Pre-conference previews and post-session reports from CMC 2016.


Report – Animation Online

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 5:28pm

In this session we talked to animators who have chosen the internet rather than a traditional broadcaster to bring their work to an audience Takeaways Big production money does not guarantee online success.  Talent and the skill to execute a production well are far more important Try to understand how the YouTube algorithm works, and then decide what is best for your content Paid adverts are a great way to increase online audiences Above all, human interaction (like sharing) is the best way to build and sustain a fan base Detail Questions were posed to the panel and a collective 'yes'…

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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…

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Report – Apps: Standing Out from the Crowd

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 9:48am by Gabrielle Smith

  Playfulness, design, UX and marketing are the foundations upon which kids apps are built.  Why are some standout successes whilst others fail? Takeaways Understand your target age range by testing early.  Ask yourself 'What do kids want from apps?' Consider that between 80 to 90% of all downloaded apps are used once and then deleted. Keep it simple.  Keep and eye on what others are doing BAFTA award winning Creative Director and Designer Darren Garrett warned that whilst many apps end up in ‘the digital dustbin’, there is the ‘elusive magical 20 per cent’ that do not, and go…

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Brief Encounters...

Posted on: Tuesday 21 June 2016 11:22am by Anne Brogan

Anne Brogan is the co-Director of multi-award winning independent production company Kindle Entertainment, successful producers of 'Dixi', 'Leonardo' 'Kiss me First', 'Treasure Island' and many more.  Anne was suitably brief about the encounters at CMC which are her response to "What has the CMC Ever Done for Me?" CMC has introduced me to a number of people over the years whom I have worked with subsequently. It's often people with experience in areas a bit outside of our immediate territory (scripted content) whom I might not have come across in the day to day; publishers, interactive producers, writers, financiers, designers. Our enjoyable and successful collaborations…

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Report – Bible Class 2

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 7:04pm by Jessica Thornsby

Following the huge success of last year’s ‘Bible Class’ workshop, this popular workshop was back for 2016 - this time with character firmly at its core. Takeaway: Character and characterisation are a crucial part of any pitch bible You should know your characters inside out - from their backstory, to their flaws, and how they speak As much as possible, characters should be pro-active rather than reactive - their 'wants' should drive the story Detail: In ‘Bible Class 2: The New Testament’ a panel of industry experts shared their first-hand experiences and unique insights into how to produce and present…

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Creating a Buzz

Posted on: Thursday 26 May 2016 11:46am

“What has the CMC ever done for… King Bee Animation?” Martyn Niman from King Bee describes how pitching into CMC’s dragons’ den made all the difference for one of his projects. Last year’s 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' session was scary, but exciting.  The cinema was packed, as it’s the most popular session at CMC. Four “dragons” on stage have real money to invest, to take short options in the projects being pitched. There are only a few minutes to pitch and, in a new twist to the format, the dragons were cast in the role of ‘The Voice’ judges…

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Report – CMNS presents: the Katie Morag story

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 5:39pm by Kate Hilton

Howard Litton talked to Lindy Cameron about the rewards and challenges Move On Up faced in bringing Mairi Hedderwick’s books to the small screen Takeaways The journey from option to screen can take a long time but perseverance and belief in the project is key Including an author in the process can be invaluable to the representation of the work on screen Lindy Cameron began by explaining her love for the Katie Morag books – the humour and life she saw in the stories and the detailed drawings. This led her to seek the option for the books from Random…

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Report – Co-Development: When Two Become One

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 3:54pm by Heather McDaid

In their so-true-to-life simulation, a newbie creator, backed by a panel of experts, negotiated the co-development of his brilliant concept with a rights hungry studio. Takeaways Get everything on rights, partnerships and costs set on paper Keep your idea simple and easy to upsell Be ready for change – pick your fights carefully Detail A mix of roleplay and explanation, the session took you through the whole process of development. Rosemary Klein, Director of TVA, and Andrew Baker, CEO of Kidscave Entertainment, began the journey - in character. Andrew was "an art school grad who self-published a comic book and is…

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Report – Commissioner Conversations: BBC

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 1:51pm by Simon Bor

Commissioners from CBBC, CBeebies and Interactive reveal their plans Takeaways You are who you are and you should be proud (Changemaker) BBC look for Voice, Choice and Rolls Royce The ‘Play Time’ app has been downloaded 6 million times Detail The session was opened with a presentation by Changemaker Leo Waddell. A 15-year-old transgender boy, Leo was featured on ‘I am Leo’, part of CBBC’s ‘My Life’ documentary series. Born female, he always knew he was boy. He resented this mother using female pronouns and calling him Lilly. Transgender people’s brains don’t match their bodies. His doctor told him not to…

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Report – Commissioner Conversations: Commercial Networks

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 4:12pm

The three big commercial kids' broadcasters, Disney, Turner and Nickelodeon, talked to Stewart Clarke, Editorial Director at TBI Takeaways: Tax breaks have had a huge impact on UK production Disney, Turner and Nickelodeon are open to submissions from UK producers at any time Details: David Levine, VP Programming, Productions & Strategic Development, Disney Channels EMEA & GM Disney Channels UK & Ireland, and Louise Benham, Director of Programming, Disney Channels UK & Ireland introduced an exclusive concept music video titled 'Believe That' from a new locally produced Disney Channel series. ‘The Lodge’, which recently finished filming in Northern Ireland, was inspired by Disney’s original Israeli programming ‘North…

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Report – Commissioner Conversations: International

