Anyone who has walked the floor at MIP with their idea for the “next big animated show” knows the feeling of ideas being passed on time and time again. But equally, anyone who is lucky enough to a series get off the ground will understand the pain of producing their vision on ever-decreasing budgets.

Yet each year I still don my gimp suit, head off down to the la Croisette ready to be kicked back by distributors, or paddled firmly on the bottom by TV commissioners, until I can’t take it anymore, and leave for the bars around the town to drown my sorrows.

The terrifying thing with children’s TV and animation these days is that even if you get one broadcaster on board, you still need a whole bunch of others to get the show off the ground (sometimes every broadcaster on the planet), turning the whole thing in to a brutal orgy of funding and rejection. Before you know it, you are chained to about 7 different countries, stretching and pulling you in all directions. Only to realise that when they’ve pulled you around to breaking point, you are still not funded.

The second wave of pain begins when you start taking a whipping from co-production and private investment talks.

Battered and bruised from this process, you spend one fleeting moment in euphoric ecstasy and the deals are closed. You leave MIP in a daze, and as you’re bumped awake by the plane’s wheels hitting the tarmac, you snap back in to the real world and remember… Now I’ve got to make the bloody thing!

Wage inflation, Brexit, contracts, notes, more notes, final notes… We have changed our mind on the final notes, computer crashes, servers down, VO actor sick, tube strike, health and safety, corporation tax, national insurance, late payments, cost cutting, office alarm at 3am, air-con broken, producer quits, reaching breaking point… at what point in this process did i become a full-blown masochist?!?

Finally, you’ve done it… You drag your body out of the production torture chamber you have hidden in for a year and look with bleary eyes at beautiful world around you, the autumnal leaves falling from the tree and beautiful red sunsets, with the cool air hitting your lungs for the first time in months you realise its September…

Then it’s time for MIP and you have to do it all again! Now, where did I put my gimp suit?


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!

Top photo: © Getty Images / yuoak

About Author

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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