Saturday, 5 March 2011

BBC Talent Conference

(Nick Park and Peter Salmon)

I mentioned the other day that I was off to the BBC Talent Conference at UCLAN because I and some fellow university friends were up for the Production award for our work on OverCharged - a short animation that tackles wasting energy.

We didn't win the award, a group from another university who had made a live action documentary managed to bag it. Congratulations to them! There were only two animations that made it through to be nominated for anything so it was a huge compliment just to be there amongst lots of industry greats.

So anyways...on to more interesting things. Nick Park was there, the legendary Aardman animator, writer, director and creator of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Creature Comforts etc. He came across as a really great guy, totally down to earth and genuine. He talked about his life before he made it to Aardman - he used to work in a chicken packing factory (which is where Chicken Run came from) and thought of animation as a nice little side hobby. It was amazing to be in the presence of one of my animation heroes. I used to be obsessed with stop motion animation and Aardman and Nick Park was really up there on the inspiration list.

We were given free lunch, yay!

One of the real highlights of the day was a workshop that I attended about getting into the industry and doing well in it. The panel consisted of CEO of Codeworks Herb Kim ,music journalist and ex Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs and Eddie Morgan who is the head of the College of Production, BBC Academy. The best thing about the panel was Mary Anne Hobbs's advice for following your dreams. If you want it, do everything you can for it and take risks. Both Herb and Mary took risks to get where they are today. Herb came over here from America and set up a highly successful business and Mary left home, lived on a bus with a band for a year then sold everything she owned to move to America where she bought a motorbike and a bikini "as you do" in her own words. But neither of them saw their decisions as risks, they thought they were completely necessary despite being told otherwise by everybody else. I think that's an important thing to remember. If you want to do something that will get you closer to where you want to be then do it. Mary was such a strong talker throughout the panel. She'd frequently burst out with passionate and inspirational stories and advice.

So they were the highlights, there were no low points of the day at all. The big boss of BBC North was a great host and Victoria Wood was extremely entertaining and funny. Thanks for having me BBC and for the free shirt and lunch. Much appreciated!  

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