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2016 12:00am by Simon Bor

Jo Daris, Head of Operations, m4e, introduced the international commissioners panel and asked what content they were looking for. Video: [vimeo video_id="174885371" width="700" height="394" title="Yes" byline="Yes" portrait="Yes" autoplay="No" loop="No" color="00adef"]   Podcast:   Takeaways French preschool is getting bigger as older children migrate to online platforms. 70-80% of all Welsh views on iPlayer are for S4C’s children’s output. Most PBS programming is US originated, because it includes the curriculum. Detail Julien Borde, Head of SVOD France Télévisions, said their content was exclusively animation, thanks to the government initiatives to support the animation industry in France. Preschool was getting bigger and…

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Report – Commissioner Conversations: VoD and OTT

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:52am by Oliver Ellis

This session begins with a presentation by Changemaker Rich Keith, Chief Revenue Officer, The Yogscast.   Children increasingly access content via VOD/OTT. As these services acquire more and make original content, what are they looking for and how can you get involved? Is there 'New hope' in the SVoD sunny uplands? Guest blogger Oliver Ellis feels the Force... Takeaways Different VOD channels have different content needs but all agreed they no longer need standard amount of eps or running length. Everything is possible The VOD services serve two audiences: Children for content but parents for approval of that content and for safety online. Co-viewing…

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Report – Connected Toy Story

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 4:43pm by Gabrielle Smith

This session looked at the current landscape for connected toys, discussing products with their creators and asking questions regarding value, interactivity and digital products of the future Takeaway The connection between toy space and the future of the physical digital product needs exploring We need to understand why toys are so valuable to the child’s own experiences of education and play Detail: Maurice Wheeler from The Big Little Partnership brought a panel of four experienced creators and consultants together to talk about connected toys and their story. In thinking through the current landscape of connected toys and what is going on…

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Report – Creative Curriculum: Lost or Not?

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2016 1:25am by Zarin Virji

The session focused on the indifference of British education policy towards non-core subjects such as art, music and language in the current curriculum Takeaways Global education experts agree that creativity is the most important 21st century skill Knowledge is freely available at the speed of our connection. The curriculum must reflect this reality, ensuring that creativity is injected into all subjects, particularly at the primary level Children need to be asked the right questions and they must feel safe even if they fail in their endeavour Detail Justin Cooke, Chairman, Big Clever Learning, shared his enthusiasm for children’s application of…

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Report – Creative Keynote with Chris Riddell

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:43am

A picture can say a thousand words. Or in Chris Riddell’s case, a whole library, as guest blogger Rick Adams discovered… Takeaways:  “Drawing is a meditation, a catharsis – a way to channel feelings” Use a sketchbook to feel better, you don’t have to be an artist to do it Go out and find stories that only you can tell Detail When the UK’s Children’s Laureate puts pencil to paper something magical always seems to happen. Today’s keynote – or ‘KeySketch’ – at the Crucible Theatre delivered a real-time avalanche of artistic charisma. Chris Riddell’s take on life, with only a…

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Report – Culture for Kids Goes Digital

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 6:03pm by Gabrielle Smith

  This panel session invited speakers from various arts and cultural organisations to discuss how they demonstrate the ways in which they are reaching, engaging and inspiring children digitally, in order to create a more accessible and personal experience. Takeaways Creativity and participation is key, whether this is audience facing or happens on other platforms and social media. Making art relevant to children is important as well as exploring ways to improve visual products and apps Aspects of the interactive can capture, motivate and engage children The structure of the session invited each speaker to share their own story of…

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Daring to be Different at CMC

Posted on: Thursday 12 May 2016 9:53am by Kath Shackleton

What a fantastic year for Fettle Animation.  They won a Japan Prize, the first ever Sandford St Martin’s Children’s Award, two Yorkshire RTS Awards, a BAFTA nomination, a British Animation Award nomination and they have a book coming out!  Continuing our series ‘What has the CMC Ever Done for me?” Fettle Producer, Kath Shackleton describes daring to be different with the help of CMC. Guess where this all began? At the Children’s Media Conference. Well, we didn’t make a show about unicorns, princesses, puppies or talking toys. Our subject was the Holocaust. What? Yes, quite a tricky one! It took a while…

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Finding Our Voice

Posted on: Wednesday 15 June 2016 10:10am by Anna Home

Anna Home, Chair of the CMC Board, and for ten years Chair of the CMC Advisory Committee, considers the question “What has the CMC ever done for me?” In July 2006, in the final session of what was then called the Showcomotion Children's Media Conference, when people were beginning to think about making sure they didn’t miss their trains home from Sheffield, Anne Brogan (the joint founder of Kindle Entertainment) who was then running Children’s ITV, made a dramatic announcement. The production arm of ITV Kids was to close due to declining advertising revenue. This was a huge shock. Alarm bells rang,…

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From Hamburg to Hollywood

Posted on: Monday 09 May 2016 4:34pm

In the third of our series “What has the CMC ever done for me?” author and screenwriter Esther Kaufmann describes her CMC journey – and just how far it has taken her. When I first went to CMC two years ago, I had just graduated from the German masterclass Academy for Children’s Media, encouraged by one of the Heads of Studies to think big and show the world my animation series concept, as well as myself as a writer. The same Head of Studies then told us about a conference he ran in the UK that we could come to.…

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Report – Focus on Canada

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 1:38pm by Helen Dugdale

Find out what Canada wants – and what you can offer in return Takeaway Yes, Canada has lots of money, but it’s not a cash cow – it wants to develop long-term relationships Canada is searching for incredible stories and characters Canada is a dreamy co-production partner for the UK – we speak the same language and have a similar sense of humour and style Make sure your co-production partner has the same vision for the project and be prepared to make compromises Get good advice to ensure you get the most out of the Canadian co-production treaties Speakers: Andrew…

