Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Mike Young
October 1, 2003

Mike Young

President, Mike Young Productions

‘The upside of government subsidized programming, of course, is that it allows financially strapped, yet passionate creators to continue to create – and that’s something we always want to encourage. The downside is that sometimes shows get produced that are not commercially viable and often the fringe costs of employment are twice the rate in the U.S., thus what the governmental right hand gives, the left taketh away.

That said, I do have one suggestion for U.S. policy makers who might be considering such a plan. Since we operate in a country whose market economy dictates that every product rise or fall on its own merits, why not offer tax benefits once a show has proven to be marketable? Such ‘back-end incentives’ would encourage investment, boost production and, in turn, lead to more shows succeeding in the international marketplace.’

Josep Viciana

President, Neptuno Films

‘The Spanish government does not support the production industry, and the big broadcasters in Spain not only don’t co-produce with Spanish producers, but they prioritize the acquisition of Japanese or American series instead of Spanish ones. This does not give us many options. However, there are a few resources that help and support Catalan animation production with the aim of expanding our products and creativity worldwide. As an example, TV3 (Catalonian Television) co-produces with many local producers, and that seems to be a good model to follow.’

Richard Langridge

Head of children’s and youth,

Wark Clements

‘This is what funding in the U.K. is like:

‘Nice idea – could you do a script?

Nice script – who else is on-board?

Fantastic presale – did you get Germany?

Germany’s fine – what about Canada?

Smashing – when can you see some cash?

Sorry – I think this idea’s been done before.

Got anything else?”

John Bullivant

Managing director, Kickback Media

‘The irony and frustration of the U.K. market is, the major public service broadcaster will not commission animation and pays significantly less than the biggest commercial broadcaster, who does commission animation. To get more money from your public broadcaster, you have to concede exploitation rights, while the major commercial broadcaster only takes a TV license. I hope, if I was in charge, that I’d pay more and take less rights, and that I’d pay less and take more rights.’

Christian Davin

Chairman and CEO, Alphanim

‘The Union of French Animation Producers (the SPFA, of which I am president) has been working in close cooperation with the Film and TV Department (CNC) of the Ministry of Culture over the past year in order to increase the amount of French public funding for animation series to allow for greater spending on both artistic and technical elements. In many instances, this improvement will allow French producers to maintain a high level of presence in international co-productions.’

Richard Morss

Managing director, Banjax

‘We are all grateful for our domestic funding. However it is sometimes like attempting sex with an alien species: you might both want to do it, feel an urgent need, but spend a futile lifetime failing to find the ‘G’ spots. Actually, aliens are probably more fun…’

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