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
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

 

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, 0 comments
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. 

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, 0 comments
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.  

Posted by Lucy Cooper in News, 0 comments