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Report – Focus on China

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 3:47pm by Kate Hilton

How can we work with China to develop successful children’s media? Takeaways China is keen to work with companies from the West to develop quality children’s media Collaboration pairing Chinese and Western talent is key to success Projects should include Chinese elements in story or character Bring early development projects to potential partners Challenges can be overcome to create successful projects Detail Xiaoyuan Yuan from Shenzhen Media Group, Grace Tian from Magic Mall and Yuan Yuan from the Beijing Children's Channel introduced themselves, their channels and media that is popular in China. They are keen to find quality IP that…

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Report – Focus on Europe

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:13pm by Heather McDaid

With the increased demand for content on increasingly smaller budgets, this session took everyone on a tour of Europe to find out where the money is and how to get your hands on it! Takeaways: There can be a difference in how stories are told culturally, so consider this with co-productions Cross-border projects are interesting models that can open you up to more funding Despite political shifts on the horizon, “there is business still to be done”, and so the panel talked about their work, funding and potential changes to come. Eryk Casemiro, Chief Creative Officer of Zodiak Kids Studios…

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Report – Focus On India

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:28am by Zarin Virji

What are the current connections between the UK and India and where are the future co-production opportunities? Takeaways India provides a big market of 115 million children, watching about two hours of TV daily. Sixty million of these children are urban and 55 million rural There is growing demand in India for animation content comprising of fast-paced action with slapstick comedy, without dialogues, aimed at the age group 6-9 years YouTube content is targeted at the preschoolers India is the doorway to the South Asian market, leading to Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Detail Mark Leaver, Independent Consultant and…

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Report – Girl, Interrupted: A Deeper Dive into Gender Depiction

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:00pm by Kate Hilton

How is the industry changing it’s attitude to females in children’s media? Takeaways Female representations in children’s media are beginning to improve Work is being done to break down gender stereotypes in books and TV shows Using humour is the best way to cross gender divides in programming. The industry would benefit from having a greater number of women in writing and technical roles Detail Changemaker Jo Summers, began the session by talking through video games that offer alternatives with female characters and a different type of play. Jo believes that games should be considered a creative medium for artistic expression. A powerful…

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Report – Green Shoots in Children’s and Family Films

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2016 1:33am by Zarin Virji

The session illustrated strategies of making children’s and family films outside the studio system Takeaways A dearth of lower- and mid-budget family fare films in the UK as the film industry is risk-averse The British film industry, including big studios, is supportive of Indie films Indie films can gain funding and audience interest through release at festivals and school screenings, tie-ups with book publishers and the making of shorts Detail Nicole Carmen-Davies, UK Indie Producer, defined ‘family films’ as films which depict a beautiful world that children can relate to. Such films need to be aesthetically layered so that they…

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Report – Innovation in Education

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 9:55am by Jessica Thornsby

Serious gaming, edutainment and stealth learning – new technology is breaking the boundaries of the classroom and revolutionising the way we see education Takeaways Digital skills are crucial for empowering students Technology has huge potential to enrich classroom learning and engage students It’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry! Detail In a world where children spend their days on smartphones, tablets and computers that offer instant entertainment, how can the traditional classroom compare? How do we rebuild education in the 21st century? The answer is to bring technology to the classroom! The session began with a presentation…

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Life Changing

Posted on: Friday 20 May 2016 9:01am

We asked Stuart Pearson, Director, International Content Distribution at Maker Studios to contribute to our series: "What has the CMC ever done for me?" Quite simply, attending the CMC changed my life. It’s almost a year since I attended as a self-funded delegate trying to get my content consultancy off the ground, and my abiding memory of the event is “white heat”. I don’t just mean the sweltering July temperature in the Showroom bar or the un-airconditioned budget hotel room that I had booked myself into. I mean that it reminded me of Harold Wilson’s 1963 speech about “the white heat of the…

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Report – Licensing Masterminds

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:17am by Gabrielle Smith

Four experts on kids brand licensing from take on the challenge of Mastermind ‘style’ questioning in specialist and general rounds of knowledge.  Susan Bolsover from PenguinRandom house along with Rob Goodchild from Aardman, Stephen Gould from CPLG and Helena Mansell-Stopher from Bulldog discussed the opportunities in the market. Takeaways Try to make products that are 'evergreen' so you can recharge them and bring them back brands need a good story to build on children use media in a way that allows them to cut through the noise and find what they want Detail This session took on the unusual format of the ‘Mastermind’ quiz show and…

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Making it Animated

Posted on: Friday 10 June 2016 11:57am

This year's CMC  interstitial animations- those funky little pieces that run just at the start of each session at the Conference to get the audience to pay attention - were made by Beakus - a South London animation company. Steve Smith - founder of Beakus - explains how they did it: We interviewed a range of children about their understanding of and interests in children’s media – what they want to see more of, or less of, and how they make use of devices we don’t even understand. Then director Rory WT set to wrk animating his favourite clips in his…

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Report – Make Something Happen (An Open Space Workshop)

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 7:28pm by Gabrielle Smith

This ‘Open Space’ workshop discussed the prominent issues surrounding inclusivity, and the broader questions of how the potential of creative people is harnessed, included and represented in the wider industry. Takeaway: Delegates used the pioneering 'Open Space' method to create their own diversity agenda Working in ‘Open Space’ allows everyone present to bring their personal and professional passions, interests and concerns to the room, whilst encouraging an open, and honest discourse Topics of inclusivity discussed included how to remove labels, creating more inclusive games for children, and creating a more diverse workforce The workshop was specifically designed to address the issues…

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Report – Making a Difference: Cultural Connections

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:38am by Simon Bor

A changemaker and a panel appealed to the audience of content producers to help make that difference Takeaway: The creative industries are a way to reach that child in the margins Manchester has the 4th highest child poverty figures in England We must accept there are people out there that are not being reached Detail: Jon Spooner, Writer, Director, Founder and Creative Director of Unlimited Theatre, introduced changemaker Clara Jessop, Founding Director of Enabling Play. Clara asked the audience to picture the child that they create for. Is it somebody with learning difficulties? Probably not. She was brought up with…

