5 Things We’ve Accomplished Since Attending The Helen North Achieve Programme

5 Things We’ve Accomplished Since Attending The Helen North Achieve Programme

The Helen North Achieve Programme is back for its fourth year. Applications are now open, so we sat down with five alumni to find out what they’ve accomplished since attending the course.

1) “As a mother returning to work the course helped me look at my options in a really positive way. I stopped worrying about rushing to be exactly the same artist I was before I had my son and made me realise I can take any route I chose and whatever time I need to achieve the goals I have set for myself.”
Anita Corcoran, Animator

2) “I’ve progressed in my job and feel more confidence when navigating the VFX industry.
“I’ve also gained an amazing support network of women in VFX and Animation and learned to stop falling victim to ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
“The wonder women stance has also been a handy tool for a quick confidence boost anytime and anywhere!”
Emma Ihecherenoma, VFX Production Coordinator at Industrial Light & Magic

3) “The course was a great way to meet new people and reflect on my work in animation to date. I got time-out to think, a chance to set some new goals and a big boost to my personal confidence and presentation skills.
“Since the course, I’ve made a lot of changes in the way I run my animation studio, which are really beginning to bear fruit. We’ve pulled in lots of new service studio work, our finances are much improved and our educational animation continues to gather momentum, awards and recognition.
“I have also found a new role for myself as a mentor, helping out other women in my field on the Creative England Industry Equals Women in Screen Programme and been making more time for ME! I am managing my time much better and can fit so much more into my week!”
Kath Shackleton, Producer at Fettle Animation

4) “Participating in the Helen North Achieve Programme allowed me to reflect and focus on those aspects of my career that I wanted to nurture, change and build upon. It gave me the confidence to seek out new challenges, become a mentor and drive harder than ever for the projects and people that I believe in. Importantly, it made me reconsider what success actually means to me… I’ve learnt that small, forgettable everyday achievements are just as important markers of success as the memorable, career game-changers.”
Natalie Llewelyn, Head of Development ar Jellyfish Pictures

5) “Since completing the programme, I have registered as a STEM Ambassador and gave a talk to A-level students last month. I found that quite intimidating but the presentation skills sessions gave me the confidence that I would come across as more knowledgable and assured than I felt. The talk seemed to go well and I had some very positive feedback from the students.”
Lucy Wilkes, Lead Software Developer at Dneg

Find out more about the Helen North Achieve Programme and apply here.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Achieve Programme, Homepage, Profiles, 0 comments
AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

Our members spoke about some of the difficulties in trying to find more time and energy for yourself in the latest issue of the magazine.

AWUK Work:Life balance

Clockwise from top left: Abi Cadogan, DNEG, AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Isobel Stenhouse, Sophie Jackson, Netflix.

You may have seen that Animated Women UK board member Georgina Hurcombe recently spoke about her journey founding her own company, LoveLove Films in 3D World magazine – we’re happy to share that we’ve been featured again, this time with a round-table type interview featuring several of our members!

Abi Cadogan (Senior VFX Editor, Dneg), AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Sophie Jackson (VFX Co-ordinator, Netflix), Isobel Stenhouse (freelance Production Manager/Line Producer) all spoke to Jolien Buijis, (Production Co-ordinator, Union) about the challenges they’ve faced in trying to achieve the perfect work/life balance as well as provide some top tips and insights on what’s helped them take back their precious time.

Thanks again to our friends at 3D World for publishing the interview and for kindly providing us with a PDF for our members to read!
AWUK Work:Life balance - 3D World

You can read issue 255 now in all good newsagents!

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, News, 0 comments
Member Profile | Daisy Summerfield | Animator

Member Profile | Daisy Summerfield | Animator

Can you give an overview of your career to date; including what inspired you to go into the field you’re in now?

Obsessed with Wallace and Gromit and all things Disney and Pixar, it was my dream from an early age to bring characters to life. Coming from a predominantly art background, I initially wanted to be a character designer. However, animation enabled me to get more into the “acting” side of things, which was another passion of mine at the time. So living off the saying of that animation is for introvert actors, I studied Animation Production at AUB and went on to start my career in VFX at Framestore Bournemouth as a Matchmove Artist. As a recent graduate, it was a great way to introduce myself to the industry. Working on such big Marvel and Disney projects was a ‘pinch-myself’ moment. After a few years at Framestore, I joined Outpost VFX to fulfil my passion of becoming an Animator, of which I have been for the past two years. 

What achievement are you most proud of?

I would probably say being the Lead Animator for a creature-heavy sequence recently for a high-end TV show. This was an enormous challenge, putting together all my skills to produce high-end creature animation whilst leading a team. I have learnt such an extraordinary amount from the past year and it really gave me some confidence in my own ability as an Animator and as a leader. I’m so proud of the team and the result. I can’t wait to see the sequence when it is released!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee and the thought of breakfast obviously. When I get to work, I’m always excited to push myself that day. Each day with creature animation there is always a new challenge, so it is a mental workout, but you have to journey out of your comfort zone to progress. I enjoy problem solving, so every day, I always feel like I’m getting ready to battle with my shot and hopefully win! 

What is the biggest barrier for women in your discipline?

Not having strong female role models in senior roles. Animation is considered a less technical discipline and is probably one of the more balanced departments in the industry, but it would be fantastic for more emerging female talent to have senior female artists to aspire to and seek advice from.

What advice would you give to people earlier on in their career?

Critiquing your work against other professional work is really important. Do not get discouraged by not being at that standard yet. Instead be realistic about where you are and what you need to do to get to that next level. At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself, strive to be better on the next project. Having a great attitude is just as important as your actual artistic ability. Working in animation for VFX we strive for ultra-realism, so reference is always key! I spend a lot of time searching the internet for whatever reference I need, taking that time out before you get started can save you so much time later on!

What would be your dream project to work on?

I really enjoy working in VFX, but I would absolutely love to work on a Pixar or Disney project or short film, anything related to either of them! They set the standard in stylised animation and I would love to be a part of a project that is driven by art and storytelling at such a base level. Animation and character is at the very soul of every project, so the concept of working on the next Up or Inside Out is a complete dream of mine!

Watchmen

Watchmen

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, Profiles, 1 comment
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 here

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!

Posted by Peri Friend in News, 1 comment
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

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, 0 comments