Master class: Will Belcher
The next talk was Will Belcher who is a freelance animator who worked on Wallace and Gromit and Shaun of the Sheep movie. He focused the talk on his work on Shaun of the Sheep. We had a look to start with at what he does in the movie and his role as the lead animator. After that we went on to look at some concept art that was done for the movie and talking about what the objectives where in look and style. He then went on to show us images of some sets finished and being built illustrating the scale of the sets that were built for the film and this followed onto the tables that they used and how strong they had to be so the animators could lean and stand on the set to get to the characters. After this he showed us how they animated the movie firstly with a series of images showing the animators on the tables moving the characters and then a sped up clip of them animating a shot were a bus turned into the bus station and parked up. As we were talking about animating he showed us images of the concept art for the characters and the clay models that they built to get a better understanding of what they would look like. He then shared the frame work of the bad guy so we could have a look at it and understand how the character could move and whilst that was going around he showed us images of the mouth shapes that they made for the farmer to fit onto the mouth so that he could speak and show emotions. The he showed us an animation test for the bad guy and showing how they tested his movement and expressions to fully understand how he would move in the film. After that he moved onto how they made the sheep and how many of them weren’t much more than wool and he showed us an image of the farmer half built and the other half was the inner skeleton with nothing around it. After that he showed us another animation test but this time it was for the sheep pretending to be human that they were testing, After this he showed us a couple more images of them animating the film and then after the talk he placed some of the characters and skeletons on a table outside the screening room for us to look at and take photos.
Making it Manchester
This talk gave a lot of insight into how the Manchester animation industry works and how close all the people that work in it are. All three that were there although from different companies all knew each other and seemed to be good friends. They talked about the cooperation that goes on between the companies and talk about how they would each other out and providing cooperative work between the companies. This lead onto them talking about the wider ambitions of the Manchester industry to create a global brand like The Simpsons or Mr Bean and to create a feature film. They also said that the way the Manchester industry was growing that it may be possible sometime in the foreseeable future. They seemed very optimistic about what can be achieved in greater Manchester in the animation industry. Then they went onto talk about productions that there companies had been involved in first Phil Clark from factory showed us the process of making The Clangers TV show, they had a video of a scene that showed how the process developed from storyboard to animating and then finally the final product with the stands edited out. They also worked on Newzoids and the process that they would have to go through on software but also how rushed the production process was because it had to be current they would spend a couple days writing then get the voices, animate for a day or two then add the special effects in (The mouth movements) all had to be done in the space of one week. He also showed us a glimpse of the show Raa Raa the noisy lion and he said the importance of positive messages in preschool TV shows.
The remaking of Danger Mouse
In this talk we went through the process of making a episode of the new Danger Mouse series. We started by the script and the process the script had to go through to be approved as an episode. First they come up with an idea and there a script is developed when the initial script is developed it is sent to the USA to be changed so that it isn’t to British because it need to be marketable to a global audience. The script then bounces from the UK office and the US office until both are happy then it goes to the producers and directors for them to change little bits for them to approve. Once it has gone through this process it is story boarded and they get it storyboarded once story boarded they build all the assets needed for the episode and it is then animated. Once animated they put the layers together so they put the characters on the background (scene) that they need to be in and we were shown visually the process. It started with the background then in came the characters, once they were in the shadows were put on the ground and then initial lighting and lastly the atmosphere. This was every insightful on how they composite a scene in a professional studio.
Master class: Tim Searle
Tim Searle is involved in the animated Mr Bean series but this talk covered his entire career before Bean. He started with his university days and how he was studied photography and that he ended up in animation/ film by mistake. He said how he went to an animation festival when he was studying photography and how he fell asleep during some of the eastern European animations and in reference to this said “I didn’t like that stuff, I find it quite rude boring your audience” which is something that I relate to. After this he talked about his post university animations and in this showed us some adverts that he was part of and his time working on have I got news for you. From this point his work seemed to be a lot more mainstream and well known programs like horrible histories and Catherine Tate show. But he also showed us a glimpse of a TV series that he directed called Warren United which look very good. This talk seemed more of a timeline of his journey to Bean rather than substance of how he did it and what software was used in his work but the message seemed to be there is no one route to success you have to forge your own path. The bit of advice that he did give was find an actor you like and try do work with him and help set up a medium for your work.
