July 2017

CMC 2017: Can’t Wait for Next Year…

Posted on: Monday 31 July 2017 1:50pm

Dave Collins, Co-Founder, PowerStation Studios was a "first timer" at CMC 2017. He liked it... It was my first time attending the CMC and after attending for an invaluable 3 days. It certainly won't be my last. CMC is a very different event from any other industry event I have attended. It feels much more creative and collaborative then it does a commercial sales frenzy. The speakers and panels were informative, open, and provided genuine insights rather than manufactured sound bites. There is a real sense of an industry community and, yes, of course people are pitching, networking and doing business, but in a much more relaxed and open forum. I found myself engaged in varied and engaging conversations with a variety…

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CMC 2017: Report – Engineering Change

Posted on: Tuesday 11 July 2017 11:00am

With a number of new shows and initiatives encouraging girls to become interested in engineering and STEM-based careers, a panel of producers discussed the main issues and talked about their future plans Takeaway: The UK is the worst country in the EU for channeling girls into STEM careers. There is likely to be a huge shortage of engineers in the UK and over 1m more are needed by 2024 Gender stereotypes are formed young so we need to get to the audience from pre-school up Whilst there is great work already being done, there needs to be greater collaboration across industry and broadcasting to make a visible difference Detail: As a schoolgirl who glazed over every time someone mentioned kinetic…

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CMC 2017: Report – Play to Learn or Learn to Play?

Posted on: Monday 10 July 2017 11:52am by Tyler McRae

The full session is available here as a podcast: Emma Cooper led the open talk on the educational side of gaming and what this can do for the future of education. Takeaway: There is a demand for quality educational games Government needs to invest more in other creative ways of learning Newer technologies can lead to greater exposure for educational gaming Detail: Ever since the closing of BBC Jam, the independent side of the e-learning industry had lost money and confidence in gaming with educational purposes. With new developments being made to help bridge the gap, is this helping to rekindle a student’s love of learning with a love of gaming. It is now a crowded market for casual games,…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet The Commissioners: BBC

Posted on: Saturday 08 July 2017 10:48am by Christina Evans

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: A panel of BBC commissioners from across the departments told a keen audience everything they need to know in order to confidently pitch, from they types of shows they're looking for to details of development deals and IP rights Takeaway: Wanted: Content for gaps in programming. Wanted: Inventive brand extensions that take popular shows to another level. Wanted: Comedy, diversity and and passionate hosts who can really inspire young minds. Detail: Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC Kay Benbow,  Controller, CBeebies, Lucie McLean, Head of Product, Children's, BBC Design and Engineering, Jakie Myburgh, Business Controller, BBC Children's Variety’s Stewart Clarke introduced the panel, before reminding us of the recent big news for BBC…

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CMC 2017: Report – Beyond Survival: Growing your Business and Making Money

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 6:23pm by Amy King

This session explored some of the industry’s success stories, as business leaders and investors discuss how they have taken their companies through the tricky growth stage to develop the strategies and raise the investment in today’s difficult marketplace Takeaway: It pays to plan for the future Look for the best compromise between financing and retaining rights Listen to professionals and be open minded Detail: Co-founder and CEO of Gigglebug Entertainment Anttu Harlin, who is based in Helsinki, produces games and animation that is focused on creating positive content for kids. However, Anttu also wants to capture the idea of asking some of the more difficult questions about money: money enables better content, something that both company and entrepreneur requires equally. Some…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet the Commissioners: Video On Demand

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 2:03pm by Christina Evans

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Steven Kavuma: The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Jesse Whittock, editor of TBI, introduced a panel of commissioners for VOD content, who explained to delegates exactly what kind of pitches are interesting to them at the moment Takeaway: Sky Kids balances its channel partner's US content with British commissions and acquisitions Learning shows including 'Ben and Holly' are popular with the Hopster audience Azoomee look for entertainment lead content, with learning incorporated. Detail: Changemaker Steven Kavuma, founder of the Diversity School Initiative, started the session by giving an inspirational speech about diversity and challenges in education. The first of the VOD commissioners to speak was Lucy Murphy, Head…

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CMC 2017: Report – Best Friends Forever?

