Month: September 2019

AWUK Scotland Papercraft Event – Interview with Lucy Teire

AWUK Scotland Papercraft Event – Interview with Lucy Teire

Earlier this summer, nestled in Club House Animation, the cozy Glasgow studio of award-winning animation filmmaker and paper artist extraordinaire Eleanor Stewart, AWUK members and animation enthusiasts alike gathered to create charming paper treats and talk about the creation of hand-made paper art, the animation industry, and all things desserts.

I spoke with Lucy Teire, Head of Production at Interference Pattern, who organised Papercraft, and asked her the hard questions; gaining insight into the event, Eleanor Stewart’s paper-crafting techniques, AWUK Scotland, and of course, discovered what Lucy’s favourite sweet was (fair warning: it might cause some controversy).

Interview has been edited for clarity.

What inspired you to host an event like Papercraft?

At AWUK Scotland we’re keen to put on a wide variety of events; some geared towards networking, some educational, some social. This one was all about spending an evening doing something creative with like-minded people and also learning a bit more about Eleanor’s work and her approach to her craft.

How are you hoping events like these will help grow AWUK's presence in Scotland?

The aim of AWUK is really to facilitate and support women reaching their potential in the industry. Scotland’s animation industry is going from strength to strength at the moment so it feels like the right time to have set up a Scottish chapter of AWUK. We’ve had great turnouts for our events so far and it’s already proving to be a really valuable networking opportunity for animated women north of the border.

Can you tell us more about Eleanor Stewart and why she was chosen as the special guest for Papercraft?

Eleanor is an absolutely fantastic paper artist and animator; she was generous enough to share her experiences and skills for an evening. She hosted us in her beautiful Glasgow studio space at Clubhouse Animations, which is full of her paper creations, and talked us through the techniques she uses, her journey in illustration and animation, and setting up her own studio.

How was Eleanor able to contribute to the event and to AWUK's overarching goals?

Eleanor was an inspirational workshop leader. It was great to hear more about the different techniques she uses and see the work she does close-up. Some of the attendees had a specific interest in working in paper art and stop motion. Eleanor was a real inspiration to them and generously agreed to give advice on their own projects in the future.

How did the event go? Did you get a good turnout? Did women make some fantastically delicious treats?

We had a great turnout. The numbers were limited as it was a workshop, so it sold out really quickly, which was great, but a shame for people who missed out on tickets. We might have to twist Eleanor’s arm to do another one in the future. I was in awe with what people created in just a couple of hours. My own effort was unfortunately a bit lopsided and gluey, but I did get a “wow, it really looks like an ice-cream” from my family when I got home.

What was your favourite thing about the event?

I had three favourite things:

1) Firstly, people made loads of connections. It wasn’t explicitly a networking event at all, but a lot of chats were about how people might work together or help one another in future and loads of business cards were swapped at the end of the evening.

2) Being in Eleanor’s studio was lovely. Her work is really beautiful, and it was quite magical to step off a busy Glasgow street into this little oasis with paper hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling, and paper tunnocks and teacakes resting on shelves.

3) The fact everyone got the giggles every time the word flaps was mentioned.

What was the main thing you hoped individuals who attended achieved during the event?

Primarily I hope everyone had a really enjoyable evening doing something creative with like-minded people. We run all sorts of different events as part of AWUK Scotland. Some are geared towards networking, some are about career development, but this one was really an opportunity to do something fun and creative together and I hope people enjoyed that.

Will there be any similar upcoming events members in Scotland can attend? Any special, sneak peeks, that you can tell us regarding AWUK Scotland?

We’ve got loads going on! There’s an AWUK panel at the World of Film International Festival on 5th October. We’re also putting on another workshop on 7th October but this time for 3D character creation that’s at Axis Studios in Glasgow; it’s being led by three of their brilliantly talented character artists. We even have an event in the offing aimed at final year students to give them advice on entering the industry and then, of course, there’s the Christmas party!

How do you see AWUK growing in the future?

One of the greatest strengths of AWUK is the way it brings greater visibility to women working in a whole range of roles in the industry. I can see AWUK having more and more visibility, both through its own activities and through its presence at other industry events. And I can see this inspiring more and more women in their careers as they see other women already excelling in creative, technical and leadership roles. Just by being out there and visible we help normalise the idea we have an equal place in every part of this industry.

And of course, the most important question, what's your favourite dessert? 

Crème brûlée is my all time favourite dessert… and I don’t like ice cream!