When we arrived at frame store we had just got off the train and we headed down into a theatre room where we were given around a one hour talk with a lot of valuable content about getting into the industry but also about the creative process. It started with an over view of the company and it started in the 1980’s with moving onto the fact that they have their own art department which is what makes them stand out because they can do concept art and designs in house. Frame store do have international studios in Montreal and in New York and LA that concentrate on commercials but London is the main studio that employs around 600 people. They are also privately owned by the people that set them up and they are still directly involved in the running of the company but once they had talked about the small facts and details of the company they moved onto the production work that the studio does. They said that the movie Gravity took 4 years to make and that they were the lead studio on the movie Paddington. They then showed us some breakdown clips on the movie Pan and Martian which were good as it showed us the detail that they go into when making their movies. After this they moved it onto how we could get into the industry saying that they do take interns and in this internship you will be able to work on films but they also give you the opportunity to work on a private project to put into your portfolio to show in the future so if they don’t decide to take you on you will have something that you can show when trying to get a job. It is also important to keep my CV and show reel up to date with my latest work so that they can see what I am capable off and to be 100% sure that my show reel is available and that when they go on it they are able to watch it. Double check the CV as well make sure that all the spelling is correct and the grammar is solid there’s nothing worse than a CV badly written. Also social media is important linked in is extremely important because it is just a online CV that anyone can see and a good way to put yourself out there. Keeping on social media some companies have social media open days where they open themselves up for questions about production process or employment so connecting with companies on social media is vital. Just keep an eye on the latest technology not necessarily be fluent in it because many companies have their own features so don’t expect you to know it straight away but it is important to understand what they use so that when they employ you, you are able to learn it immediately. When getting the foot into the door a good attitude is very important to make yourself known in the industry for positive reasons. They then went onto the show reel and what makes a good show reel in their eyes, it should be around one to two minutes long as people are very busy in the industry and don’t have the time to watch a five minute video. The show reel should also only have the best shots and it is quantity over quality so if you have a 40 second clip that is really good then that is good enough as they would rather see on brilliant thing rather than 10 average things they want to see what you are capable off and nothing else. When putting a show reel together be considerate of who you are applying to so if you are applying to frame store you need a show reel that displays realistic life like work but if it is Pixar then perhaps more cartoony work is appropriate but that doesn’t mean no other work if there is a piece of work that is really good include it!. It is always nice to show break downs on the work so they understand the process you went through to get to where you ended up and the work process that you go through. The music is not important they just ignore it anyway, so this was a real good talk with a lot of content and turned out to be extremely helpful for many reasons.
Cartoon Network in London share a building with CNN and they also share a studio with Boomerang and in this studio they work on branding and adverts for international networks. So when we went in and they took us into an office were we sat down and they showed us what they do in this studio, what they did was just promotional campaigns to put on their networks for example there is a weetabix campaign that shows you how to make cartoon network characters with your weetabix and fruit, and many other campaigns that they have done with other companies and products. After this they then had us go around the studio showing us how it was split up and taking us to people from different departments and it started with a trip to editing and they showed us some work that they were doing on the new weetabix adverts and how they put it together, we then moved onto animation and some of the characters that they were animating and clips that they were editing to include some brands so there was one person reanimating a scene slightly to work in a campaign they were working on. The animator then took us into a small room where they had the cartoon network symbol and they showed us it in its 3D form and how they can use the base format and add things into it, They were working on having characters from a new show they were realising jumping out and interacting with the logo to help with the launch of the new show and they told us how a lot of animations that look 2D are shot in 3D and made to look 2D which was the case with the logo. Once we had been shown they took us back to the office and to get are stuff and as we were leaving we were told that the CNN office was to pick up international stories and help report on those stories.
After cartoon network we went to Leicester square where it was the premier of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film Grimsby and he was there dressed up in character so he was there on the red carpet in his pants and the atmosphere of the red carpet was a new experience for me, There where the bright lights and flame throwers with fire getting fired into the air every so often the closest experience I can think of was the live show of The Impractical jokers in New York with the set up and the atmosphere.
