Achieve Online 2020

Achieve Online 2020

‘Achieve Online’ at our workshops this June.

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be running four online workshops this June exclusively for AWUK members, thanks to the support of ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund, with contributions from UK animations productions. The tutors of our oversubscribed Helen North Achieve Programme have adapted two of the programme’s most popular sessions for online delivery via Zoom. These are ‘Confidence and Getting your Voice Heard’ and ‘Impact and Building the Brand You’. Jan Armstrong and Marianne O’Connor have also developed two new workshops, one of which is devoted to ‘Thriving as a Freelance’. The other – ‘Managing Your Virtual Communication’ – focuses on an aspect of our jobs that is particularly relevant right now when so many of us are working from home.

The Helen North Achieve Programme 2019 alumni

The last few months have undoubtedly been challenging. Working on your laptop can often literally mean working on your lap while juggling homeschooling and other caring responsibilities. When the threat posed by the virus recedes and lockdown eventually ends, some remote working may however become the new normal if employers have found it to be productive and staff are keen to continue working this way. 

One of the perceived drawbacks to homeworking is its potential to damage career prospects. It's long been a concern for many women taking maternity leave and/or going part-time that being out of sight means being out of mind for promotion and interesting work projects. That concern also applies to homeworking. 

The workshop on 2 June will help participants develop practical strategies for building virtual relationships. This is key in an industry where relationship building is central to success (79% of women surveyed working in the animation sector said they got their job through networking). 

The session will include guidance on getting the most from a virtual team meeting, motivating yourself and others when working remotely and communicating creatively and assertively online. Members will also gain individual tips and techniques to hone their online skills in a Coaching Clinic. 

Our workshop’s focus will be on helping to ensure that participants’ careers thrive in an increasingly virtual environment where some staff will be working out of the office all or part of the time. This session is relevant even for entirely office-based staff, as many people are likely to be communicating with team members and clients who are physically elsewhere. 

These four highly interactive online workshops will use virtual break-out spaces to allow participants to workshop ideas and receive feedback in small, supportive groups. They’ll also include a ‘surgery’ where members can discuss difficult work challenges. 

Open to AWUK members at all levels of experience, the workshops are just £25, thanks to the support of ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund.  Because they’re stand-alone, members can apply for those that are relevant to them, whether that’s one or all of them! Each lasts one and a half hours, so can be fitted in around work and other commitments.  

We’re excited to be going online for the first time ever and our workshop leaders Jan and Marianne look forward to welcoming registrants this June.

Click here to find out more information and apply for tickets.

Stay safe and keep well. 

By Louise Hussey, Co-Chair, VFX, Animated Women UK 

Read what our alumni say about The Helen North Achieve Programme below.

Chloé Deneuve
Anne Akande

These workshops are supported by ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

About ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen-based creative industries - animation, film, games, television including children’s and high-end, VFX and immersive technology. They work across the whole of the country to build an inclusive workforce with the skills needed for continued success, now and in the future. 

https://www.screenskills.com

 

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Beat the Isolation Blues | Join an Animated Virus

Beat the Isolation Blues | Join an Animated Virus

Join an animated virus to beat the isolation blues. 

Produce 15 seconds (or more if you want – up to 60 seconds) of animation.

Your animation can be any style of – narrative or abstract ideally inspired by or a reaction to the isolation of social distancing or to the virus and how it’s affecting you.

This is a round-robin.  Your starting point is THE FINAL FRAME from the animator before you.

There has been a great response so far with 11 animators submitting work that represents extremely different styles.

The goal is to make a short film that provides the people taking part with the creative freedom to express how they feel about what is going on in the world around us.

It will also provide a lasting reminder of this time.

If you’d like to take part, email roobot.productions@gmail.com for full details and technical specs.

Some examples of the work so far in the image above. 

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Covid 19 – Helpful Resources for Employers, Employees and Freelancers

Covid 19 – Helpful Resources for Employers, Employees and Freelancers

The recent unprecedented Covid 19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown has presented many unique challenges to everyone.

As a board member of AWUK as well as an MD of a VFX company I’ve been wading through the ever-evolving policies and information with everyone else and thought it might be helpful to gather up some resources that have reliable information to try to help navigate the way through.

I’ve broken it out into sections.

Furlough

Until a few weeks ago I had no idea what furlough was.  Also known as The Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, gov.co.uk describes it as:

“If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’. Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough.”

Employees

Check if you could be eligible for furlough here.

Employers

If you run a business, find out how to claim furlough support here.

Moore Kingston Smith has also compiled some really useful guidance for business owners into a Coronavirus Hub. 

Freelancers

If you’re freelance you’re not eligible for furlough, but might be eligible for a grant that offers similar support if you meet certain criteria.

Find out if you meet the criteria here.

The BFI have set up a new COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with the Film & TV Charity and a £1m donation from Netflix.  The new fund will provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers in the UK who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Helpful Resources

UK Screen Alliance

UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK have curated some really helpful information on their website which is being updated regularly.

They are also actively lobbying the government on behalf of our industries. 

Support

film and tv charity

The Film + TV Charity offers a 24/7 support line which is free and confidential. You can contact them on 0800 054 0000 or visit the website to access their live chat service.

HMRC has also set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (Covid-19). The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned to get practical help and advice. You can call them on 0800 0159 559.

I hope some of these resources are helpful.