If you’d like to find out more about Eleanor Stewart and her work at Club House Animation, check out her official studio website Club House Animations

In addition, if you’re interested in attending any of the upcoming AWUK Scotland events, several workshops and panels already have tickets available:

AWUK Panel Discussion - 5th October

Character Creation Workshop - 7th October

 

Words by Nia Alavezos

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, News, Scotland, 0 comments
Member Profile | Natalie LLewellyn | Head of Development

Member Profile | Natalie LLewellyn | Head of Development

Can you give an overview of your career to date; including what inspired you to go into the field you’re in now?
Well… I got my first TV job straight out of university as PA to the Producer on one of ITV’s most enduring and successful dramas, Midsomer Murders. I was passionate about storytelling and I worked my way up from Production Assistant to Series Script Editor and eventually Associate Producer. Not only did I learn how to bump people off in a multitude of imaginative ways (‘death by drinks cabinet’ is a particular favourite), but I was privileged to work closely with some of Britain’s finest screen writers such as Anthony Horowitz, Alan Plater, Michael Aitkens and Hugh Whitemore.

During my ten-year stint in TV Drama, I was also Producer of ITV’s SAS drama series, Ultimate Force and headed up the TV development division of talent agency ARG Talent. Here I developed and packaged event dramas such as The Crooked Man with Ross Kemp and BAFTA award winning, Ahead of the Class with Julie Walters.

I made the switch to children’s animation after my son Rufus was born. With two kids under two I needed to be closer to home and working less unsociable hours (well that was the plan anyway!). I took a massive pay cut and started over again as PA at a local indie where I progressed to Assistant Producer on preschool series, Everything’s Rosie for CBeebies. I fell in love with children’s television – I could tell magical stories and create wonderful worlds and characters that were near impossible to achieve in live action. Plus, I had my very own focus group at home, providing constant inspiration and feeding me endless content!

After three series of ‘Rosie’ I moved on to Platinum Films where I focused more on the commercial side of the business, specifically international programming distribution and character licensing. I distributed boys’ action-adventure series, Matt Hatter Chronicles (CITV/Nickelodeon) into over 80 territories worldwide and helped manage the international consumer products roll-out.
In 2018, I joined award winning VFX and Animation Studio, Jellyfish Pictures as Head of Development to oversee its newly established original kids’ content division, Jellyfish Originals.

What is it like to work in your role? And what are you working on?
Jellyfish Pictures is a phenomenal studio with amazingly talented people from all over the world and a brilliant ethos and creative culture. No two days are the same in my role - I could be head down in a script or building a brand deck one day or negotiating a major broadcast contract or pitching a show another day. It’s this variety that keeps me stimulated, focused and passionate about what I do, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more contented professionally.

We are developing our own original animated children’s content, curating long-form animated series, serials and family features and working with some great writing talent. I’m blessed to have a first-class art department at my fingertips and together with our brilliant Creative Director, Tom Brass we experiment with different design styles and animation techniques to deliver stand-out visual content that will hopefully win us that all important commission.

We’ve got quite a few projects on our slate in various stages of development, which are all very different in tone, demo and look. Stan & Gran – an upper preschool show co-produced with Jollywise Media - is probably the furthest progressed but we’ve got a number of exciting 2D and 3D properties coming down the pipeline, some of which I will be presenting to market at MIPCOM next month. I can’t say much more, otherwise I’d have to kill you (and I’ve got form remember!).

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Generally, either my cats or my kids! But in truth, I’ve always been highly motivated and fiercely ambitious, and I work best in the morning, preferably with a strong cup of coffee in the couple of hours before everyone else officially comes online. I’m so lucky to have a job I love and to work with people that genuinely inspire me every day. I make cartoons for kids, what’s not to love?!

What was your biggest challenge personally?
Mmmm… that’s a tough one because over the course of a twenty year career there have been many challenges – at the time they’ve always been significant, but it’s only in retrospect that I can put them into perspective and appreciate that in overcoming them, I’ve carved out the path that has got me to where I am today.
I think change can be one of the biggest and most daunting challenges anyone faces professionally and personally. Fear of the unknown or making the wrong decision can be paralysing. However, in my experience change, no matter how difficult, has always been progressive and rewarding and I’d encourage anyone to embrace it rather than fear it.

You partook in the Animated Women Helen North Achieve Programme earlier this year - can you please tell me a bit more about that and, why you applied?
The Helen North Achieve Programme is a super opportunity to meet and support other women from the VFX and Animation Industry. It was great to hang out with 23 other women in the business and to learn from their experiences whilst also sharing some of my own knowledge and expertise.
I wanted to take part in order to ‘give back’ but actually I walked away having gained a huge amount. The course offers valuable, constructive and engaging career advice for women at every stage of their professional journey and it was a welcome chance to hone old skills, learn new ones, reflect on my own career and consider the future.

