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As a fresh-faced creator with a vision and a dream, it’s always going to be difficult to manage the relationship with other people who are trying to influence your potentially award-winning show. Especially with what you consider anything but creative excellence.  

Those grievances come under the following headings:

1. Health and Safety police

For our show Olive the Ostrich, we were asked if we could change our title sequence, featuring an ostrich who buried her head so deep in the sand that she popped up somewhere new. We were informed that the broadcaster would not take the show unless we altered it because,“If one child buried it’s own head in the sand and suffocated, we could be in real trouble”. This is the tip of a very large “nanny state” iceberg that can sink the very best ideas.

 

2. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians

When working with multiple partners — as we all do now — getting an array of baffling and conflicting opinions as each partner tries to mark their territory by stamping all over your creative genius.

 

3. The Shoe Horn

Through no fault of your own, the partners have changed businesses direction, and you spend the first four months of production back pedaling to meet their new remit. The “shoe horn” tends to come with some sort of passing of the buck:

“We did some research and we need the main male character to be changed in to a girl and she’s not a girl she’s a cat.”

“You know we’ve signed this up as a preschool project, well a slot has opened up for 13 year old girls, can we age it up.”

 

4. The Un-creative Creative

This tends to be private funders, who have worked in the city, and now want to take a punt on the next big piece of IP (this is the next Peppa Pig, isn’t it?)

Their opinions are usually derived from that of their beloved child.

“Quentin says he only watches things with guns….. will the rabbit have a gun?”

“Tiffany says the show would be better if the rabbits were all transforming monkey robots.”

 

SO, HOW DO I AVOID THIS INTERFERENCE?

You embrace it. You work with it, not against it. Conceiving, developing, funding and producing a show now takes longer than most marriages last. So like a marriage, you have to work at it. Build relationships. Take time to understand your partners and make sure they are imbibed with your clear vision.

Learn what’s important to you and protect that. Give way on things that don’t matter as much. There is just the smallest of chances – and I know this sounds crazy – that a broadcaster, a distributor, a funder or a co-pro partner MIGHT know what they’re talking about!

And if they don’t?

GET OVER IT, you chose to work with them anyway, maybe it’s your own fault!


Oli Hyatt is one of our pre-MIPCOM MIPBlog Ambassadors, who are coordinated by consultant Debbie Macdonald. Check out all of their posts to date here!

Photo © Ferrantraite, Getty Images


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About Author

Oli Hyatt

Oli Hyatt has, for the past 9 years, been a campaigner for the creative industries in the UK, and was credited by George Osborne as the person who convinced him to bring in the new creative industry tax credits. This year he picked up an MBE and was named one of the 1000 most influential people in London. He is Chair of Animation UK and owner of Blue-Zoo productions. Oli sits on the BAFTA Children's Committee, the British Animation Awards committee, the BFI International Strategy group, The Creative Industries Sector Advisor Group, the Skillset Animation Committee and is a founding patron of the Children's Media Foundation. Blue-Zoo credits include, Tree Fu Tom, Miffy, Olive the Ostrich, Alphablocks and DIgby Dragon to name but a few.

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