They have worked together since 1999, establishing their company in 2006, with Myles working as a writer and Greg as an illustrator and animator. They undertake freelance work separately and work together directing and producing projects, with remote teams of freelancers on bigger projects – up to 25 on television series.
Their films have won many awards, including a BAFTA, a Webby award, a Gold award from the Association of Illustrators and a Special Mention at Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Greg also illustrates books, one of which made the Sunday Times’ bestseller list.
They’ve made animated shorts for UK Film Council/Screen West Midlands and for Channel 4’s Random Acts. Other commissions include educational work for BBC Learning, London School of Economics, the Tate Gallery and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Commercially, they have made a children’s television series for the BBC and stings for ITV, and commercials through Aardman and agencies. They generate most of their work through word of mouth, and represent themselves, but they have a literary agent.
STATE OF PLAY
They continue to develop their practice through formal and informal ways. Greg has attended short courses at St Martin’s College of Art, London and the School of Life, and taken part in collaborative workshops at festivals such as Pictoplasma, Berlin. Myles does writing based short courses. They read extensively and set themselves creative challenges in their work.
Being based outside London, the internet has been critical to maintaining their profile. They use Vimeo to promote their animations, and they also like the feedback and sense of community. Their monthly newsletter has around 1000 subscribers and they have 11,000 subscribers on YouTube, where their films Spamland and Pedro and Frankensheep have together received 1.5 million views.
They have seen a big shift as brands have begun to occupy the online space and feel the internet is not as democratic as it used to be, and that it is now more difficult to stand as a small company. However, they also observe there are always new and ingenious ways to be noticed.
They think there needs to be more discussion about – and support for – mid-career creative professionals who are trying to keep competitive in a fast changing market-place.
“The animation world is much busier than it used to be; if you want to be noticed you have to get out there and meet people.”
“Don’t wait for permission from other people – get out there and make your work. And learn from it.”
Image: Swim © The Brothers McLeod (2012)