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 12:25pm by Lyndsey Smith

This session addressed the issue of the lack of feature length children’s films being produced in the UK. Would the ideal situation be to follow the German and Dutch model and bring together broadcasters and funders to collaborate on projects? Takeaway: Collaboration between broadcasters and funders is a way to gain high quality content Funding schemes are a way of encouraging new content Longevity of a project is key in children’s film Detail: Head of Business for NTR Hedda Bruessing explained how their mission was to “bring special programmes to everyone”. The children’s department is the biggest section of the broadcaster, and with 25 per cent of programming aimed at children she believes that kids deserve content linked to their…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet The Commissioners: PSBs

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 10:27am by Christina Evans

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Yasmin Lodhi: The full session is available here as videos and as podcasts: This session aimed to demystify the Public Service Broadcaster commissioning process – walking the audience through the stages of pitching, development and production for PSB TV shows Takeaway: Each PSB has a different approach to children's coverage, depending on their remit Consider language when pitching to S4C Talk to people and do your research! Detail: Channel 4 First to the floor, Dom Bird, Head of Formats, Music & Education, Channel 4, discussed the fact that C4 do not have any kids' channels currently, raising the question of what the channel is mandated to do. Children’s policy is of course informed…

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Report – Games Masterclass – Max Scott-Slade

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 10:03am

The Games Industry is booming. It’s bigger than film and TV combined, but it’s saturated and tough. Max Scott-Slade of the developer Glitchers led this session, and led with the question ‘what is your game for, what purpose does it serve?' Takeaway: You need to be clear about what makes your game different Slapping on ‘game elements’ to your product or project is not enough – the product has to be designed from the ground up around the concept, story, mission or IP Games are a great way to collect masses of data Collaboration, Clarity, Empowerment, Storytelling and Security are paramount Details: Using the example of Sea Hero Quest, Max explained how games can be used to explore and perhaps help…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Route to China

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 8:29am

From brand IP owners through to a production facilities, if you have ambitions to work with media in China then the China International Cartoon Animation Festival (CICAF) is the place to be. How do you maximise your chances of success? Are you sure you are ready? If you are going to have a once in a lifetime chance to showcase your brand, your creation, who you are and what you do, then be prepared and make it count. If you are not ready, don’t go until you are… Takeaways The Chinese market is on a scale you will not have imagined China is hungry both for new content AND to find worldwide partners for Chinese IPs The UK has a reputation…

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CMC 2017: Report – Character Building

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:10pm by Tom Jordan

What do you get when you cross a writer, an illustrator, an animator, a creative director, an art director, two voice actors and an art director? Answer: The perfect panel to deconstruct what goes into making a successful character. Takeaway: Don’t fall into the trap of creating your main character in isolation for your pitch bible, develop them through dialogues and interaction with the other characters in your world. A character’s voice should be acted, not just mimicked Visuals can be stronger when the designer absorbs the back story of the character Children are a great source of inspiration for character creation All of the above need to work together to develop a character Detail: Voice Director Dave Peacock introduced…

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CMC 2017: Report – Fake News and False Friendships

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:58pm by Bethan Cook

“Fake news is a symptom, rather than the cause, of a deeper social problem”. We live in a world where false news is constantly at the forefront of the media. Fake news stories are being shared around the world and are becoming increasingly plausible. How can children learn to understand what’s real and reliable? Are these sources purposely misleading children, or just carrying out sloppy journalistic practices? Takeaway: Fake news has always been a problem Children need to be educated about the dangers of fake news Children predominantly get their news from social media outlets, which is worrying considering there is a rise of fake news on such platforms Teaching digital citizenship and critical media literacy is of utmost importance…

