Qld animators front and centre of YouTube partnership

Gold Coast animators behind The Big Lez Show talk about making an online success from simple tools, a wicked sense of humour and YouTube.

The Griffith Film School have hosted a cast of Brisbane’s most successful animators broadcasting on YouTube, as well as key executives of the world’s largest online video platform in a symposium on developing successful digital enterprises.

Supported by the Queensland Government, QUT, Screen Queensland and Creative Enterprise Australia, the Animation on YouTube day was attended by animators, professional and amateur, students and inspired creators.

It was the forth in a series of Creator Originals symposiums hosted around Brisbane, the first to specialise in animation and mix professionals and students. The symposiums pass on technical, artistic, communications and web techniques to boost subscribers, and thus commercial returns from their YouTube channels.

Speakers included executives from YouTube/Google, Sanoop Luke (Kids and Learning Content, Australia, NZ and SE Asia) and Akshata Udiaver (YouTube, Mumbai) who passed on clues to boosting audiences, monetising channels and interacting with one the largest and most voracious YouTube markets in the world, India.

Local gaming and animation company, Halfbrick also spoke about the future of their Fruit Ninja Nation animation, an offshoot from the global success of their Fruit Ninja game, due out in 2017. Supported Creator Originals, Elly Awesome and SasEffects also spoke on the development of their channels, centred around product testing and horror film makeup. Both were assisted by Griffith LiveLab’s team of staff and students.

Hosted by Griffith’s LiveLab Creative Director, Richard Fabb the partnership is part of the University’s focus on entrepreneurial outcomes for students from the Arts to Sciences, Business, Humanities and Health.

“People used to come to film school and say, ‘I came to film school after watching Citizen Kane’, now they say they were ‘inspired to come to film school after watching a lot of YouTube’,” said Mr Fabb.

(Days like this) “are an amazing opportunity for our students to learn some of the secrets of this platform that can allow them to enhance their skills and establish an online business at the same time.”

YouTube’s Sanoop Luke also emphasized the platform’s enterprising possibilities.

“We want the creators to think of YouTube as a creative business. Show business has been around for ages, whether its plays, movies, or TV. With YouTube, Showbiz is now meritocratic. Almost anyone can be a creator. It could come from your passion for a genre or the audience you’re creating for. So why not get paid along the way,” said Mr Luke

“I was talking to some animators earlier and they were saying they think they have the best job in the world. They can make the content they love and they don’t have to be told what to do by a studio or broadcaster, they find their audience on YouTube.”

Local animators who spoke from their own experience included the Tweed Heads creators of The Big Lez Show and Brisbane’s SexuaLobster and Artspear. All three are able to generate returns and income by broadcasting their original animations to a global audience.

“For Australian producers on YouTube, for every one viewer they (the creators) attract, nine viewers are outside of Australia, their following is massive outside of Australia. So it’s a great way for students, producers, creators – anyone with a channel – to reach a global audience, right from the first upload,” said Mr Luke.

Tweed Heads based trio, Ripstart Productions, produce The Big Lez Show and are entirely self-taught animators who have converted their own passion for comic illustration and a free government laptop into the start of a business.

“For us it started out as a fun little project at home, and it still is, but now people are watching it,” said Jarrod Wright.

“I was always drawing comics and stuff back at high school, sitting at the back, not doing any work. Then the laptops came into schools…from Kevin Rudd…and I opened up Paint on it and opened Audacity for recording voices and then started putting it all together, frame by frame, stop motion, learning from computer games.”

Following their first production in 2012 the group attracted large numbers of viewers due to their astute observations, course humour and relatable characters. The channel is now returning enough through ads and merchandise to generate income.

The Creator series will continue in 2017.

The Griffith Film School were assisted in contract and event management by the University’s commercialisation office, Griffith Enterprise.