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Report – Making Access Happen

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:55pm by Heather McDaid

"Media cannot reflect society, if society is not reflected in the media." How can the kids’ media sector open its doors to a wider range of entrants to the workplace? Takeaways: These conversations have been happening for years, and need to go further Change the system and the way you think to find new people to work with Detail: We start with a video, because sometimes comedy can speak absolute volumes. Jackie Myburgh of BBC Children’s is pleased to say they don’t reflect the video; the BBC has done a lot of work to find diverse talent through schemes. They…

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Report – Making it Happen for UK Kids

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 12:36pm by Heather McDaid

A Question Time-style panel on issues facing children’s media, with focus on the B word: Brexit. Takeaways: There are global opportunities, particularly through YouTube The industry is already used to complex deals, we just need to look further afield and go into new markets to keep doing what we do Detail: With Brexit still sinking in, a Question-Time style panel dealt in the uncertainty for children’s media in a post-EU UK. Chaired by Professor Steven Barnett, the panel featured Labour Peer Lord Waheed Alli, Marc Goodchild, Co-Founder of Gingersnap, David Johnson, CEO of Compact Media Group, Cat Lewis, CEO of…

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Report – Making it Happen with YouTube

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 11:56pm by Simon Bor

A workshop all about making it happen online? It's over to YouTube… Takeaways Innovate, do not imitate. Trends online are fleeting, so create content that's authentic to your brand. YouTube has tremendous revenue potential, which requires experimentation by creators to figure out what works for them and resonates with audiences. Detail For this year's Making it Happen with YouTube workshop, the participants gave three minute pitches with advice for existing vloggers, and how they could increase their presence over the year ahead. Before the practical workshop began, the participants were given advice from YouTube and a panel of producers. Cedric Petitpas,…

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Report – Making It Live

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 9:55pm by Gabrielle Smith

What do you need to create content within the live space? This session explored the benefits of brand extension in the live event space and how successful you can be at attracting a children’s audience away from the screen and into the real world Takeaway Live event spaces are an important and exciting sector of the industry for new and original content Power of a strong brand and finding a form of measurable success that excites the intended audience is key Know your level of risk Detail As well as being highly informative, this session was a lively and thoughtful…

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Report – Mapping Data, Building An Audience

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:30am by Heather McDaid

The art of building a content masterpiece through data-driven decisions as well as incorporating real audience engagement patterns Takeaways Help boost the profile of your videos by understanding how to utilise YouTube data A user’s understanding can be vital in shaping design and tells you where and why users are dropping off your product so you can fix it Detail Ten years ago it was said that data was the new oil, but if data’s the new oil then it’s only useful when it’s refined. A panel of 'refinery' experts discussed how data can be used for good across YouTube,…

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Report – Masterclass: Ford Riley, The Call of the Roar

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:26am by Jessica Hoare

Disney’s ‘The Lion Guard’ brings the iconic ‘Lion King’ to a new generation. Executive Producer Ford Riley explained how he took the series to the small screen. Takeaway: ‘The Lion Guard’ was a continuation of ‘The Lion King’ franchise, delivering new characters and concepts, however still staying true to the original film The key themes include friendship, teamwork, fun, family and the importance of accepting everyone’s differences For a series to be successful, there needs to be an element of ‘playability’ The development process of creating a concept and executing the idea takes a lot of time, consideration and planning…

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Report – Masterclass: How to Design Games Children Want

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:47am by Kate Hilton

A delve into the design principles behind Preloaded and their work across brands, education and entertainment. Knowing your audience is just the start Takeaways It is recommended that three design principles are followed to design a game children want to play Low threshold means that a game is easy to learn how to play and draws in the player from the start High ceilings means that a game can be played at different levels Wide Walls encourage different game styles within the same game Detail Phil Stuart is co-founder and Creative Director at Preloaded Games Studio. With more than 100…

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Report – Mind The Gap

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:38pm by Kate Hilton

Is there a place for mindfulness in children’s lives? Takeaways Mental health is one of the biggest concerns of the modern world Mindfulness has been proven to be of benefit for children and adults There is a place for calmness alongside the excitement of life for children  Detail Beth Wood, Artistic Director of Prospero, began the session by encouraging the audience to participate in some mindfulness exercises that she uses with children. She explained that "mindfulness practice is about bringing your attention to the present in order to experience life more clearly and fully". Dr Barbie Clarke, Founder of Family…

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Report – Minecraft University

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 3:46pm by Jessica Thornsby

How is Mindcraft being used in the classroom and at home and what does it offer that traditional education methods may not? Takeaways Minecraft is a world where children are the experts Minecraft is a great opportunity to engage children in a wide range of different subjects - from global warming, right through to the issues impacting their local community Minecraft can give children access to places and things they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, including imaginary worlds inspired by famous paintings Detail Minecraft is nothing short of a phenomenon: it’s gone from indie game to household name in just…

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Report – Money Talks

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:17am by Helen Dugdale

From concept to creation – finding the funding to make it happen. By guest blogger Helen Dugdale Takeaways Think positively, creatively and work tirelessly to get your hands on the funding and financing available. Brexit doesn’t have to mean Armageddon for the industry! So far nothing has changed with the funding within the EU. This will continue for at least two years, until more is known about the UK’s exit from the EU…  So get your applications in! New funding and financing opportunities could grow out of the UK’s departure. Brexit may bring new ways for UK and France to…

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Report – New Platform Masterclass