This was my favourite because the work that they do is best inline to what I do in style. I was a massive fan of the Nike advert that they did but when we went in they showed us there show reel and this showed us that they also were responsible for adverts such as compare the meerkats, After this they went onto gives some details about the company, They have companies in New York, Paris, Melbourne and the London office is the biggest. The studio was set up 29 years ago and they mainly do commercials but they have started to enter the game trailer industry. They then told us about the process that they go through to win the rights to do a commercial and it goes like this.
- The agency come up with idea and script
- The studio adapt the script and create a pitch
When they went through this they showed us the work that they do for a pitch and the drawings that they do of characters and sets to help them illustrate what it is that they are going to do. The pitch they don’t get paid for they only get paid if they get the job and they have to pitch for most of the work that they do so it is very rare that they just get a job straight away. A long time to pitch is two weeks but the average time to put a pitch together is usually around three to five days. This means that rather than create 3D characters and scenes they have to make character drawings that look 3D in the way that they are painted. They have a huge verity of jobs from concept art to post production from painters, animators, head animators, VFX, rigging, producers and directors and many more which means there are huge selections of career choices in the animation industry. This means that it is best to know what it is that you want to do so that you can start sell yourself on what I want to do. The web presence is also massively important and don’t be afraid to bug people with emails as they will look at your work even if they don’t respond. It is probable that you might need to start out as a runner as that is a good way to get into a company and become known and on getting yourself out there keep the work up to date and specific to what you want to do. The work that you have is all that matters as people don’t look at the grade just the content of the work of the person as that is all that the companies care about. When it comes to animating positions a walk cycle is hugely important and it the quality that you have to deliver. It doesn’t matter if what you do is simple as long as it is done really well that is the most important thing so don’t over complicate things. Keep at it and just keep practicing as that will make you better and better at what you do and when applying show your process of what you do. We then went for a quick tour of the studio showing us how the departments are split up and in this tour we saw people working on special effects and animating then we got to the top and the end of the tour so we went back down and left a great informative trip.
This studio started off as a live action company which means that they have the production line of a live action company rather than a traditional animation studio set up so there production process is less pipeline than competitors. It also means that they have live action options as well as animation options when creating a pitch. When making work they try and use more than one form of media in their work. They said that confidence was important as that allows you to be more confident coming up with ideas on your feet which crucial when working on projects with small budgets and tight deadlines. Also the bar is higher than ever and the standards are much higher which does make it harder to get noticed in the industry so quality is more important than ever. The show reel message was the same as everywhere else quality is the more important than quantity and they added that it is best to show a piece of work that you followed threw right to the end as it shows perseverance. They said they sign people not on who they are but who they are going to be so that means attitude is important. Building a career is a slow process in the animation studio as you have to get noticed and this is more important if you want to become a director as they are much more self sufficient than ever before and they are able to take part in the creative process and solve problems in the production line. They talked about the agency and they said the same as Passion Pictures about how the agency come up with the script and the ideas. They said that style in show reel is important and try interesting new things to add a bit of spice to the work that you do and it will help your work stand out and this includes trying to include snippets of your hobbies and likes in your film as it help set up a identity to your work. If you want to work as a director hands on experience is important so that you have the experience to solve problems and overcome barriers using past experiences and knowledge this also means don’t ever chuck work out as the process may come in hand as it might help you come up with a solution to a future problem. One last time they reiterated the importance of hard work and perseverance and the last note they left use with was remember email and telephone number on website and applications a great website or application is worthless without a way for them to contact you.
Smoke & Mirrors
At this company we did something different to what we did at all the other companies we went around and saw the whole pipe line with people doing work and talking about what they do and how they do it. The first stop was the basement where they had a brand new audio suit and in there we spoke to the guy who puts the audio to the film. There we saw the intense detail that goes into putting together the audio on a short 30 second advert and how perfect the sound has to be. From there we went to colour correction and the first thing he showed us was a piece that he was nearly finished and showed us the original and the difference in colour and quality was absolutely incredible, everything is improved from lips to clothing and it made the whole shot so much more professional. After this we went to editing where he was working on a cheese commercial and he showed us how he mixes images and videos to create fresh scenes so what he was doing was taking the original footage shot in South Africa and adding a Game of Thrones style castle in the background and adding the shadows of two dragons along the floor. It gave an insight how images and videos can be mixed to add a whole new perspective on the settings. After this we fittingly went up stairs to see the guy manipulating the photos to create the assets needed to be edited into the film he was currently working on the castle but he showed us a little English village that he had done on the hillside of the South African mountains where the film had been shot. After this we went through the room with all the producers and script writers and all the administrative creative people in the company to work together. After that we went to production where they make and animate all of their CGI work and it was incredible to the scale of the studio, It gave a real look into the production process of a animation/ VFX studio like Smoke and mirrors.