There’s a lot going on.

juggling

Many people are juggling homeschooling and childcare or other caring responsibilities with home working – often with multiple people working at home.  On top of this, we all have people we’re worried about due to their age, health or occupation. Try to find time for you in amongst all of this.

Make use of the hour a day we’re allowed to exercise outside or lock yourself away for 20 minutes of yoga (try Yoga with Adriene – free and lovely) or book reading or a bath!

Yoga with Adriene

Try to keep in touch with your peers and colleagues.  It’s incredibly helpful to know we’re all in this together.

Lucy

by Lucy Cooper – non-executive director of AWUK and MD of Union

Find out more about our board and volunteers here.

Disclaimer: Please note this blog is a summary signposting resources. AWUK are not experts and cannot offer advice.  

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Support for Students during COVID-19

Support for Students during COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19 many students, who were looking forward to finishing their studies and celebrating graduation this year, are now faced with an uncertain future resulting from university closures. Although academic institutions are now adapting to support their students through distance learning and online feedback, the reality is many individuals have lost access to vital facilities needed to complete their work. This in turn has created a sense of unease regarding how the soon-to-be VFX and Animation graduates will find opportunities in the creative industries.

The positive news is that recruitment is continuing with many companies still on the lookout for new talent. As the industry adapts to new ways of working remotely, so in turn must students. Luckily, a large number of organisations, companies and individuals have stepped up to provide free access to online events, tutorials and free software to help students in need. AWUK Education has compiled a list of these resources, plus other tips, and will continue to seek more ways of supporting this year’s graduates during this challenging time.

Working From Home

Working from home sounds like a brilliant setup, however it can also come with difficulties such as de-motivation and home-life distractions. This article from Times Higher Education outlines a number of useful tips, including co-ordinating group chats using Skype or Zoom and organising a functional work space.

AVFX Podcast

Career Advice

ACCESS:VFX is a non-profit industry led organisation that aims to promote diversity and inclusion within VFX and Animation. Check out the ACCESS:VFX website for information on careers and employment, plus the opportunity to sign up for Pro Online Mentor for feedback on your work. Give the podcast a listen for professional industry advice, such this recent episode on wellbeing and mental health.

Online Tutorials

This is the perfect time to delve into the world of online tutorials. Now more than ever, professional creatives (such as Aaron Blaise) are actively sharing their processes and techniques for the benefit of others. Explore platforms such as SkillShare, Skwigly and YouTube for inspiration and get adding new skills to your CV.

Screen Skills Online Events

ScreenSkills have launched a free package of remote training, workshops and talks led by industry professionals. The events tend to sell out very quickly, we recommend following Screen Skills social media to be the first to find out when the next events are scheduled.

Attend a Virtual Festival

Sadly many animation and VFX festivals have been forced to postpone events this year, however the good news is that many have chosen to stream films online. Keep a look for upcoming events, such as Cardiff Animation Nights and SXSW, and enjoy a virtual festival from the comfort of your sofa. Other fantastic sites to watch films and inspirational talks include The National Film Board of Canada, She Drew That and It’s Nice That.

Discover Free Software

VFX artist, Jonas Almeida, has put together this very handy Google Doc listing over 200 free software available for the creative industry. Magnum entertainment have also created an updating list for every free event technology training class, tutorial and workshop currently available.

AWUK Ed Resources

We have a fantastic list of inspirational books, websites and podcasts to keep you busy. Join our closed facebook community and get networking with other students, graduates and academics.

Seek Support From Your University

Finally, if you are struggling with any aspect of academic work or mental health issues, many universities now have a dedicated support service to help students navigate their learning. If you are concerned about anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your institution for advice. You can also contact the AWUK education team  education@animatedwomenuk.com

By Helen Piercy, AWUK Education Advisor

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Education, News, 0 comments
British Animation Awards 2020

British Animation Awards 2020

London Southbank, 12 March 2020: the British Animation Awards draws the best of the industry from across these isles for its biennial event and this year was no different. We still only had relatively small numbers of COVID-19 in the UK and self-isolation and social-distancing had not yet changed the way everyone lived their lives, so those who spend a lot of time in dark rooms anyway did not seem perturbed – this was their night to shine. Following the advice to refrain from the usual hugs, kisses and handshakes, the creative types got creative with different ways to greet one another – for some this may have been the last human contact they’d have for a good while!

The award ceremony itself was swift, no hanging about under the new leadership of Helen Brunsdon, who put on an incredible show, despite what must have been one of the craziest weeks of her life. Not being able to shake the hands of the winners collecting their awards, made the host Miles Jupp look even more awkward than usual, which just added to the comedy.

The crowd was diverse from a gender perspective, but it is still a privileged white crowd on the whole – we still have a way to go there. Those collecting awards, maybe because they’re quicker to jump up, were predominantly male, and if you look through the nominations, balance is not quite there yet, directors are still a high majority male. This is by no means the fault of the BAAs, but is something we need to address as an industry, when engaging crew, putting shows forward for nomination and as jury members. We do know that more women are studying animation and this was reflected in those represented in the student and emerging talent categories, which showed parity. Most significantly the number of women nominated under the new LAMB category for emerging talent was incredibly encouraging. Stop motion rigger Roxi Linklater won this category. Hers is not only one of those unsung but critical jobs in the animation pipeline, it’s also very much a man’s domain still. We at AWUK would like to congratulate Roxi, what an inspiration to young women in the industry and may there be more like her next time around!

You can take a look at all this year’s winners here.

By Beth Parker, AWUK Animation Chair

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Events, Homepage, 0 comments