AWUK board member Georgina Hurcombe featured in latest issue of 3D World magazine

AWUK board member Georgina Hurcombe featured in latest issue of 3D World magazine

Georgina spoke to our friends at 3D World about starting up her own studio and the challenges she's encountered as a woman in a male-dominated industry

Our board member Georgina Hurcombe recently discussed her experiences as a woman in the animation industry and starting her own business, LoveLove Films, in the latest issue of 3D World magazine, which you can read below! 

Georgina provides some eye-opening insights throughout her career, from the hurdles she faced early on in her work, to renovating an old Gospel Hall for her studio to the opportunities that Animated Women UK and the Helen North Achieve programme have provided her! Finally she finishes off with a round-up of some advice for women in the industry. 

Great work Georgina!

We’ll be featuring in 3D World magazine again soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Animated Women UK Host “Managing People” Workshop

Animated Women UK Host “Managing People” Workshop

Animated Women UK Host “Managing People” Workshop

On the 23rd of October 2019, Animated Women UK held their first standalone workshop taken from the Helen North Achieve Programme. It was delivered by Achieve’s Jan Armstrong and Marianne O’Conner.

The evening covered a range of topics and addressed a range of issues facing women as they step up into management roles in the Animation and VFX Industries, including flexing one’s leadership style.  There was also the opportunity to workshop real-life leadership issues facing the attendees.

The Helen North Achieve programme has recently completed its’ third year, which we celebrated with a panel and networking event highlighting what the course has achieved. Modules on the programme include understanding personality types, achieving a better work/life balance and presentation skills.

The Achieve Programme has proven so popular (always attracting 3x the number of applicants than available places) that Animated Women were really keen to hold individual workshops, lifted straight from the Achieve Programme, to allow and more women to develop their skills and grow their careers in the Animation and VFX industries and this year, thanks to funding from ScreenSkills and a great location provided by Escape Studios, they have been able to do just that.

Providing workshops like these reflects our core aims at Animated Women UK.  Research backs uptake provision of targeted and specific training and mentorship for women. A report, conducted by Skillsoft, found that almost all of the 450 women who participated in an international survey reported that a disproportionate number of leadership roles were currently being held by male employees. Alongside this, Catalyst found that men received more institutional support and highly relevant guidance than their female counterparts. By not receiving the same targeted and specific mentorship as their male colleagues, women are being held back.

Feedback for the workshop has been great – read some thoughts from the women who attended below:

I thought the 'Managing People' course was full of insightful, useful and clear information and advice, expertly delivered by Marianne and Jan. I loved how interactive the class was too, and how much information was shared between the attendees as well as from the course leaders. – Niki K.

Personally, I really appreciated the opportunity to share a leadership challenge I’m currently facing with peers from across the industry. They gave me some great advice, and that and the rest of the content from Jan and Marianne have left me feeling re-energised and newly motivated to do what I can to improve the situation, as well as giving me several new options to try. – Lucy W.

A second workshop from the Helen North programme will be delivered by Marianne and Jan in November 2019, this time based around pitching and presenting.

ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills is 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. We work across the whole of the country to ensure that UK screen has access now, and in the future, to the skills and talent needed for continued success.

Escape Studios

From VFX to Game Art, Animation to Motion Graphics, Escape Studios is recognised as a first-class education provider for the creative industries.

We take students with raw talent and shape them into the creative professionals demanded by today’s employers. With courses developed by industry experts, at Escape Studios you learn from the best.

We offer undergraduate degrees in VFX, Animation and Game Art. Plus a range of postgraduate degrees and short courses such as Motion Graphics, Storyboarding and VR. We don’t just love the creative industries, we live and breathe them; our focus is on ensuring all of our students leave studio-ready.

pearsoncollegelondon.ac.uk/escape

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Excelling with Keyframes for Success Panel

Excelling with Keyframes for Success Panel

BFX were kind enough to host us again for a panel at their Festival in Bournemouth in early October!

For those that don’t know, BFX is the UK’s largest visual effects and animation festival with a range of talks from global studios including ILM, Dneg, Pixar, Sony Picture Imageworks and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Our panellists for the session were Lucy Cooper, MD of Union and director of AWUK and ACCESS: VFX; Lucy Wisada, Assistant TD at Framestore; JoAnne Salmon, 2D Animator and Illustrator at LoveLove Films; Shannon Reeve, Production Co-ordinator at LoveLove Films and Natalie McKay, Talent Co-ordinator at Aardman Animations.

With such a variety of roles on the panel, there were plenty of thought-provoking insights. From challenges to career advice to taking advantage of opportunities and imposter syndrome, the ladies explored it all.

In terms of advice for newbies to the industry, Lucy Cooper noted that there “is value in being a runner and doing it well”, as you end up knowing everyone in the studio and if you are professional and good at the job, you will be remembered by all levels of staff.

Another important tidbit for those wanting to progress was to understand your value and prepare evidence for the next position before jumping into a meeting with your line manager!

Most importantly though, if something doesn’t go according to plan in your job applications, or in your career progression – it’s imperative to give yourself some breathing space and to cut yourself some slack.

We asked some of the panellists what they took away from the panel, and they were kind enough to give us some more fascinating morsels of advice!

Lucy Wisada said: “My advice for anyone wanting to enter or who are new to the industry is to stay inquisitive. Learning doesn't stop after university and if you can show that you are adaptive and motivated to pick up new skills then I think that's invaluable. The industry is so exciting, with new technology being developed constantly, that you'll naturally have
curiosity with what currently exists to push the limits of your creativity.”

Shannon added: “My advice for women just entering the industry would be not to feel disheartened, even if you aren't sure quite what you want to go into yet. When you're first starting out, it's the perfect time to try out a range of different things and find out what clicks for you - I did a master's degree because my first degree didn't quite click for me and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

JoAnne also commented: “I appreciated the variety of career paths among the speakers - this serves as a good example and reminder that there is no set path for anybody. You should just find joy in each job opportunity you can get and make the best of any task you are given. You never know where your hidden or unexpected passion might be. It might not be where you first set out to go.”
Lucy Cooper said: “I really enjoyed sharing my story with the audience at BFX. They were really engaged and full of questions on how to navigate the waters towards their dream jobs.

“I think the most valuable advice I was able to offer was to not be too laser focussed on one end point.

“It can feel like the decisions they are making now will be irreversible, but just about everyone I know has had a very windy road to where they are now.

“Being too narrow in your ambitions can make you feel like you’ve failed if you don’t achieve them and also close the door on opportunities that you never knew existed and may turn out to be really up your street.”

Lucy also added some resources that are available:

“Animated Women UK have AWUK-Ed where you can find all sorts of valuable resources as well as a link to join our Facebook group where you can receive advice from established women in the VFX and Animation industries.

“There are also lots of resources at www.accessvfx.org on available apprenticeships, how to find your first role, cv writing and showreel preparation.  They also have a podcast with lots of valuable insight from employees and employers that is well worth a listen.

“You can also get an industry mentor which is an invaluable way to seek support and advice from someone who really knows via Slack.

Thanks again for having us BFX! See you next year!

Written by Carrie Mok

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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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