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CMC 2017: Report – VR: The Creative Challenge

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:54pm by Lyndsey Smith

The session discussed the opportunities Virtual Reality brings to the industry and the potential it has for engaging the audience emotionally through its experiences. There are however still unknowns about the technology especially in regards to children with an age limit in place on certain VR headsets. Takeaway: VR has the potential to engage with the audience emotionally through the user experiences There are a number of possibilities with this technology for home use and commercial promotion There are still unknowns with the technology and its effect on children. Detail: Phil Stuart, the Creative Director of Preloaded, has been making children’s content for 17 years and shared his son’s experience of using VR for the first time. At four years…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:49pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: As the world seems to close its eyes to the people on the edges, life for children and young people in the care system is often steeped in a lack of expectation and frustration. This panel invited three changemakers to share how these perceived limitations can be replaced with satisfaction and aspiration. Takeaway: Projects and campaigns driven by real stories, real people and real experiences How can we do more to represent and advocate for children in care and looked-after children? Use your voice and platforms to shape, change and raise aspirations Detail: The final panel and the last word for this year’s CMC invited three impressive…

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CMC 2017: Report – Learning Through Animation

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:48pm by Tyler McRae

Kath Shackleton, Producer at Fettle Animation, headed this broad talk on the process of producing educational animation for children of all ages.  Takeaways: Constant testing is needed for content to succeed. Make animation for kids, not their parents. Animation can greatly assist in further learning.  Details: Zane Wittingham, Creative Director at Fettle animation, began with an explanation of what animation is and how it can inform, entertain and educate. Animation can take you out of your comfort zone and make the viewer challenge their preconceived ideas about a topic. It can be perceived as a condensed form of communication that can easily change from one thing into another with differing stylistic approaches. It has the ability to break boundaries, using…

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CMC 2017: Report – Opening the Vault

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:35pm by Catherine Trewavas

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: A panel of children's media financing experts explored possibilities for raising and sourcing money for projects Takeaway: Be confident and prepared when approaching commissioners Have a simple, succinct business plan that can spark further conversations and opportunities Look at all funding routes and research the possibility of unlocking extra money through secondary television royalties Details: Abhi Arya is the Co-Founder and Partner of Sandbox & Co. He discussed their emphasis on investment in gaming and educational content, focusing upon learning through entertainment. He cited some investment must-haves: unique IP, differentiated engagement, validated ideas that are child safe, and distribution opportunities that extend beyond a primary channel. Tim…

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CMC 2017: Report – Development Masterclass: Terry Kalagian

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:34pm by Tom Jordan

The full session is available here as a podcast: The key to getting your idea developed successfully is the C word – Compromise. That's the advice from Gaumont Animation’s Terry Kalagian Takeaway: Compromise and collaboration is something to be embraced, rather than resisted, when developing your project. You just need to know how much you’re prepared to compromise Your producer is on your side, so work together rther than against each other Own your product, then you’ll have an instinct on what you are happy to compromise on, and what you can’t It’s better to have been open to compromise and have your creation realised, than to resist and for it never to see the light of day Detail: Steve…

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CMC 2017: Report – I Don’t Need a Role Model – I Just Want to See Me

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:17pm by Catherine Trewavas

How are children’s aspirations being influenced by characters they see on screen and in toy shops? Nicki Karet, Managing Director at Sherbert Research, hosted a panel and the topic was hotly debated Takeaway: Brand creators should consider whether they are doing enough to make sure content is diverse, inclusive and open for a young audience Licensing and marketing can have a major impact in terms of profitability, but also can bring limitations when it is too tailored There is an ongoing struggle between commercial return and social impact              Detail: Cato Hunt, Director of Innovation at brand consultancy Space Doctors, stated: “We need to ask what a modern brand should be. The values of younger parents are…

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CMC 2017: Report – Focus on France

