Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
International Trade Adviser: Pete Chapman
DIT services used: Passport to Export programme and Market Visit Support
Snapshot – impact of DIT support
Carse and Waterman is an animation studio set up by Gary Carse and Daniel Waterman, who as first year animation students at Staffordshire University had the opportunity to create a music video for the band The Prodigy. More work soon came in and after graduating Carse and Waterman was formed and built a client base including McCann and Channel 4. The company now works on everything from feature films to animated infographics for local companies.
The business challenge
When Carse and Waterman was first approached by UK Trade & Investment (DIT) the company had not been thinking about working internationally, with Waterman calling himself “a prime example of someone who initially never really considered exporting. You don’t make the effort to do it because it seems so unachievable”. However, the American market was “one of those markets that we have grown up dreaming of working in. As a creative you want to be working in Hollywood.”
How DIT has helped
DIT suggested the company attend South by Southwest (SXSW), an Austin, Texas based set of film and music conferences and festivals. DIT provided funding to cover costs and access to the insights of a representative of DIT Austin. Once at SXSW the Union Jack business cards and royal family themed t-shirts suggested by DIT proved an instant hit. Upon meeting Pete Docter, director of the Monsters, Inc. film, Waterman found that “one of the things he commented on was the branding of the t-shirt and it was a talking point”.
The visit put the company in touch with contacts from Netflix and Reddit and meetings with large production companies included sitting down to discuss ideas for a feature film with the Weinstein Company. Waterman admits that “for a small company like us to get in front of a company like the Weinstein Company, who created films like Paddington, is unbelievable really. From being a student at university to now being able to get these meetings is due to the support that DIT has given to us”. The team of four is now set to grow, with the business going from strength to strength. Waterman advises “any companies looking to make that jump to try it out” and credits his local DIT international trade adviser with “getting me out there, putting me in front of these massive companies and helping me to meet people from all around the world who could be the next Spielberg - you never know.”