As a team we sat down and sent an email to Andrew Reid of Northern Ireland Screen to enquire about the details and logistics of setting up a Belfast based animation studio.
We realized that what we have going right now in terms of team dynamic is quite a rare thing, finding a group of people who work this hard together and who can give criticism when needed without offending each other.
We are considering this option because of the lack of animation studios over here in Belfast that produce work not in the children’s genre.
Before heading to meet with Andrew we did our homework, we sat down as a team with Greg to find out what we should expect and the questions we should ask. Greg mentioned that the only main problem he could see would be the fact we don’t have any one person to head up the financial side of things. We realize that Northern Ireland Screen don’t fund start ups and we know that if we did set anything thing up studio wise that our personal projects would have to be done in the background, we would have to do everything and anything to be able to keep ourselves afloat – commercials, advertising, graphic design, 2D animation…anything.
When we met with Andrew he was surprised at how level headed we were about setting up a business, that we realized it would be a lengthy process before we would be able to start producing work that was entirely our own. We mentioned the scheme that Dog Ears had used where by you would find a company to oversee you whilst you created your own content – The Creative Animation Scheme, to enter we would be required to write a script of the short we would plan to create within that year, the winning script would then be awarded a sum of money to produce the script in film form.
This meeting with Andrew was very beneficial to us because it made us aware of the other routes we could take in starting our own business such as through finding funding (eg. Using the creative animation scheme to have a piece of work to advertise as produced completely by our team.) This meeting also provided us with contacts of people who have gone out and taken on the challenge of setting up their own business and actually succeeded and now have a functioning income. Andrew advised us that contacting these people and finding out how they went about getting odd jobs to keep themselves going whilst managing their own work in the background. He also mentioned that it might be worthwhile looking into setting up our own IP just like the guys at Dog Ears did.
However our next step after finishing the major project will be to follow up on the contacts that Andrew has given to us and to also prepare a script for a short that we can then enter into the Creative Animation Scheme.