Academy Award winning studio Aardman and BAFTA winning production company Independent Films are coming together to offer a new solution to agencies and brands, bringing the best craft from live action and animation together. Focusing on delivering beautifully executed content within the challenging budgets many clients have, their dual task as content providers will be to continuously find creative solutions. With some of the best live action Directors and Animation Directors working together and using Aardman’s Bristol based studios, equipment, full service CGI animation, post and audio production capabilities, the partnership aims to provide a seamless solution with a single point of contact either through Aardman or Independent - depending on what makes the most sense practically.
While there are no plans to formally merge, the two companies want to provide a seamless solution with a single point of contact at Aardman or Independent, depending on whether the idea is action or animation-led. Aardman, which is best known outside adland for its stop-motion claymation animations, including Wallace & Gromit, says it can keep its cost base low. Headquartered in Bristol, it offers a full-service CGI, animation and post and audio production capability. Animation includes any type of animated production, ranging from cartoons to sophisticated CGI.
Heather Wright, executive producer and head of partner content at Aardman, believes there was a clear message from marketers at Cannes Lions last month about the need for a renewed focus on creativity and craft. She said: "Increasingly we have noticed that agencies are working on projects with a need for live action performances and animation and looking for creative and financial solutions outside the big post production company model."
Heather Wright, Executive Producer and Head of Partner Content at Aardman
Independent Films was one of a number of production companies that hit out against a "rigged" bidding system earlier this year. Production companies put their names to a letter warning against a system in which ad agencies invite third-party production bids for contracts they are considering pitching for themselves. However, Jani Guest, managing director of Independent Films, said the move was not intended as a response to the row. Instead, she argued, it would offer a solution that ad agencies could take advantage of at the ideation stage rather than at execution. She added: "Big ideas generated by agencies can often lead to a mismatch with what the brand is willing to do in practice. How do you achieve a brilliant idea on paper when you don’t necessarily have all the resources that you would want to have to do that?"
If you're more curious, Aardman and Independent Films have been kind enough to supply a handy Q&A that explains the joint venture in greater detail:-
Independent Films Managing Director, Jani Guest
What is the new partnership between Aardman and Independent?
Academy Award–winning studios Aardman and BAFTA winning production company Independent Films are coming together to offer a new solution to agencies and brands, bringing the best craft from live action and animation together. The aim is that the partnership will use the combined capabilities and expertise of both companies to offer a solution to brands and agencies who require both live action and animation within one film.
How has the partnership come about?
Our belief is that craft creates quality and quality creates authentic engagement. Increasingly, we have noticed that agencies are working on projects with a need for live action performances and animation, and are also looking for creative and financial solutions outside the big post production company model. Animation offers the possibility of the fantastical or surreal in a way that live action alone can’t do, but putting that animation into a live action setting, crosses the line for an audience and gets them thinking…it’s an magical combination. Creating irresistible characters you can believe in is a craft in itself. Making great content is about creating believable situations and dialogue on paper, then casting great voices to put personality and meaning into the voice performance, which in turn gives cues for animated characters and informs the way they move or scratch their noses or take an awkward sidelong glance. The quality comes from creating characters with depth, with emotions that magnetise audiences.
How will agencies and brands benefit from this venture?
We’ve seen opportunities land on our desk that require both a live action and animated solution within a single project. We believe it’s often difficult for clients to find suitable solutions that incorporate both sides in this way, but we are hopeful that our partnership with Aardman will offer a solution to brands and agencies who require both live action and animation within one film.
How will the partnership work in practice?
We are focusing on delivering beautifully executed content within the challenging budgets many clients have. To this end, our task as content providers is to continuously find creative solutions. With studios, equipment and a full service CGI animation and post and audio production capabilities in Bristol, Aardman are able to keep their cost base low. This partnership will be a seamless solution with a single point of contact either through Aardman or Independent - depending on whether the idea is live action or animation led.