ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.11 - FEBRUARY 2000

The Genuine Aardicle
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Aardman will continue to produce shorts, and currently has several in development. In addition to developing and financing these "studio shorts," Aardman encourages staff to use the facilities to create independent projects and animation tests during off-hours.

Commercials
Commercials have been a bread and butter industry throughout the years for Aardman which has produced over 100 spots for clients such as American Express, Burger King, Cadbury's, Guinness, Lipton and the London Zoo. With the success of campaigns like the Chevron cars series, Aardman continues to grow in the commercial arena, producing 15-20 spots per year, with directors often crossing over from television and short film projects.

Sales of Wallace and Gromit merchandise have been driven by the shorts' cult following in the U.K. and States. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Licensing
A quick visit to the Aardmarket, Aardman's on-line store, will reveal a wealth of licensed Aardman product, mostly bearing the Wallace and Gromit brand, including apparel, plush, timepieces, toys, stationary and pens, magnets, CD-Roms, books, linens, mousepads, figurines and videos and DVDs. In preparation for the release of Chicken Run, DreamWorks Consumer Products is literally counting its chickens before they hatch, with its full-scale L&M campaign tied to the release of the film.

What's Next?
Aardman continues to evolve and explore new areas. Training continues to be of key importance as the studio grows. Rose says their training scheme is expanding to include editorial, camera and storyboarding as well as animation and modelmaking. In fact, Aardman has found such a shortage of storyboard artists in Bristol, the studio has been using storyboard artists at DreamWorks, many of whom are originally from the UK, to fill in the gaps. The company is also investigating original Internet animation as a new media. Asked where the studio will be doing in ten years, Rose stresses the studio's goal of adaptability, "We want to remain flexible, we don't want to become fossilized. The world is changing fast, but one thing we can be certain of is that there will be new opportunities."

Wendy Jackson Hall is an independent animator, educator, writer and consultant specializing in animation. Her articles have been published in Animation Journal, Animation Magazine, ASIFA News, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety, as well as Animation World, where she was associate editor until 1998.

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