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Posted 02.03.15

BAFTA-winning King Rollo Films inspire staff and students in talk

By Sarah Packer

As part of our I’m A Creative Week, BAFTA-winning King Rollo Films visited to give a talk to students and staff as well as showreel reviews for the animation students.

Animation Director, Neil Fitzgibbon and Project Manager, Sian Pavel at King Rollo Films spoke to students from our Illustration, Graphic Design and Animation programmes.

Sian Pavel (right), Project Manager at King Rollo Films talks with the students about their work

They discussed topics ranging from collaboration with artists, the company’s ethos and the importance of an accessible portfolio.

“This talk gives students exposure to a very successful local animation studio, it shows them that you can make it anywhere, you don’t have to be in London,” says Tony Smith, BA (Hons) Animation programme leader.

Animation Director Neil Fitzgibbon in discussion with student

Neil Fitzgibbon spoke about their use of Celaction – an innovative software that we are soon to install for students to use, once installed we will be one of just two colleges in the UK who have the software available.

“The facilities are inspirational and make you want to work and its great to see what everyone is doing here,” says Neil Fitzgibbon, Animation Director at King Rollo Films.

He described how great the software was and how it can be a quick way of showing people what you can do.

Neil Fitzgibbon and Sian Pavel with Animation programme leader Tony Smith

Sian says, “It's a fantastic space, if I had the luxury I’d come back and start learning something.

“The students are doing some great things and it will be interesting to see the finished result and also when they get Celaction – what they can do with that, it’s just so great to see all the variety.”

Tony Smith, BA (Hons) Animation programme leader described how Celaction will really move us forward and give the students the skills to work with a variety of original sources, and explore the software to create something they can add to their show reel.

“It was a very inspiring talk, its good to hear from those in the industry and hear how to keep things moving and working. It all helps towards developing our professional practice,” says Billy Coles, third year BA (Hons) Animation student.

We got the chance to speak to Sian about the studios history and what made them work with childrens tv,

“We mainly do children’s tv, its just the way it started. Dave McKee, one of the founders, he’s an illustrator and he used to write the stories so that’s how it started many years ago.

“Just David McKee, Clive Juster and Leo Nielsen. Leo did the animation, Clive did the producing and David was the creative so he did the writing and the illustrations.

“It started as children’s and it just carried on – it was their love, it was their passion and we’ve carried that on.

“So as you can imagine, it was amazing when our show ‘Maisy’ won a BAFTA in 2000 and in 2009 we got nominated for a BAFTA for ‘Humf’.”

King Rollo Films have an ethos of taking what they are given and trying to recreate it as best they can, with Neil saying how easy it is for people to get into their own style and get lazy.

He emphasised the need to consciously push yourself to try other things and encouraged the students to find collaborators from other disciplines.

“They showed something that I really value and that’s keeping the beauty of the artwork. When something is digitally rendered it can take away some of the authenticity of the work," says Tony Smith, BA (Hons) Animation programme leader.

“It was great to hear what they do and how successful you can be down here in the South West. They gave some good advice on showreels and how you need to make your work accessible,” says Donna Wiscombe, BA (Hons) Animation graduate.

Tony explains, “They showed something that I really value and that’s keeping the beauty of the artwork. When something is digitally rendered it can take away some of the authenticity of the work.

“What I aim to do here at the college is create an animation pipeline, a method of sorts that goes from a beautiful illustration or artwork through a transition that retains the signature of the piece and its movement into performance.

“I want the paint and ink strokes to be present in the animation, its just a process of trying not to lose that beauty of art in its raw form when you are making it into an animation.”