This London trip was a resounding success in my eyes as we were given a great insight to how the industry runs and how to get our foot into the door. The strong verity in companies allowed us to understand the different verity that companies have in the pipe line process from the big company process Frame store and Smoke & Mirrors have to the smaller CGI pipeline that a company that Passion pictures has. But most useful was the constant advice that we received on how to put together a CV and show reel as that information will really help us get a job.
We started by hearing about what is a brand and the definition of a brand is a promise that you make to consumer or to the consumer a brand is an identity that a brand has so how you would perceive that brand and the way you look at it. A brand is built by a collection of perceptions that the public have about the brand and image and these perceptions are built on the quality of our products but everything else from colour schemes and even we as people are judged as we are part of the brand, It is how we speak in public and what we wear that people psychologically judge us and our brand on. It is also important to be able to look back at the decisions we made to take us where we are today because that helps us understand where we are and how we got there. Look at the key moments in our life that were important on where we ended up whether it be moments of curiosity or clear influential decisions like taking a job. She then went on to tell us how walking for a company like Disney pretty much opens all the doors because people want to talk to you and they know that your work is good so want you on their teams. But at the same time when you work for a company as big as Disney you must raise your game so much because the standards that are expected are so much higher than what is expected if you work for a smaller studio. When creating products it is important that they are of go quality otherwise it damages your company brand and image and devalues me. But when going in for a job it is important that you create a interesting and vibrant CV that makes the employer want to read it, Five pages of paragraph after paragraph is not going to grab an employer’s attention they want it to be to the point and creatively put together. When formulating a CV and putting in my strengths it is important to speak to other people and ask them what they think your strengths are as they might see something that you don’t see. Having objectives is important but formulating a plan of action to achieve those objective is much more important and when creating a plan it is very important to think about who can help you achieve these objective but also how can they help you. We ended the talk by creating some mind maps about our personal and professional skills and strengths as a good example.
This talk was given by Seb Burnett from Rumpus animation studios in Bristol which also have created games. They employ six people plus freelancers when they need them. Seb started off as an illustrator and after graduating he got a job as a publisher after a year but after four years he decided to go into animation so got some work experience and short term jobs as a character designer and during this time he met an animator and decided to set up their own business together. They started by creating a short film for animation festivals and from that they got a couple of commercial jobs and from those they decided to make it official and in 2011 they founded Rumpus animation studios. From there they made some work to send out and also created a short film to animation festivals where it was picked up by one in Berlin and from that they were approached by a Norwegian band to make a music video for them. From that music video they got more commercial work including one from kitchen towels brand Plenty. But after doing a number of small commercials they decided to change course and they agreed a deal with animation company Aardman to do their 2D animation work and now they are trying to develop a TV show and pushing their ideas but they said how competitive that sector is and how difficult it is for someone to sign onto a TV show idea, This lead them to enter the games industry because anyone can publish a game in the app store so it is a lot more approachable but unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee success as people might not buy the app. But they made their game and now they are planning to make a sequel so have made a promotional video for a kick start campaign to encourage people to donate so that they can make a great game. They also have created a Android advert in Japan threw contacts that they have made so networking is always important, The business plan they have is to grow the company step by step. He then moved onto giving advice to us for applying to get a job starting with researching the studio that we apply for, If you work in 3D and you apply to a company that only does 2D work then you are not going to get the job so research the studio and make sure that you are applying to the right place. When putting a show reel together we were told the same as what I was told in London it should be 1:00 to 1:30 minutes long but also make sure that only your best work is in the show reel, don’t sell yourself short. The inconstancy seems to be on verity he said that showing different styles is important in the same way that Blink ink did but contrary to what Passion Picture and Frame store say in saying it should be more focused to what it is you are applying for. When formulating a show reel showing that you can do the basics are a great start because it shows that you have a very good foundation to set up a long and successful career which is important for potential employers.