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 9:39pm by Gabrielle Smith

Brown Bag Films and 9 Story Media Group with the lowdown on pitching to and working with SVODs Video On Demand platforms are commissioning more original content than ever before. In this session, discussions were led by experts in the field who have already delivered high-end, large-scale projects to a global platform and the emerging online world. Takeaways There is a whole world out there of new VOD and AVOD. This masterclass discussed creating, pitching and commissioning with success within new platforms Recommendations and talking points for development and delivery, using models such as Netflix and Amazon Studios ‘Pitching 101’.…

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Report – Oh, That's New: Innovation Showcase

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 2:53pm

New formats, new technologies, new business models – and the creative solutions required to bring them to life. Takeaways Be innovative. Even in small areas, you can pioneer new techniques Cross-platforming is the way forward for children’s content consumption Detail Within this seminar, delegates from different children’s media backgrounds came together to discuss modern practices and inventive functions of children’s apps and media content. Trevor Klein, Digital Strategist and Producer, kicked off by showcasing a short form, the CBBC series 'Secret Life of Boys', an interactive comedy for the touchscreen generation. It enables children to interact with a linear story…

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Report – Opening Keynote with Lemn Sissay MBE

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 10:00pm by Tracy Warren

The keynote kicked off with changemaker Jess Thom, who had the audience in fits of laughter as she talked about the importance of inclusion and the power of media in changing perception. Lemn Sissay followed this with a powerful, challenging and thought-provoking talk that ended with a standing ovation. Takeaways Children’s media is a big part of influencing social change to build a more inclusive world. Think openly about the potential of broader stories and connect creating richer and more dynamic programming. Move your personal and professional goals closer together and see what happens. Take action together and encourage diversity…

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Report – Pizza Express

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:59am

The CMC wouldn’t be complete without the Pizza Express evening in Sheffield’s buzzing Devonshire Quarter, as first-timer and blog team volunteer Caleb Bastock discovered. Takeaways Great pizza Great company These people never stop! Detail It was at Pizza Express, so legend has it, that the idea for the Children's Media Conference was born. Gathering all the industry together began its journey at table on the ground floor. And it continues to be the venue where ideas spread and relationships blossom. Every year a wide cross-section of delegates convenes at the restaurant to continue their own journeys to turn ideas into reality. After a hectic day of sessions and workshops,…

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Report – Playground

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 5:01pm by Kate Hilton

It's fun and games all week in the Playground – the free interactive digital art exhibition for children. This year a truly exciting exhibition called ‘Playground’ is being held in the Site Gallery to run alongside the CMC. Although designed with children aged 5-12 in mind, it really is a chance to play for both children and adults alike, and is filled with games, toys, apps and digital art. One of the main attractions is Dubit’s virtual reality room. Wearing a headset and headphones you can explore a Fairy Garden using wands to interact with the magical landscape. Participants of…

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Report – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 4:58pm by Oliver Ellis

This session begins with a presentation by Changemaker Jordan Casey, Entrepreneur & Coder, Casey Games.   Will the dragons make it happen for three prospective pitchers in the session where real investment is on the table? Guest blogger Oliver Ellis dropped into the den to find out Takeaways Do your homework and find out what the market are looking for You have to be in it to win it so get ready to go into the Den next year Be innovative Learn how to train dragons Format Now in its fifth year, this session based on the Dragon's Den is a…

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Record Breaking Hammer Pants

Posted on: Wednesday 20 July 2016 9:23am by Tim Bain

What has the CMC ever done for me? Writer Tim Bain reveals not one, but his top 5 positive outcomes. I attended my very first CMC in 2012 with only a single kids' TV episode credit to my name. I knew nothing and no one. I felt like a freshman who’d crashed Spring Break. But it changed my career in more ways than I could have imagined... Meeting great mates. Two of my best writer friends were found at the first Wednesday night drinks, Tony Cooke and Andrew Viner. They’ve become great movie dates – I no longer look so…

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Report – Representation

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:43am by Heather McDaid

Does the children’s industry across both TV and toys represent diversity? Should global television and toy brands with cultural sway have any moral duty to do so? The speakers debated on how disability is viewed across the sector, how we can move away from stereotyping and what key brands are doing in this area. Takeaways Disability should be incidental, not the focus of a person It is so important for children to see themselves represented Detail The session and debate began with Alison Rayson explaining her reason for being at this years CMC conference. Eight years ago her son was…

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Report – Safeguarding Stars and Audiences

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:02am by Zarin Virji

As children increasingly turn to social media and the internet to both consume and create content, are the current measures in place to safeguard them? Takeaways The internet was not fundamentally designed for kids Help children to be resilient as they navigate digital platforms more successfully and less fearfully ‘Screen-time’ is an out-dated concept. It is more important to consider the content and context of digital media use Research suggests that parent-child joint media engagement has better outcomes for learning and safety Detail John Kent, consultant and mentor at The Human Digital Company, introduced the topic as a complicated landscape…

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Report – Sound Advice

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:54pm by Jessica Thornsby

The step-by-step guide to finding and using voices in your animation to ensure it stands out from the crowd Takeaways It is crucial that you find the right voice for your characters Dubbing and localising content is a huge and growing part of the animation industry Detail In this session, a panel of seven industry experts offered their unique insights into casting, recording, directing, performing and dubbing your animation. Michelle Jones, Casting Director at Brilliant Casting, debated the tricky question of hiring child actors, versus hiring an adult who can impersonate a child. “My advice is to do what’s right…

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Report – Swipe Forward

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 3:48pm by Tom Jordan

Research and insight company The Pineapple Lounge presented its predictions on future patterns of kids’ media consumption, and asked the panel for their response to five different areas of research. Takeaways Kids content producers need to be aware of how Generation Z (today’s kids) and Generation Alpha (tomorrow’s kids) want to consume their media now and in 10 years’ time Traditional gender categorisation will disappear, and the gender of characters will become secondary, not primary Short attention spans are natural to today’s kids, and need to be catered for Families are now cool, and kids value shared family media experiences…

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Report – The Changing Face of Production

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 4:49pm by Kate Hilton

What different production methods are used to create content on YouTube? Takeaways Different methods of production are being used on YouTube including uploading existing content and creating new personality led channels and new IP Put passion and personality into your productions and they are likely to be a success YouTube is effective because it can be reactive and cost effective Analytics are important in creating revenue from this platform Detail The session began with the introduction of three businesses who use Youtube to present their digital content yet produce it in different ways. Jon Benoy from Wildbrain explained that DHX…

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Report – The Creative Edge?

