Thursday, 9 February 2017

European Women in Games Conference 2016

Bev Bush, Senior Lecturer in Games Design at Uclan, was pleased to be invited to take part in the Animated Women UK - Panel: Careers in animation and visual effects / VFX at European Women in Games Conference 2016 last Autumn, 7th Sept in London. The event was hosted by the University of Greenwich. A wonderful venue where Queen Elizabeth the 1 was born 300 years ago this year.

In June 2016, Marie-Claire Isaaman was named as the new chief executive of non-profit WIG and is working on many initiatives to promote the group along with David Smith. Lindsay Watson, chair of AWUK said they were proud to partner with this successful event, which hosts hundreds of women annually. WIG secured Europe's leading speakers for the event including Anne Morrison (BAFTA Chair), Terry Reintke (German MEP) and Jessica Curry (The Chinese Room) along with many others.

Conference panels and workshops from the event were streamed on Twitch during the European Women in Games conference 2016 and the videos have now been published on YouTube  - 8 Feb 2017.

Bev took part in the Animated Women UK Conference Panel: Expanding horizons - Careers in animation and visual effects / VFX
alongside Angela Salt, Dr Maria Stukoff, Juliet Tzabar, Lindsay Watson and Una Marzorati.

Lindsay Watson, Founder of AWUK introduced herself and they then discussed various questions.
Lindsay Watson
Animated Women UK - Founder & Chair (animation)
The mission of Animated Women UK is to positively support, represent, celebrate and encourage women in the animation and visual effects (VFX) industries in the UK. We now consist of a volunteer board of women from a healthy mix of backgrounds; animation and VFX production, finance, legal, festival, educational and career development. Our 5 key aims are: Mentoring, Networking, Showcasing, Recruitment and Education. In November 2015 we had around 1000 women on our newsletter list; around 70% of women in Britain’s’ animation and VFX industries.
Lindsay would like to see more female characters on screen, more women running businesses and more women in technical and leadership positions.

Angela Salt

Fun Crew - Co-Founder
Independent content creator based in Liverpool. Author of the graphic novel "Spooky Skaters", illustrator and educator. Recently wrote, co-produced and launched an adorable, new pre-school animated comedy show, 'Bear, Bud & Boo'.
Angela talked about creating female characters for children's media. Angela recommended the 'Children's Media conference to get to know supportive people in the industry. She wants to do justice in her writing, to all the fantastic women she has met. She wants to creating strong female characters on screen to show girls in school, what they can be and quoted Gina Davies, 'If she can see it, she can be it.' Angela is developing a comedy action show about 5 girl gamers who want to have fun.

Bev Bush
UCLAN - Senior Lecturer, Games Design
Bev Bush is a Senior lecturer in Games Design at Uclan. She has credits on many published games and BAFTA award-winning titles in games and ChildrensTV from Cosgrove Hall Films for Thames TV and Travellers Tales Ltd. Bev has worked with many large publishers, including BBC, ITV, Disney Interactive, Sony, Jim Henson Interactive, on games such as Mickey Mania, Crash Bandicoot and Lego Starwars.Prior to that she worked within the Animation Industry as a Background Artist and has credits on titles in animation for childrens TV such as DangerMouse, Duckula and Wind in the Willows and HRH Prince Charles film of his book, Legend of Lochnagar.
Bev talked about cross over elements that are important in interactive experience. She emphasised that this has too elements, the technical side and collaboration.
Bev outlined the differences in the production pipe-line between animation and games and the importance of working with others as a team to bring a variety of skills to a project, rather than trying to do everything yourself. She encouraged animators and games designers to communicate and see how they can support one another. She also recommended mixing traditional skills with digital and technical skills to bring a more organic quality to a product.

Dr Maria Stukoff

BBC Academy - Head of Digital
Strong strategic head with creative vision to make projects happen. Experienced programme curator able to schedule projects to fit business direction. A mentor and supporter of enterprises that support digital inclusion and has inspired the next generation of games designers to produce content for Playstation content.
Maria spoke about championing a belief in ourselves, creating opportunities and following them.
Meeting up with others and networking is important and taking your own path and making your creativity count. Maria encouraged us to identify our skills and find opportunities to use them, to celebrate what we can do and communicate our ideas to others.

Juliet Tzabar
Plug-in Media
CEO & Owner
Oversees Plug-in’s growth and success since 2006, and most recently have been driving its strategy into original IP development, capitalising on the company’s experience within the kids content sector to originate, produce and publish original IP across multiple platforms from mobile to online, TV to physical products. Speaks internationally about Plug-in’s work. Serves on the advisory committee for the Children’s Media Conference and am on the board of Wired Sussex. Was a finalist in the Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the Year award 2011.
Juliet Tzabar discussed details that need to be considered when delivering narrative for cross platform media, from broadcast information to games. Juliet recommends immersion in the brand from all aspects for creatings Apps from TV shows. Her team look at TV show themes and character activity to get an authentic experience.

Una Marzorati

SEGA Europe - Video editor, Designer & Animator
Video suite assistant at Sega Europe. Designer, Storyboarder and Animator (TV series, documentaries, Internet). Lecturer in Computer Games Design. 3D Artist with a Degree in Computer Science.
Una described how animation comes into play while creating new projects. She likes to be creative and intuitive in her work but also has technical skills which she uses to successfully cross between the animation and games design industry.

Bev Bush also lead a Workshop during the conference with Animated Women UK.
Each of us have an important career path to take and whether in games, animation or VFX, we can use our passion for what we do to help each other.
In this interactive 40-minute session participants were asked to use 'Dixit' game cards and 'Rory's Story Cubes' to help share ideas when asked:
'How can we use visual story-telling techniques to help our career progression?' 
The focus was on moving forward with your own development whatever stage of work you are at. Participants were encouraged to work in groups, recording their own thoughts and discussing with others as part of a directed framework.

Also, during the conference, winners of the Student Competition were awarded by Debbie Bestwick MBE along with Helen Kennedy, Head of the School of Media, at the University of Brighton:
Congratulations must go to our recent graduate, Steph McStea MA Game Design, University of Central Lancashire – for being amongst the winners.