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Andrew Kavanagh

Andrew Kavanagh
Owner and founder
Kavaleer Productions
Pitching: Adam Adventure

What is the biggest issue facing the animation industry?
The global talent shortage continues to be one of the biggest problems facing production companies. The fully remote studio, which we’ve all been living with to some degree since last year, has given us the flexibility to hire talent we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to and has been a boon of sorts. But working from home means we are also competing for talent who can take a job anywhere from Vancouver to Seoul without leaving their home office.

What is your company doing in response to this?
We are diversifying our production and financing model. Irish prodcos are attractive coproduction partners given our tax credit, and we are used to splitting production with one or more partners. Alongside our continued strategy of attracting talent to Ireland to work on our own shows, we have invested significant time this year in exploring global partner strategies outside of our traditional bases in the UK and France, so that we may continue to scale production across numerous channels.

Are physical animation studios essential or is working from home the future of the industry?
The hybrid model feels like the right combination for studios going forward. Kavaleer’s still 100% remote but we will begin phasing some physical presence, on a flexible basis, back to our studio in the coming months. I believe that for the culture of a business to be maintained and developed, some element of face-to-face interaction is necessary. So much of what makes a work environment great is intangible; the vibe in a workplace comes from its people. And in-person interaction can’t be completely replaced, no matter how great a remote setup a studio has in place.

How do you feel about Disney’s decision to close many of its TV channels around the world?
It’s a concern when any broadcaster closes channels. With regard to Disney EMEA, we are watching closely to see what impact this decision will have on local production. It was interesting to read Disney EMEA president Jan Koeppen’s statement from Series Mania about Disney+’s strategy to invest in and develop European originals, and we’re curious to see how this might roll out to kids’ content.

Tell us about the project you are pitching at Cartoon Forum.
Adam ❤ Adventure (52×11′) is inspired by and stars six-year-old Irish superstar and real-life hero Adam King. Last year, Adam captured our hearts here in Ireland when he shared on RTÉ his dream of becoming a CAPCOM (capsule communicator) in NASA when he grows up. As a child with brittle bone disease, Adam can’t go to space (as current technology allows), so we devised a cartoon in which Adam explores the universe in his own specially adapted spacecraft. Kavaleer is working with extraordinary minds from the international space community and disability advocates to create a show that will inspire preschool children to follow their dreams.


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