LONDON: The U.K. broadcasting industry’s highly respected training organization, Skillset, has warned that the current boom of domestic animation production could be undermined by a lack of commitment to training. In a survey of the market unveiled at the Cardiff Animation Festival, Skillset estimates that there are 3,000 animators in the U.K., with two-thirds working in companies that employ fewer than 10 people. ‘Companies are often project-based and once the project is completed, [they] go out of business. From an original sample of 391 companies, more than 100 ceased trading by the time this study took place,’ says the report.
The upshot? ‘The animation industry is based on companies that are too small to carry trainees. It would find it difficult to maintain-let alone broaden-its skill base.’ The greatest concern among animators is the changing nature of the business, with 80% expecting developments in technology, animation and working practices to radically alter the way they operate.
Backed by the independent producers’ association, PACT, a group of indie animators, is seeking government development funds and has begun to investigate proposals along the lines of support found in France and Canada. Key issues include the possibility of a production levy on broadcasters, a quota on broadcasters to encourage domestically originated production and tax breaks for animated features to create a level playing field with live-action features.