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 3:08pm

France has important resources in terms of animation talents and also offers a large market for kids broadcast, but it is also an underused country for animation coproduction. Major French broadcasters and producers talked about the industry, their own perspectives and possibilities for the future Takeaway: France has a highly competitive TV market with branded blocks and kids' dedicated domestic free TV channels and pay TV split 45/55% between domestic and American networks Only 7% of French household have access to an SVOD service French quotas make the co-production route financially attractive for producers Detail: Julien Borde from France Télévisions (public service) started by giving an overview of the French kids' TV market, the players and their yearly budget. At…

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CMC 2017: Report – Serving Up a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 2:51pm by Sid Sloane

With the UK spending £47 billion on obesity and overweight related issues, not since Popeye opened his first tin of spinach has there been a greater need for a ‘Peppa Pig’ hit show that moves the dial for healthy eating Takeaway: Obesity is the biggest health problem of the 21st century There are links between obesity in children and adult illnesses A sandwich of hard facts either side of two fillings of tasty ideas Details: The Speakers Ricky Boleto, Presenter/Reporter at BBC – In the last eight years Ricky has travelled the world covering a wide range of stories. Recent assignments include visiting the US to cover the elections, reporting from Brazil for the Rio Olympics and presenting ‘America Vs Food,’ a documentary looking at…

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CMC 2017: Report – Kindfulness

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:57pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a podcast: A huge topic on the minds for kids’ media professionals today – how can we get kindness on the cards? Producers and media industry experts discuss the ways kindness, empathy and respect can make their mark on children’s media content Takeaway: Teaching children to be resilient, respectful and kind to each other is more important than ever – TV and pro-social gaming is a way to do this Imbuing content for kids with messages to bolster core emotional and life skills, at home and at school, is important It's crucial to not only raise tolerance and diversity issues to engage children, but the same also needs to happen with their parents/guardians.…

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CMC 2017: Report – Is your IP Ready for Licensing?

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:22pm

A successful licensing programme can deliver significant revenues and marketing eyeballs for your brand. This session shared valuable insights into what licensing partners are looking for before they will commit to supporting your IP in the consumer goods business Takeaway: Licensed product represents a great opportunity to extend marketing, brand and revenues Children and parents will pay a premium for branded product, and retailers see value in this Great characters and story lines are the foundations for licensed product success Detail: Ryan Beaird is Marketing and Operations Manager LIMA, representing the trade association for companies actively engaged in kids’ TV brand licensing. He started the session by introducing LIMA – the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association – and how licensing works. He explained the value…

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CMC 2017: Report – Focus on Canada

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:18pm by Amy King

Host Jeff Norton from Awesome Media & Entertainment led this morning’s session deliberating the pitfalls and challenges of co-production, joined by a panel of Canadian producers, distributors, and broadcasters Takeaway: Co-production is potentially a complex system, but if the right partnership is formed the outcome is worth it It’s crucial to develop a good relationship with a potential co-pro before signing off on a project Detail:  The interactive session promised to demystify the world of co-production and simply help delegates learn how to do business with Canada. Despite the early time slot, the panel were primed and ready to answer questions from the delegates, and to discuss their own experiences working on co-produced content. Suzanne Wilson from Breakthrough Entertainment joined…

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CMC 2017: Report – Who’s Running This Show Anyway

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:18pm by Lyndsey Smith

This session focussed on the role of 'showrunner' – what a showrunner actually is, how crucial a role they play, and how the position differs in the UK and the US Takeaway: There is no one size fits all for the term Showrunner There is a difference of meaning in the UK and the US In general, a showrunner is responsible for the overall creative vision of the show Detail: Each panellist came to the session with their own opinion on what a showrunner was responsible for. For Foz Allan, Executive Producer for Bryncoed Productions, the showrunner is usually the head creative in a group of talented people working together to deliver content. Adastra Development’s Mellie Buse shared her experiences with the…

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