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Interview with Miles Bullough of Wildseed Studios

// Interviews

In June of this year, former Aardman head of broadcasting Miles Bullough, and former BBC Creative Executive Jesse Cleverley launched ‘Wildseed studios’, through which they will fund and co-develop characterful film, animation and other media projects into potentially viable creative properties.  More info can be found here

Have a series idea you are trying to develop? A film you have written and would like to get off the ground? Maybe just a great character with a lot of potential? I certainly have, and so I was very interested to interview Miles Bullough, co-founder, and get the low-down on Wildseed.

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Jesse-Cleverly-L-Miles-Bullough-R

A former Aardman exec producer and former BBC creative exec get together and decide to invest half a million pounds in developing entertainment for a variety of platforms. What inspired you to start Wildseed?

Both Jesse and I wanted to create a company that would be accessible to a new wave of creative talent. We both come from established media backgrounds and we really wanted to bring the experience we had gained there to support emerging creators, many of whom are already creating and publishing their work from their bedrooms and kitchen tables.

We sensed that there was an opportunity to create a company that could assist new creators with creative and strategic advice and with finance. We wanted to be able to move fast, act on instinct and be fearless in the content we commissioned. We sensed that in an era where traditional media companies are engaged in a process of trying restructure and re-invent themselves, a light-on-its-feet operation like Wildseed could be attractive to self-motivated people who are fed up with unpaid work-experience and diminishing opportunities within big companies.

Although the criteria for the projects is very open (web-series, book, app, game, live show etc), you have been quite specific in your interest in ‘character comedies’, a staple of Animation. Can you tell us more about why you made this choice?

The idea of putting great characters at the heart of everything we do is to try to give us the ability to work with any platform that comes along. We hope that no matter what platform is ‘hot’ at any one time there should always be an opportunity for a character that an audience wants to ‘be or be with’. So whether it’s YouTube or the AppStore or e-books or TV or Netflix we hope that by developing exciting character franchises we will always have something that appeals to someone somewhere

WILDSEED
UK animation in recent times is known for our pre-school properties, and I was very happy to read about Ralph Kidson coming on board, and your interest in the older age groups. Was this a choice made because, like me, you felt our industry missing a trick here, that commissioners perhaps don’t value animation for this demographic?

There seems to us to be a substantial opportunity to create a long-running animated adult comedy for the UK. I am not sure that it’s commissioners that are at fault here. In the animation community we have been slow, expensive and either in awe of the US animated sitcom model or oblivious to its strengths. We haven’t got the blend right of animation expertise and great comic writing.

Commissioners have long been looking for UK originated companion shows to their successful US animation imports – in the UK we have not been successful as yet in supplying those – though there have been a number of promising attempts – sooner or later that will change and when one animated comedy breaks through it will hopefully create an opportunity for more to follow. Whatever it is will probably originate online and then get picked up by TV because TV has had enough of the drawn-out and costly development processes that animation is so fond of.

Our guess is that a successful UK adult animated comedy will, amongst many things, be very distinctly British and able to be produced cost-effectively enough in the UK to avoid the creative compromises that co-production can sometimes enforce. It may not come from what we currently see as the mainstream comedy or animation production community.

I can see young creatives coming in droves for the opportunity to not only be funded to develop their ideas, but to have the guidance as two people such as yourself. What level of involvement and kind of input would you have, should you make an investment?

Our intention is to leave creative control with creators; to give notes and creative advice but not in any way that is ‘compulsory’. We hope to have enough content going through our company that we can’t micro-manage it, even if we wanted to. We will give as much help and support and advice as we can and as we feel we need to. That does mean that we are looking for very self-motivated people who can create, produce and promote their work on their own but who, with our help, can take what they do to a new level both creatively and commercially.

Visit Wildseed’s website for info on the company and submissions.

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