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'Two Short Nights' - Animation Commission Live Pitch 2016

Photo by Megan Pearn 2016

On Friday the 2nd of December, we were very pleased to be invited by The Exeter Phoenix to be part of the judging panel for this years animation commission live pitch. Every year the Exeter Phoenix hosts 'Two Short Nights' a film festival featuring the best in local and international short film. This is their fifteenth year of hosting the extremely popular event, which highlights their commitment to showing a vast and diverse range of screenings covering animation, documentary and short films. It also cements their continued engagement to provide opportunities for young and emerging talented filmmakers and animators in Devon and the South West.

Photos by Megan Pearn 2016

This year four budding animators were shortlisted from the many who applied, to pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges made up from the world of animation educational and industry professionals.

The shortlisted ideas were:

Just Keep Swimming – Chloe Cooley

Jerome – Tim Howe

Pigeons – Ronit Meranda

Totem – Stephen Whittingham

The Judges - including our own Creative Director and current industry professional:

Susannah Shaw - CEO At Curzon Cinema & Arts Chris Webster - Programme Leader for BA and MA Animation, UWE Bristol Daniel Willers - Creative Director at Yellow Mouse Studios Ltd

Alix Taylor - Digital Program Coordinator

Photo by Megan Pearn 2016

After the pitch, where the judges were able to listen and ask questions to all of the candidates, the four judges went off to a 'sealed room' to chat, debate, and argue for their favourite, and after a short while the winner was chosen.

Each judge brought their own criteria to the panel. From our creative directors point of view, he was looking for a project that was creatively stimulating, yet with a clear goal and a realistically achievable outcome.

"We cannot over state the importance of sharing visual illustrations when entering this type of commission"

It is all too easy to be over ambitious when pitching a project, as you want to impress those judging you with your vision, knowledge and skills. When shortlisting the finalists, this is something we took into account, along with any kind of experience the animator had of working in their proposed genre of animation.

We cannot over state the importance of sharing visual illustrations when entering this type of commission. Previous work, sketches or influences all have a baring on your proposal, as all of this information gives those looking at your project a flavor of what you as a animator are about. Daniel was very impressed with all of the projects, but was happy with the winning choice.

The winner gets a sum of money and support as well as access to the Exeter Phoenix digital experts. This year the winner will also get some extra help from our very own Creative Director, Daniel Willers, as he has been asked by the Exeter Phoenix to give input and guidance at various stages during the production over 2017, which he is very pleased to do.

Photo by Megan Pearn 2016

Being part of animation projects and mentoring in Devon and the South West is extremely important to us here at Yellow Mouse Studios, as giving back to those wanting to embark on a career in animation sits at the very heart of what our company is about. We are very pleased to be involved and would like to thank The Exeter Phoenix for asking us to be part of this exciting project.

The event was a great experience for us and we want to wish Stephen Whittingham and all the other candidates good luck with their future projects, and would like to offer them and any other young and budding animators the invitation to contact us at any time, to discuss ideas they might have or to answer any questions. We look forward to seeing your progress, so please keep in touch!

Any companies that might have any inquiries about animation for their business can also contact us via email, as we are always ready to listen:

Email address - or press here

We'd also like to thank Megan Pearn for taking our blog photos on the night. If you are interested in hiring Megan for your event please contact us on the above email or directly at: You can also find out more about Megan and her photography on her professional Facebook page.

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