Self Employment in the creative sector: The real life pros and cons
The first message was that learning difficulties don’t hold your back, in fact they can help you in the creative industries because thinking differently (outside of the box) Is exactly what is needed. I have to think about where I want to go and what inspires me to get there to ensure that I am extremely motivated to get what I want. When doing my work always be professional and apply yourself as you are only worth what you did in your last job/ placement because word of mouth is very important because everybody talks and it is up to you to make sure what they have to say is positive. Being a student is much easier than being employed because there are a lot less responsibilities as you will have bills and deadlines that must be met and the hours are much stricter when being enforced. Even the small things may make it harder from the time you have to get up to the length of the commute. Also when you work for someone else there is a lot less creative freedom as you have to give them what they want. You have to design in the style that they tell you to design in and there is very little room in manoeuvrability in some cases. When considering self employment vs. Job sit down and write down the positives and the negatives of both so you understand if it is for you. She said it was a matter of financial vs. happiness which I disagree self employment does not mean a life in poverty so I don’t understand her when she made this statement. Then once looking at the positives and negatives think about if I can do it? that means do I have the determination and the hard work ethic to make a success of setting up my own business. But can you handle the negativity from people as there are always people who will cast doubt on you and your ability to go it alone. When you create a plan to set up a business it can take a long time to put a plan into motion as it is not an easy or quick process. She said that she had to get a part time job while she put her business plan into motion so that she could live and pay her bills. You don’t need to know everything, you don’t need to know about HMR and what band national insurance you need as you can go to Go Wales and access the ILM course that will teach you about all these things and you can get a lot of information about running a business from this. When setting up a company it needs funds so that means you must sit down and work out how much the start up costs are and if they are a greater amount than what you have you can go to the Princes trust enterprise course and whilst that goes through you can speak to business advisors about starting a company to get some advice about how to do it. Councils don’t tend to give companies money but the Prince’s trust will and approaching them can be a daunting experience as they examine the company in great detail and that can cause some doubt in your mind. But you have to write a detailed business plan for them and then you have to face a panel like on Dragons Den and in there showing passion, drive and belief in the business you want to set up. If you get it not only do they invest in the business but they also will provide a business advisor to help you when needed. But when setting up you must give your company a name and decide whether it will be a limited company or a sole trade, A limited company will be more expensive but is a lot more professional and is the best one to go with when your company does business with other business rather than the public so is the preferred one for a animation studio. Be careful who you deal with and take advice from because the women doing this talk ended up losing hours of time and having to buy back her own company back nearly bankrupting her because of a bad business partner she thought was helping her. When branding a company consider the question is it functional because cool is simply not enough when branding is considered. Test clients do some work for free at a high standard to get your name out of there and always keep business cards on you as clients can meet you at any time as you can speak to a wide range of people in unplanned situation so always be prepared to hand out business cards. Clients will also expect you to be on hand 24/7 so don’t be afraid to set clear boundaries by keeping to working hours or it can get very exhausting very quickly and it can result in a complete loss of energy. Don’t worry if something goes wrong as it can be fixed and things will go wrong from time to time and on this it is very important to back up all work in case you accidently lose it. Be prepared to negotiate to get the best deal sometimes clients will try and pay you below average or make you uncomfortable make sure you agree on a deal that you are happy with. You will need to be proactive when finding clients and you must be prepared to go out and find clients so being proactive and determined is very important. You sell yourself in the way that you act and dress so you need to understand who you want to sell to understand how to sell yourself to. Joining the FSB (Federation of Small Business) will provide great benefits to a company, It even helped here turn her business around because it is a fantastic place to network and meet new clients. It is also a place where people will refer you and a great place to benefit from word of mouth she said joining the FSB was the best thing she has ever done. You can also meet new suppliers that are better and cheaper there so not only do you get more clients but better suppliers. A diary is important to keep track of what you need to do so you don’t forget about work and clients don’t go else were. Have a contingency plan in case there is a dip in business as you will still have a steady stream of income to pay the bills. When marketing consider the target and the time for example if your target is mums then it is not good to release and try and contact them at 3pm because most of them will be offline picking up their kids from school so be considerate of target and time. The summary of this was it takes time to get results so be patient and determination but the benefits are that it gives great flexibility in every aspect of life and you have complete control over what you do.
