Tenacity and Talent - How to Survive and Thrive in Animation
20 Dec 2011 by Animated Yorkshire
Well hello! My first blog on Imagine! I'm soooo excited!
I'm Kath Shackleton and I run Animated Yorkshire - a network to help animators and other related creatives in and around Yorkshire. We do training, networking and speaker events.
Check out our website at www.animatedyorkshire.co.uk for more details and follow us on Twitter @AnimYorks.
We also have an agency seeking out paid opportunities for our members - please spread the word. Here's our showreel.
Imagine have been brilliant and are working with us over the next year to help come up with bigger and better events and get more people to know about what we are up to. This post will be the first of many by us.
So to our first ever joint event - it went really well! Thanks to everyone involved. We had a marvellous networking lunch and panel discussion as part of this year's Bradford Animation Festival.
I called the event Tenacity and Talent - how to Survive and Thrive in Animation. Tricky times for some in the animation business, but others are managing to do rather well. What can we learn from one another?
First up to speak was Rob Millington, Lead Creative from Manchester agency, The Neighbourhood. He's a Motion Graphics graduate from Salford who now animates using After Effects. He showed some of his early work as a freelancer in London delivering animation projects for commercial clients.
We loved the work that the Neighbourhood is up to - really varied from advertising through to architecture. They've swooped up loads of well deserved awards. Here's their reel. We found their work really inspiring - it's great working on your own - but wow this showed what can be achieved when a team collaborate creatively!
Next to speak was freelancer David Bunting who talked about his varied career working as an effects artist in feature films, storyboarding on Shaun the Sheep, his education work with young people and working as a producer on the most successful animation yet made by Screen Yorkshire The Astronomers Sun.
Resiliance is the key to David's success - you just need to keep on going! He showed his chart showing how many Animation Festivals his film was rejected by, before his film went on to win multiple awards. David's passion for animation fuels him, as does his willingness to adapt, learn and seize new opportunities.
Linda McCarthy was next - she makes stop motion animation with fired clay heads, really unusual but they look amazing! Linda is the creator of the idents for this year's Festival, alongside her cousin, cartoonist Stephen Appleby, who also joined us in the audience. She's worked to bring Stephen's Small Birds Singing comic strips to life in stop motion animation. We were also treated to her latest film Hinterland - which is excellent.
We had a good look behind the scenes of how her films are made. She's got a wonderful studio in her garage, with a great stop motion kit, bought cheaply from an animation studio which was closing down. Core to her work is high production values, which whe achieves by collaborating with others with complimentary skills who are good at what they do, such as lighting designer Joe Dembinski. She also gets out to promote her work at Festivals. Linda has a generosity and a warmth about her and her work, which I very much enjoy.
Fans of stop motion went on to enjoy the work of the lovely Mr Mole Hill. His real name is Matthew, but boy is Mole much more memorable - a good name is a starting block for him! He's got a great reel here.
Quite early on in his career, Mole got involved on the creative team making animated adverts, which led into him being invited onto well-known TV series. Mole had some success with the series Yo-Ho Ahoy for CBeebies, which did really well for a short time, but suffered due to a change in management direction at the beeb.
We all love the work he did as part of the team on The Ooglies - such a simple idea, why didn't we think of that?
A nice guy - who works hard and keeps striving to stay good at what he does!
Whirling up next to speak was Tim Searle from Baby Cow Animation, up from London especially to be on our panel. He works with Steve Coogan and Henry Normal and does lots of comedy based animation. They do both "gun for hire" work and also promote their own ideas.
Balancing riskier projects and safer "bread and butter" work has been key. We saw animation made for the stadium tours of comedian Lee Evans. He showed work with comedian John Bishop where they animated to a very fast turnaround to audio, this became part of a football based comedy app. The app was not as successful as anticipated, but the animation still stands up well. Getting to animation festivals has been pretty important for him. Last year at BAF, he met Alex Collier, and has been setting about adapting his favourite comic Viz for animation for Channel 4's Comedy Blaps. He's also developed a pre-school TV series called Wussywat, the adventures and discoveries of a clever but clumsy cat.
Check out the studio showreel - see what you can spot that you recognise. Such amazing work! Tim's passion and dedication to animation was apparent throughout
everything he talked about. He was also saying "Never mind Talent, it's Tenacity and Tenacity" that matters (easy to say with a showreel THAT good!). He's also had to have nerves of steel at times through the risky times, and
keep calm and confident on the surface whilst panicking like mad underneath!
Last but certainly not least was the wonderful Matt Howarth from Puppetman Productions. This man has been there, seen it, done it and got the T-shirt. Former Head of Animation and Special Effects at Granada TV, there's not much he has not done! His showreel made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck!
Matt's been saving up over a number of years whilst he's been doing his commercial work, in order to be able to do work which satisfies his own personal creativity. He's an artist in residence at Dean Clough in Halifax. He's written and designed his own animated series. Most recently, he's teamed up with illustrator Chris Mould to design his first ever app, Red Planet Rescue. Check out his lovely game - it's great fun (69p in the App Store!)
Matt's advice was just to keep going - stick at it and do what you love!
Thanks so much to our super panel for a really enjoyable session.
Our panel also donated some gorgeous raffle prizes which rounded off our time very nicely! Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers at Bradford Animation Festival who made this possible, and to Imagine Animation for their support.
Looking forward to the next one!