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 3:16pm by Jessica Thornsby

An inclusive and inspiring range of talent discussed why diversity is the lifeblood of our industry Takeaways Children’s media has a unique opportunity to build a more inclusive society Inclusivity in the workplace shouldn’t be a boring box-ticking exercise Inclusivity is about improving your business and fuelling creativity by bringing fresh perspectives to the table, disrupting traditional thought processes, and challenging assumptions Detail In this session, a diverse and inspiring range of talent came together to discuss and debate some of the big questions surrounding inclusivity, with special attention to what gives them that 'creative edge'. Oli Hyatt, Creative Director at Blue-Zoo…

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Report – The Doc Unboxed

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 4:05pm by Kath Shackleton

What do today's children define as a documentary?  Exploring a variety of ways to economically tell stories that connect children with the world around them Takeaways Children love to see others like themselves represented onscreen YouTube vloggers are using their popularity to help to talk about difficult issues Young people respond well to hearing from other young people who they identify with as peers when looking at issues such as mental health Detail Are children really interested in the world around them? How can we tell stories that help children to make sense of themselves and others in the world?…

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Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:50pm

George the poet has the last word at this year’s CMC, and guest blogger Kerin Kokot was gripped Takeaways Lack of diversity is an issue that clearly needs to be addressed by professionals working across the media sectors Thankfully, lots of really smart people are doing exactly this. This year’s CMC brought many of them together to help the industry become more aware of the importance of being fully inclusive Detail I’m from Cape Town, and attending the CMC for the first time has been an overwhelming delight. The shoulders we rub against here belong to top, global leaders in…

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Report – The Prix Jeunesse Suitcase: Making it Happen All Over the World

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 5:30pm

A digital suitcase and a passionate change-maker unpack their emotional baggage to reveal a brave new world of kids’ media we must all embrace or ignore at our peril, as a spell-bound Rick Adams discovered… Takeaways  Daring content that’s sensitively handled can smash apart taboos and enable our kids at the same time Honesty and truth-telling is the native language of children everywhere Greater bravery is required to push past old boundaries and deliver what today’s kids really need Detail I cried. I was shocked. I laughed uncontrollably. Not something I usually do in a room full of people but…

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Report – Too Cool for School

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 12:01pm by Jessica Thornsby

Does entertainment - film, TV or games - really have a place in the classroom? Takeaways Content originally designed to entertain has great potential to enhance classroom learning, but it needs to be used carefully. The skills children are learning in their own time, through content that’s designed to entertain, has real value. If you want your content to appeal to teachers, then give them the ability to edit and remix your content. Detail In this early morning session on the final day of CMC, a panel of experts discussed how TV shows, games and books that were originally designed…

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Taking the Plunge at CMC

Posted on: Wednesday 27 April 2016 5:20pm

In the first of  our series 'What has the CMC Ever Done for me?" Adam Bailey, Head of Animation Development at Cloth Cat Animation in Cardiff, explains how coming to CMC meant taking the plunge, in more ways than one... What has the CMC ever done for me? Apart from being an ideal platform to kickstart a career in a challenging and ever adapting industry, the CMC is a must attend event for anyone working in animation in the UK. In my opinion. I first attended not knowing very much about the industry, having very few contacts but a passion…

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Two archers, three arrows

Posted on: Wednesday 03 August 2016 10:27am by Jon Hancock

Jon Hancock produced the 'Making it Live' session at CMC 2016.  He also launched Three Arrows Media – a Children’s and Family live-action specialist production house based in Manchester, set up with his partner David Hallam. Here he tells us how Three Arrows first took flight at CMC. Apparently David and I first had a coffee together at BBC Television Centre circa 2007, but I have absolutely no memory of this whatsoever and until such a time as CCTV footage proves otherwise, I shall continue to deny that this meeting ever took place. So when people ask where David (Co-founder – alongside…

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Report – Under the Bonnet of Over the Top

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 1:03pm by Simon Bor

The rise of non-linear TV known as over-the-top content, or OTT Takeaway It is a good time to be a distributor and content producer You can now tell stories in different ways – not held in check by time slots It’s all about branding, channels like CBeebies are big brands in their own right Detail Steve Wynn, CEO of Pretzel TV, asked where we have got with OTT. Edward Galton, CCO & Managing Director of CAKE, said it was a good time to be a distributor and content producer. Jane Rumble, Director of Market Intelligence for Ofcom, added that it’s a…

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Posted on: Friday 24 June 2016 12:39pm

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will be at CMC and the International Exchange UK Trade & Investment, the government organisation that helps companies expand their business globally, are supporting the CMC International Exchange and the 'Focus on….' sessions at CMC covering China,  India, Canada and Europe. UKTI team members are available to International Exchange delegates on the Meeting Mojo bookings system - so why not book a short meeting to assess how we can help your plans and your projects. UKTI staff will also be around during CMC to advise you on how to get your content into key markets and how…

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Report – Volunteers' Career Guidance Session

