In an effort to address high demand, Irish development agency Screen Ireland has launched the National Talent Academy for Animation (NTAA).
The initiative is designed to raise the number of skilled staff working in Ireland’s animation sector, and will spotlight diverse and regional talent.
Trade body Animation Ireland is leading the initiative alongside the academy’s program director and industry vet, Deirdre Barry. She is the founder of Dublin-based Avalon Films, which develops, finances, produces and distributes live-action and animated programming worldwide. Barry previously served as CEO of Irish prodco Salty Dog Pictures (Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!) and head of production, co-productions and acquisitions at Irish distributor Monster Entertainment. She has also taught numerous courses for training agency Animation Skillnet and regularly lectures in colleges around Ireland.
NTAA will offer mentorship programs, workshops, master classes, placements, networking opportunities and guidance to its selected applicants. It will also provide support to talent currently working in the industry; work with secondary-level students who are considering animation careers; and encourage workers in the live-action sector to try out the genre. Applicants can learn more and register at the National Talent Academy website.
The academy’s mentorship program will kick off in the coming months, featuring mentors from production fields such as IP development, scriptwriting, storyboarding, design, editing, music composition, VFX and studio set-up. The NTAA is planning to put a call out for potential mentees at a later date.
The NTAA’s steering group of industry experts includes Sheila de Courcy (media producer, writer, consultant), Ronan McCabe and Moe Honan (Animation Ireland), Andrew Byrne (Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland), Gareth Lee (Screen Ireland), Gary McHugh (Young Irish Film Makers), John Phelan (DBIC), Catherine Hehir (Cartoon Saloon), Stephen Kelly (Ability Focus), Tim Morris (VFXAI), Yvonne Hennessy (Technological University of the Shannon), Sean Smith (Animation Skillnet) and Eileen Bell (Enterprise Ireland).
New animation talent initiatives—especially D&I-focused ones—have been proliferating in the kids media space of late. Just last week, Netflix opened submissions for its second mentorship program, with a focus on finding and training emerging talent from veteran and Native American communities in the US.