Month: June 2020

Achieve Online | Connecting Members

Achieve Online | Connecting Members

Thanks to support from ScreenSkills, Marianne and I were able to conduct our first ever Achieve Online workshops over the last few weeks.

The format translated really well, making use of Zoom’s ‘room’ functionality for the breakout sessions allowing us to bring Achieve Programme content to our members through the UK from the comfort of their own homes.

We asked some of our participants to provide some feedback.

“At the moment, perhaps more than ever, we are craving connection and I was so impressed by the support and empathy shared in a brief one and a half hour workshop. When we’re all working from home in bedrooms, and at kitchen tables with children popping by, it creates a more personal experience which only enhanced the ability to share and learn.’

These are practical workshops and it was great to see how quickly the delegates were able to fully participate in this virtual way.

The small breakout rooms helped ensure that everyone had a voice, and that was certainly reflected in the feedback from delegates:

Achieve Online Workshop
Everyone had a chance to speak and feel included, you can’t shy away at the back of the room!’
‘I think it helped people to be a little more confident than they might have been in a room’ 
‘I had an incredible time and came away feeling super inspired!’
‘It was fantastic to be able to offer these workshops to AWUK members outside of London. From Belfast to Cornwall, Glasgow to Norfolk, there was a great geographical spread which added to the experience for everyone.’
In addition to adapting some of the content from the Helen North Achieve Programme for online delivery, it was exciting to be able to offer some brand new workshops on Managing your Virtual Communication and Thriving as a Freelance.
I have always been a fan of face to face communication, but I can see the benefits of being able to offer the Achieve Programme to more people, wherever you live. We are learning as we go and will build on the experience as we all adapt to this new way of working.
‘A huge thank you to everyone who helped make Achieve On-line a real success.’

We plan to run more of these sessions later in 2020, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in joining.

You can find out more about Achieve Programme and our tutors here.

Jan Armstrong

Jan Armstrong is a Leadership development expert, Executive Coach and Trainer who designs and delivers the Helen North Achieve Programme for Animated Women UK.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Achieve Programme, Education, Events, Homepage, News, 0 comments
Producing Patience |  Sarah Kileen

Producing Patience | Sarah Kileen

As we enter week 10 of the ‘new normal’ I decided to sit at my (eldest child’s Ikea) desk, knees brushing my chin, and write about my experience over the last few weeks.  Home hot desking options that include the kitchen, the bedroom, and the back of the car, have certainly not been my most remarkable locations to work as a producer, but the challenges of working from home full time have been as significant as my new found love of gin at 5pm.  That part is misleading, it’s not new.

I am Managing Director of Fred & Eric, an animation and design agency that I run with my partners Jamie and Maggie.  We have a studio on Charlotte Street but are now scattered to East, West and South London.  It was important to all of us that our agency could always operate remotely, so setting up a working from home environment was an easy transition.  The challenges have come from two exceptionally difficult clients, aged 2 ½ and 6…. 

These clients are diva level demanding.  They insist on regular catch-ups by holding onto my chin in a vice-like grip to make sure I understand their brief.  They like full control over a project, and will communicate their feelings with ardent force if anything doesn’t ‘work’.  Woe betide the times I attempt to distance (*hide) in another room; with senses more acute than Lassie they sniff me out.  And I learnt early on, don’t EVER forget the biscuits to any meeting they’re attending.

The clients I live with also need regular exercise, despite getting my hands on one of the last trampolines available in lockdown, zipping them in and hoping for the best only buys me so much time.  As a result, I have become adept at taking work calls whilst throwing a Frisbee, kicking a ball, and acting as a human vending machine for snacks.  I mouth silent instructions and use hand signals to covey with an increasing amount of urgency that it would be preferable not to be used as a human climbing machine.

Most of our clients favour email correspondence, although ‘jumping on’ a recent zoom call with a prospective new client whilst wearing highly inappropriate 90s girl band bunches was not my finest hour.  My business partners assured me I managed to keep an air of professionalism despite the unspoken Baby Spice homage (anything goes in in the Corona Call Era). And before you suggest there’s always time for a last-minute-pre-zoom-restyle, just accept that the eldest of my live-in clients turned personal stylist was vocally against modifications.  And they say the client always knows best…. 

At times I’ve attempted to involve the ‘clients’ in creative decisions, sharing examples of illustrations and animations.  But within moments, I was candidly told I should ‘get a cooler job’.  ‘Like what?’ I foolishly asked, ‘errrrr Rocky, or……Sonic.’  So it seems that unless I become a boxing hero, or a hedgehog on steroids, I’m irrelevant.  I may yet recruit the smaller one into new business however, as his propensity to grab my phone and start cold calling has resulted in numerous chats with strangers, and just a couple with the police…..

There is a palpable lack of office etiquette, working hours are irregular, dress codes flounced daily with a fluid relationship with the necessity of clothes, and no one has made me a cup of tea.  The soundtrack to my working life consists of loud renditions of ‘Dance Monkey’, accompanied by ear-splitting instrumentals care of a plastic keyboard stuck on ‘party mode’.  However we’re muddling through, and I’m proud we’ve created an agency that is thriving in these exceptional circumstances. 

Sarah Kileen is a member of AWUK and Managing Director of Fred & Eric

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, Profiles, 0 comments