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 12:17am by Oliver Ridgeon

Over 80 students and young people from the industry make up the CMC volunteer team.  You'll see them everywhere in their yellow tee-shirts. They're from a wide variety of institutions across the county, including Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffield, Hallam, Nottingham, Lincoln, De Montford Leicester, Manchester, Brighton and Sussex. On Monday 4 July they were all briefed, given their CMC business cards, assigned their tasks and went to a career tips session organised by recently graduated Oli Ridgeon. Takeaway There’s no set path or hard and fast rules to get into children’s media, but there are certain attributes that can help you along the way,…

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Report – VR 101: Making Virtual a Reality

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 1:42pm by Jessica Thornsby

Gaming may be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about virtual reality (VR), but it also has the potential to revolutionise many other areas. The panel explored the way VR is currently being used in children’s media, and its massive potential when it comes to enhancing storytelling, learning and play Takeaways Virtual reality has massive potential for enhancing the way children learn. It’s not just about computer games VR and augmented reality (AR) offer a way of bringing subjects to life, to an extent never seen before Children who typically weren’t interested in a subject suddenly…

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Report – What Do We Tell the Children?

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2016 12:43am by Simon Bor

  How did children’s media react to the terrorist attacks in Paris last November? Takeaways Newsround had to react quickly as children were hearing about the scale of the atrocity Le P’tit Libé had to do something to inform the younger audience The problem with the media is that you don’t know who is on the other end of the screen Detail Recent grizzly news stories include: 250 dead in a car bomb in Baghdad; 41 at Istanbul airport; here, a British MP is stabbed and shot on the street. Stewart Purvis CBE, the chair of the RTS Journalism Awards…

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Report – What the Vlog is this?

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 10:10am

What is 'vlogging', and why is it so important in the media industry today? Takeaways: The rise of social media such as YouTube, Snapchat and Vine allow people and businesses to showcase themselves to new markets Vlogging generates huge influence upon the media industry as well as commercial sectors, creating successful and established brands Identifying the demand for interconnectivity between traditional media and vlogs Detail Steve Wynne, host and CEO of Pretzel TV, the company behind CBBC Official Chart Show, began the session by agreeing that he too often asks ‘What the vlog is this’ as he tries to understand…

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Report – Who Wants to be a Kids’ Millionaire?

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 5:48pm

The highest rating TV shows among children today are formats. From ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ to ‘Great British Bake Off’, kids are viewing in droves. The problem? Nearly all the shows they watch are adult ones. So as these formats take off around the world, delivering big bucks for their rights owners, why aren’t children’s TV producers reaping the same rewards? Guest blogger Val Taylor takes us through the discussion. Takeaways You need passion and perseverance to create a format Look at your existing catalogue for ideas that can be repurposed Kids are already watching big adult shiny formats in droves…

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What Happens in Sheffield...

Posted on: Wednesday 08 June 2016 9:30am by Eric Huang

Eric Huang has been a speaker in several past conferences and this year is producing the Session 'Innovation in Education'. This is his response to the frequently asked question "What has the CMC Ever Done for me?" The Children's Media Conference is one of my favourite conferences in the world. Through the years I've met so many people who became business partners, employers, and friends. My first time was in 2009 when I was one of the children's publishers at Penguin. I looked after a licensed publishing list: books behind media brands, generally from big studios like Disney, The BBC,…

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Preview – Commissioner Conversations: VoD & OTT

Posted on: Thursday 30 June 2016 5:42pm by David Heslop

Freelance producer & director, David Heslop (session producer for 'Commissioner Conversations: VoD & OTT' has some observations on 'VoD and Me' I’m of an age where I remember (in the fog-shrouded ancient times of the 1980s) coming home from school to find solid blocks of television just for me; one on BBC 1 and another on ITV. They ran from approximately three o’clock until about 5.25, until Neighbours started. And, aside from the obligatory weekend morning programmes, that was your lot. Regimented and ordered, a curated platter of dedicated children’s television served regularly at the same time, day in, day…

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Preview – Focus on China

Posted on: Friday 24 June 2016 11:55am by Maggie Liang

For the Focus on China Session, CMC Session Producer Maggie Liang asks “Is co-production with China possible?” China is a huge market. It has more than 50 broadcasters and thousands of production companies. Big and scary? Or a bigger pool, with lots of opportunities. It depends on your point of view . This is my third year at CMC, and I’ve encountered lots of UK children’s content talent at the Conference – some of who have the real intention to expand their international reach - especially to China. This year my company The Media Pioneers is bringing a group of Chinese content…

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Preview – Green Shoots for Children's Film

Posted on: Friday 01 July 2016 3:06pm by Phil Parker

Session Producer Phil Parker is taking a positive attitude to an area showing small signs of growth. For the last three years at CMC we have had discussions about different ways to fund and make children’s and family films. Come to this session to see how you can join in the fun and pain of Indie film-making for the world’s largest audience. ‘Bach In Brazil’, an Indie family film, has now been in the cinemas for 16 weeks, defying all expectations in Germany. This first-time feature, by Ansgar Ahlers, was made using a combination of a co-production deal, pre-sale, TV sale…

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Preview – Innovation in Education

Posted on: Thursday 23 June 2016 1:11pm by Eric Huang

We asked CMC Session producer Eric Huang to outline his plans for his session about breaking the boundaries of the classroom. ‘Innovation in Education’ brings together case studies of new projects and a panel of professionals to discuss balancing education, entertainment, play and real-world engagement, and how they plan to turn lesson plans into children’s media brands and platforms of the future. Children’s media organisations, from multinational giants to VC-backed start-ups, have sprung up around the world to tackle the problem of how to engage kids with school subjects and how to make learning interesting in a world in which their…

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Preview – Mind the Gap

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 10:44am by Dr Jacqueline Harding

