LIAF Industry Event: Animating for Television – 31 Oct 2014

‘Animation thrives on television, so how can you build a career in broadcast animation and what can you expect?  A panel of experts will share their work and experiences in the world of TV animation and answer your questions in an open Q&A session. Full panel line-up included Andreas Hykade, Jamie Badminton, Steve Smith and Maria Manton chaired by Saint John Walker.

This was a few weeks ago but I wrote some notes that I”ll attempt to transcribe as a way of recording my highlights.  I hope it wont misrepresent what was said too gravely.

Jamie Badminton from Karrot has stuck with a team of 8 who got together at University, they have many ideas and pitch them all here and there, including Cartoon Forum.  I think this is how the very successful Cbeebies show Sarah and Duck was taken up, they made animated tests to pitch, and a trailer too.  The show is 7 minutes, and each is a little movie in it’s own right.  Using CelAction 2D theycan do 6 seconds per day, 30 seconds per animator per week.  There are 25 animators working in their studio in Elephant & Castle.

Steve Smith from Beakus seemed more travel weary on this broadcast animation journey, or perhaps he has more experience, and we got the sense that there’s a fair amount of developing stuff that doesn’t get taken up, or developing lovely stuff that goes so well for the commissioner that they dump you for a cheaper studio further down the line.  (oof!)  Beakus makes 90 percent of their work for the web, they work in Waterloo, with 8 directors, working in many different styles.  The Numtums was created with the BBC, and they made 25 x 5 minute episodes. They’ve got some lovely work under their belt, some of which was shown by Maria Manton. Maria (from Munky) was the highlight of the event for me, I’ve admired the films that she has produced for a long time and I was mustard keen to hear her talk about them.  She was at Bermuda Shorts, and then at Slinky Pictures, where she produced Chris Shepherd’s films, then Fonejacker, Talented Mouse, amongst many others.  She works with good writers, often comedy writers and excellent directors, and her work really stands out for never being mundane, there may be a better way to phrase that.  She showed a powerful short film called Danielle’s Story made with Leigh Hodgkinson about Child Poverty, commissioned by CBBC Newsround.  One of the Talented mouse episodes and the 43rd Grand Stareout competition Final, for Big Train, which I love because the dialogue by Phil Cornwall and Barry Davis is eye wateringly funny and the animation consists of only has about 30 frames, and they’re all at the end.

Andreas Hykade gave us the international perspective on making work for TV, although he mostly doesn’t. Here he is;


(my apologies, likeness isn’t my thing)

He talked about making music videos in the 90’s, because it was a vital platform for animators, but of current interest is his series of animated films for children, Tom & the slice of bread with strawberry jam & honey (2001 – 2012).  They’re really nuts, gaudy,  sweet and surreal all at once, and luckily for him, overlooked by broadcasters and commissioners, so that he is able to reap the rewards of the show’s success.




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