Linda McCartney : Making stop motion films
In this we saw some of the films Linda does the main one was small birds which started off as a series of doodles for a newspaper by her brother. She decided to turn them into an animation whilst at university and she continued it afterwards. When leaving university she upgraded materials and standards of her stop motions buying rigs from McKinnon and Saunders rather than the wire she used whilst in university. She also started animating on after effects on small things like the sky rather than doing it on set. She really did up her game after leaving university.
How to make a living from your passion for film-making
Before going to university he won a competition on BBC three to introduce Family guy shows with short clips and after university he continued to enter competitions driving his creativity. He entered competitions when he only heard about it two or one day before the final deadline because he says it is vital not to miss an opportunity. The tight deadlines meant he had to think differently when overcoming problems and challenges. When you see a competition it is easy to pass up the opportunity but it would be a bad idea to do that because you never know what might come from it. After a couple of competitions he got a music video deal with a band from Wrexham called Baby Brave. Also don’t be scared to challenge yourself with tight deadlines and new techniques learning new things to make new accomplishments. He gets his audio from audio jungle when looking for sound tracks. The cons of being self employed is that it takes a lot of hard work and yet again he said poor a description I whole heartedly disagree with you go self employed to succeed and that means you won’t be poor. Hard work leads to long days and long nights which equals very little sleep and if you work from home there are distractions everywhere and if you don’t get the work done you don’t get paid. Being paid is important and if you have a difficult client then getting paid on time can turn out to be difficult and with all this work you must remember that you must pay your taxes. All mistakes and errors are on you and if you are sick and can’t get the work done then it’s simple you don’t get paid. The positives are that you decide what jobs you accept and that means that you do what you love. You work from where ever it is that you want to set up from which is great as it means you can set up a office or work from home you have that freedom and flexibility that you otherwise would not have. You are your own boss and that means that you have flexible time, vacations and jobs which also means that you have freedom of creativity. You get to travel a lot more to make deals, market research and filming as you do it yourself. You have an overview of the whole process which means a development in skills in all aspects of the process pipeline. The final pieces of advice where don’t compare our insides to other peoples outsides and what he means by that is don’t feel depressed because what you think other people’s lives are like. Never turn down opportunities you never know what it is going to lead to and that also helps with networking which is very important. Say yes to work then think how you are going to do it so that it can act as motivation to learn something new and push yourself to improve and become more marketable. The final piece of advice was that pressure pushes creativity, tight deadlines make you think differently on how to do something so it can be done on time, Not knowing how to do something pushes you to learn something new so that you can do it and that means that you create new dynamic options for yourself.
Media: Can you make it?
We had a talk from an executive producer from Shine North and the first three things he did was go over the three models of a creative business. The first model is that you come up with an idea then once you have the idea you sell that idea and once it is sold you make it for the client this means that you take very little risk as you are guaranteed to make money once the product is complete. The second model is that you come up with the idea then make it and after making it you sell it and the benefit from this is that you will own all the rights to it so if you make it and it turns out to be a huge success you will have control over follow up projects and will take more of the profits, The risk being is that it isn’t a success and know one wants to buy it which means that you will have no money come in from it. The third idea which seems the usual model for commercials is hear what the brand wants and let them come up with the backbone, Then you create an idea and sell the idea to them and once you have done that you make it and this is much more based on the advertisement industry. In the creative industries a job is creating something fun if it is not fun then you are not doing it right. But also you have to look at your own life as everything is relevant to a job in the creative industries as ideas can come from anywhere and be inspired by anything. Over the last ten twenty years what is considered content has change because everything has content know, Adverts tell stories along with sell a product everything made in the creative industry has a bit of one thing and a bit of another thing so a advert sells a product but it can also tell a story. It is vital to learn to edit because videos are the best way to make a presentation as it is a lot more entertaining. Understand what materials are available to you whether they be online or around the house make use of all the materials and equipment that you have at your disposal and on this be creative about how you do business so be creative on how you use the materials to make the most of what you have, But this also means be creative in the way that you represent yourself and sell yourself whether it be to clients or employers. In the creative industry team work is absolutely everything because you can’t do everything in a project and you will need help so be aware team work is needed. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet and sell yourself but find a way to do it in a entertaining way because people don’t really like a show off but if you do it and make people enjoy how you talk about yourself then they will like you and when someone employs you or signs up you to make something with you they invest in your skills but also your personality. You have to put yourself and your work out there into the public as people need to see it otherwise they won’t know about your skills and talent, Never stop doing this never stop networking as you never know when you will need someone for help from your network. Everyone has a story and people are always looking for new stories and that means that you can think about your own story and you can try and sell that to people. Finally bombard people when trying to get connections and jobs.