Dr Jacqueline Harding introduces a session that considers the ‘gap’ between mindful, calm behaviours among children and their rapid-fire media consumption. What’s best for kids – a fast-food media diet, or should a more slow-cooked meal be served up? Our session throws down the gauntlet to the panel and challenges them to offer solutions that will bring a leisurely smile to us all. Can you have your cake and eat it? Come along and find out. Mike Batt brings his wide-ranging industry experience to the table and will get us all humming to a new tune with the reawakening of…

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Preview – Minecraft University

Posted on: Thursday 23 June 2016 12:32pm by James Coleman

James Coleman, producing Minecraft University, asks "How can you teach kids in a world where they are the experts?" In this Minecraft University course, crammed into one hour, and hosted by Educational Technologist, Donna Comerford, we mine Minecraft and its ancillary activities to discover the opportunities they present to children, educators, and the community. Most of us have had some personal experience of the Minecraft phenomenon. It's totally immersive, challenging, creative, social, developmental, eclectic and has 'captured' millions of young users.  On YouTube millions of kids are watching people building and playing in Minecraft as their daily entertainment "fix".  Educators are already engaging, of…

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Preview – Owning the Diversity Agenda

Posted on: Friday 10 June 2016 11:20am

Reem Nouss is the CMC Exec. on the "Make Something Happen" workshop - which will use the Open Space method to allow delegates to bring their own agenda to discussing diversity - and making something happen.  Reem is a former member of the CMC Advisory Committee and now works as an Executive Producer and Consultant both in the UK and the Middle East. Like so many others reading this, I’ve long cared about the diversity of the world we live in being reflected well in the content we consume and create. Despite the genuine and concerted efforts of many, it's still…

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Preview – Research Insights @ CMC

Posted on: Sunday 03 July 2016 1:07pm

The CMC prides itself on making space for 9 distinct research insight sessions, from a variety of research providers - the academic community, commercial research companies and major institutions. This year Sheffield University, Platypus, Family Kids and Youth, the BBC and Ofcom are amongst the bodies offering 30 minutes of research insight and analysis. The CMC schedule is designed so that every research session is repeated on Thursday. All the research session can be conveniently found in Showroom Cinema 1.   Here's the full list: 1. Continuity and Change: The Impact of Online on Children’s TV Viewing Compelling video footage plus a…

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Preview – The Changing Face of Production

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 3:19pm by Nellie McQuinn

Nellie McQuinn hosts a session discussing digital production techniques and how production companies have evolved to accommodate a new generation of consumers. Our session brings together key players from different areas of online content production, and they will explore the following issues: Digital production companies are becoming key players in the children’s entertainment industry – but does digital content mean cheaper content? How do companies deal with delivering content that is on trend with such little lead-time? How have digital content creators adapted their production methods to fit in with digital needs? Are production methods different when creating digital content…

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Preview – The Prix Jeunesse Suitcase

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2016 2:27pm by David Kleeman

Session producer David Kleeman on the value of seeing what’s out there in international kids’ TV. Warning: graphic nudity. In children’s TV. There... that ought to fill Cinema 3. That’s not all, though – far from it! Come to the PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase screening – kids and tweens programming from around the world – to see a 9-year-old marrying his 10-year-old girlfriend, a monster who really wants to be a singer, a moondance, and preschoolers playing agony aunt for their stuffed animals. But, wait, don’t stop there. We’ll finish with a five-clip focus on Japan’s NHK, which is turning out…

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Preview – Too Cool for School

Posted on: Thursday 23 June 2016 12:56pm by Lorna Probert

Lorna Probert is producing a session that sounds like a song from a musical – 'Too Cool for School' Hosted by Mr Cool, Dan Efergan, Aardman's Digital Creative Director, who has considerable experience of making content both attractive and learning-focused, our panel brings together a group of people who each bring different insights into how entertainment content is actually being used in the classroom and its effects – perhaps in contexts or to teach topics we might never have imagined. The session will look at whether there really is a role for entertainment – film, TV or games – in the classroom. Of course the entertainment producers…

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Preview – Under the Bonnet of Over the Top

Posted on: Friday 01 July 2016 5:11pm by Jon Watts

Jon Watts (MTM) has assembled his team of mechanics to take apart the OTT business model and reveal its inner workings. Have you ever wondered what’s really going on, under the bonnet of over-the-top video services? Well, fear not – we’ve got just the session for you. We’ve assembled up a panel of industry leaders and experts – including Alice Webb of the BBC, Hopster’s Chief Creative Officer Miki Chojnacka, leading kids' producers and distributors Zodiac Kids and Cake Entertainment, and Ofcom’s Head of Media Research and Market Intelligence Jane Rumble – to give us the lowdown on what’s really happening and…

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Preview – What Do We Tell the Children?

Posted on: Thursday 30 June 2016 9:21am

Olivia Dickinson and Lewis Bronze, outline the aims for their session to consider how children's news deals with difficult topics. Terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the murder of Jo Cox MP – a series of events, each shocking in their own way, assail us from the rolling news channels.  In the age of social media and 24 hour news, how do broadcasters relate these events to children?  Are the norms which governed Newsround for most of its long history relevant today?  What standards should be applied to children’s news outlets, are they showing too…

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Preview – VR 101: Making Virtual a Reality

Posted on: Friday 01 July 2016 2:09pm by Imogen Hesp

Session producer, Imogen Hesp, on why now is the time talk VR and how she plans to do that at CMC. 2016 is pegged as being a watershed moment for VR. Oculus Rift, first made available as a development kit to producers in late 2012, has finally hit the consumer market. Google’s cardboard and Samsungs Gear are making VR experiences accessible to anyone with a smart phone and McDonalds took VR to the masses with its Swedish Happy Meal Box that transformed into a VR viewer. VR experiences have obvious appeal to the children’s market. With the ability to transport you…

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