May 8th 2012
children’s media - IP, co-pros and public policy support.
co-founder, Amanda Whittle, spoke at the Westminster Media Forum Keynote
Seminar. Below is her speech on the current state of children's media
in the UK, using "Red, Yellow & Blue", our co-development
with Ed-Online in Malaysia, as an example.
morning. This is the story of us, IP and the Rainbow, or, as film
producers call it, the Tax Credit.
If you create and produce animated children’s TV in the UK, you’re
a complete victim – at the mercy of countries with government
support and financial incentives like France, Germany, Canada, Malaysia,
Singapore – I won’t bore you with the rest of the list...
The real villains of the story are the lack of incentives and outsourcing.
The animation industry desperately needs a saviour. The promised
Rainbow will be our saviour, a tax incentive which will allow us to
compete and co-produce with countries that have generous incentives.
It might also save the life of I.P.
We negotiated a co-development deal with a Malaysian company for an
animated pre-school TV series and a series of English Language books
in rhyme. The co-development was officially announced at Mipcom.
Representatives of the Malaysian government were present. But we were
told that UKTI support was no longer available, so we couldn’t
go. Don’t they all look happy! All except the UKTI guy on the
end. You’d think he would have been - at least he got to go! UKTI
are actually not very interested – probably because they didn’t
broker the deal.
Anyway, the pot was empty. All the support had been sucked out of the
Rainbow. And we wondered if it would ever come back.
So, for the next two years, we wrote the books, produced audio books
in our studio, collaborated on character designs, and wrote the TV series.
The project has grown to include audio books and interactive games.
The books were published in Malaysia on April 1st this year (We hope
that date isn’t significant). This is our partner, Chiang Loong,
proudly displaying the books we wrote.
Meanwhile, our Malaysian partners are working on a deal to supply 150,000
net-books to Malaysian schools. This means there might be a generation
of Malaysian children who speak English with a Yorkshire accent.
This should all be very good news for us. But because we could only
contribute our time and creativity, and not bring any financial incentives
to the table, we had to leave IP behind. He does however have
a future helping the economy – the Malaysian economy.
The skills of the UK animation industry should be used for this project,
but our Malaysian partners need co-producers who can match the financial
incentives they bring from their government. The Budget promise that
this is all set to change is good news, but we can’t take it to
the bank until we know when it will start and how it will work.
Let’s hope that Mister Osborne doesn’t change his mind.
Of course, there’s no evidence of U-turns by our present government.
But, just in case he even thinks about it, we say, in the words of Joyce
Grenfell... “George, don’t do that!”
Then we and IP can be reunited and become happy bunnies, Doctor Dull
and the Gloomerator will be defeated and the UK Animation Industry will
live happily ever after.
see the full presentation, click here