How do you feel the Achieve Programme has helped you since you finished it and what would you say is the most important thing that you learned?
I certainly benefited from the experience and I’d recommend it to women in the VFX and Animation industry at any stage in their career. I’ve made some good friends, been inspired to keep pushing hard for what I want to achieve in life (both personally and professionally), learnt to listen more and probably most importantly, accepted that it’s okay to say no sometimes. We are wonderful women, but we don’t always have to be Wonder Woman.

What advice would you give to women who are just starting their careers in the industry?
Be passionate. Ask lots of questions. Seek out a mentor (or two!). Be brave. Make mistakes. Smile. Don’t settle. Take care of yourself. Make notes. Follow your gut. Set goals. Believe in yourself.

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Animated Women UK Education – Career Resources for Animation and VFX

Animated Women UK Education – Career Resources for Animation and VFX

Are you interested in a career in Animation or Visual Effects, but not sure where to begin? 

The Animated Women Education team have rounded up the top online resources to help you discover the best places to study, information on different job roles and apprenticeship opportunities.

ACCESS:VFX

A global, industry-led, non-profit organisation championing  inclusion, diversity, awareness and opportunity with the creative industries.

Check out the fantastic ACCESS:VFX Blog, covering careers advice, day in the life and events.

The ACCESS:VFX Podcast is a fantastic source of inspiration, covering a variety of topics with artists, producers and early career starters.

Screen Skills

The industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based creative industries - animation, film, games, television including children's TV and high-end drama, VFX and immersive technology.

Find out more about SkillSkills Education and Opportunities through the trainee finder resource.

Explore the visual career guide, covering Animation and VFX job roles.

VFX Career Map

A handy visual guide that breaks down the many specialist and generalist roles in VFX.

The Core Skills of VFX Student Primer

25 Gems of VFX Advice from Industry Professionals

The Core Skills of VFX Repository

12 topics for educators starting new VFX courses, plus ideas and snippets from many industry sources and voices.

Lecture in Progress

Advice, insight and inspiration for the next generation of creatives. Featuring job descriptions alongside insightful and inspiring practitioner interviews.

NextGen Skills Academy

Animation and VFX specific courses that bring industry and education together, developed in partnership with some of the biggest companies in the industry. The Level 3 qualification in Animation and VFX Skills is aimed at students that want to study these subjects at university, or apply for an apprenticeship. Aged 16+ 

NextGen VFX Apprenticeships

Earn as you learn in the workplace. Take time out to study in the classroom. NextGen Apprenticeships offer invaluable experiences and knowledge to kick-start your career.

Posted by Peri Friend in Education, Graduate Stories, 0 comments
Inspiring insights at the latest Animated Women UK networking event

Inspiring insights at the latest Animated Women UK networking event

Last week’s networking drinks and event on Wednesday 5th September was a bit different from the usual, as we put the spotlight on our unique Helen North Achieve programme and we were thrilled to see The Comedy Pub jampacked with members and attendees!

Named in honour of Helen North, who was Career Development Director at Animated Women UK and the driving force behind the programme, Achieve is an intensive introduction to career management for women across VFX and animation.

Now in its third year, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to find out what exactly we’ve achieved in that time.

Starting with a panel, VFX Chair Louise Hussey discussed the merits of the Programme with four of our 72 alumni. The panel, which included Evelyn Minango, Editorial Co-ordinator at Union; Isobel Stenhouse, Freelance and Production Manager at The Line Animation Studio; Micaela Winter, Production Manager at Blue Zoo; and Anne Akande, VFX Producer at DnegTV, also discussed the impact Achieve has had on their careers and personal lives

First off, Louise asked why the panel chose to apply and what they hoped to get out of it. There were a range of answers, ranging from confidence building to group therapy and networking with other women outside of their own companies.

The panel also discussed how they improved their time management, confidence, controlling their emotions as well as mastering more physical techniques like power posing.

It was incredibly inspiring to have so many of our members and guests attend the ‘Three Years On: What have we achieved?’ networking event this week,” says Louise Hussey, VFX Chair of Animated Women UK. “The panel of Evelyn, Isobel, Michaela and Anne spoke very honestly about their experiences in the industry, the challenges they have faced and some of the tools that the programme gave them develop their career paths.”

“We are very proud of our flagship programme, originally designed by Helen North, to encourage women in all roles, and at all stages of the careers, to really focus on what they want to ‘Achieve’.

“Many of our participants have told us how much they value the opportunity to step back from the day to day and have some space to think. One of this year’s alumni fed back to say that the programme was ‘Life changing. I finally feel like I am back in the driving seat’. So watch this space for more updates and announcements on the Achieve programme’s next offerings!”

Stay tuned for more info on special evening workshops based on the programme’s modules coming soon, later this year and in early 2020.

Written by Carrie Mok.

Posted by Peri Friend in Campaigns, Events, 0 comments