MIDAS, Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency, and The Children’s Media Conference, the UK’s premier organisation for the children’s content industries, once again teamed up to bring the Manimation event, on Thursday 19 November.
The Manimation 2015 event at Manchester’s brand new creative space, HOME was attended by over 70 likeminded professionals from across the animation world.
The day kicked off with a keynote from the BBC’s Director of Children’s, Alice Webb, who made a special announcement about ANIM8 – a brand new animation pilot scheme from CBBC and BBC Worldwide. ANIM8 is an open call to find the next generation of UK-based animators, who will be able to pitch for funded development.
The first showcase of the day came from Pixelbomb Games, an indie games developer based in Manchester who have created a game entirely set in Manchester.
The opening panel followed, moderated by Steve Sharman from Hackthorn Innovation featured a discussion on how technology does, and doesn’t support the work of storytellers.
The second showcase began with up-to-date academic research on the viewing habits of young people, from Professor Jackie Marsh, an expert in children and digital literacy from the University of Sheffield.
Next came a short keynote from Neil Court, Executive Chairman of 9 Story Media Group, which recently acquired Manchester-based, Brown Bag Films. Neil, one of the industry’s most successful entrepreneurs with 28 years’ experience, spoke about the impact that subscription channels such as Netflix have on children’s content.
‘Free Money? Fund and Flow’ was the final panel session to take place before delegates broke for lunch. The panel explored new commissioning and fundraising strategies to develop IP and monetise content.
Refuelled and ready, delegates were treated to a short clip from Jonathan Ashworth from Mighty Giant. The brains behind Motion North, the collective gathering for designers, animators, filmmakers and vfx artists presented the ‘Manimation Showreel’ which highlighted the very best of Manchester animation and motion design.
The final panel of the day explored the area of recruitment in the animation industry, with a special emphasis on schools, pre-Higher Education and apprenticeships.
The penultimate showcase followed shortly, and came from David Barton of Cubic Motion – another Manchester-based company – and delved into the highly technical process of turning an actor’s real-life performance into an animation.
Delegates were then given an insight into the world of the famous ‘Clangers’, and the difficult process of remaking the classic for a modern-day audience. The showcase was led by Mole Hill, Co-Director of the ‘new’ Clangers, as he discussed the steps required to bring back an old classic.
The final keynote of the day came from David Brown, Traveller’s Tales; and Ian Liddell, Studio Liddell, as they led the audience into the LEGO Jurassic World, and explained how two local studios collaborated to animate one of the biggest video games of the year.
After a closing address by host, Greg Childs, a number of delegates took part in a number of one-to-one meetings with key speakers, to discuss all things animation.
Delegates were then invited to a Manimation Masterclass headed by the Executive Producer of ‘Thunderbirds are Go!’, Giles Ridge. The masterclass delved into the ITV remake of ‘Thunderbirds’, and how the iconic classic was updated for a modern audience.
Finally, delegates headed off to a well-deserved drinks reception in the heart of HOME, to round off a very successful Manimation 2015.