Milo and COVID-19
They say that starting a new job, moving house, and having a baby are three of life’s most stressful things you can do.
We can probably go one better than that! How about recruiting an entire animation team, finding a studio, and setting up a fully working TV production remotely during a worldwide pandemic!
Rewind to January 2020, and with pre-production and development underway on Milo, our very first TV series, there was just a small task of recruiting the talent to put the series together. The recruitment process had already begun when COVID-19 broke in the UK, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time. (Not that there’s ever a good time for a worldwide viral outbreak.)
In March 2020, the Prime Minister announced we would all need to work from home if possible. During that time, the management team completed the recruitment of a near 60-strong animation team, set-up servers with the capability to support cloud-based working and implemented a software set-up to get Milo up and running. To coordinate a full TV production in a conventional office is one thing. To pull together animators, storyboard artists, riggers, writers, compositors, background and set-up artists, character designers and more, working across various UK cities, and some staff further afield – is a very different achievement altogether.
During September 2020, our offices at Bold Street Studios in Liverpool were being gutted and fitted out, with miles of cabling beneath the floor, data points for computers, wall partitions for offices, editing suites and meeting rooms, and a brand-new staff kitchen installation. A full suite of computer kit to support the animation production was also delivered and installed, allowing the Milo team to link-in remotely to dedicated machines. Now with on-site IT support, many of the earlier teething problems were ironed out. The editing desk, lighting and editing suite equipment had also arrived at the studio, and finally, Animation Director, Chris Capstick along with Editor, Mike Treacy, and his team were able to produce the first offline edits.
On Monday 10 May, the first episode – Milo the Explorer – was aired on Channel 5 Milkshake! much to the excitement of everybody involved, and viewers, including the team’s very own children seemed to love Milo and the gang very much! The team has pulled together in extraordinary circumstances to deliver a great looking show, which Fourth Wall is incredibly proud of. As Milo would say, it is ‘AMAZING!’