PR and the media
The woman doing this talk was from a business called Outwire that deal with digital reputation and crisis management. Her first fact for us is that the media is now 24/7 because news is told online and shared all over the globe. PR is about the reputation that is a result of how you present yourself in the media that comes from how you speak and what you say but also what others say about you is just as important. The media is not dead it is changing, its changing in how we receive the news and who we get it from, yes we get it from trusted news sources but often we our first exposure to a story is a shared link on Facebook or twitter so the way we access the news is transforming. The chamber of commerce is important because in their businesses exchange information and in the reputations are built and information is shared between businesses. The way to get yourself out in the media is first identify the positive news that you have and then think about the story, Once you have a topic about yourself that you think will be good to tell draft a press release in a journalist style, Then identify who might want to tell the story and send it ti the relevant people if your press release is about a new app you have designed then it would be pointless sending the press release to gardening weekly. Decide which content will have a positive impact and negative impact so you know what content you should offer to a journalist. Always publish online because then it can be shared and a lot more people will and will be able to access the information/ story that you have told. Sometimes when someone makes a comment it is best not to respond to avoid a back and forth between the two which might generate unwanted press.
Greg David: High end animation
Greg David is the founder and owner of Planet Sunday founded in 2006, He studied at Bournemouth and was extremely passionate about animation which he suggested was the most important part. After leaving university he applied for jobs but got told no because he had no experience but the a person he knew came up to him to help animate a small project. From this he said that the world of animation is “Blinking hard work”. After this he got a job in London but left because he hated London and after that he got some freelance work through friends, This seemed to be successful and from this he set up Planet Sunday which only had one or two clients from the UK the rest of them came from all over the world. He said that customer service is vital because if you look after them they will look after you. An example of this was him making a five minute video in six days over Christmas and in doing this it lead onto new deals and even a TV show all because Planet Sunday had been so good for him. He used Toon Boom harmony to animate these projects. For the TV show he created two thirty minute episodes of Cranium ark which was the TV show and from this he gave us a fact that most businesses fail because 51% of income comes from one client and if that client fails then the business fails and Greg learnt this the hard way when the client from Cranium ark died. So then he had to search for new clients.
He then gave a list of tips on how to make it in the animation industry.
- Presentation is everything so make sure everything you do is your best work.
- Decide what I want to do (Freelance, Job or business)
- Use all available technology, utilise the equipment that you have available.
- You have to stand out.
- Be yourself because it is you they are working with.
- Be passionate, It drives you
- Never stop animating if you are not in a job continue to build your portfolio.
- Craig’s list is a great place to find projects and jobs.
- Your first impression is everything.
- CV needs a cover letter to introduce yourself and say why you want to work for the company you are applying to.
- Show reel disc needs a label.
- PRESENTATION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE ARE IMPORTANT.
- When pricing reward loyal clients with a pricing freeze.
- Charge by the seconds of the animation.
- Take into consideration how long it will take to make when pricing
- Also judge based on the opportunities that it will create.
- DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT.
Overall Creative futures was extremely helpful if I decide to set up my own studio as there were a lot of people that had taken that step but also people who offered advice on brand and how to present yourself. When it came to the advice to getting a job it was very much the same as London but in a little less detail because the talks were more business orientated. The advice was clear and consistent, Always work to the best of your ability as quality is the thing that will get you your next clients which was a helpful bit of advice. Another suggestion seemed to be don’t be afraid to look for help and never turn away from advice.