Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Irish Times Interviews Colin Williams, Founder Of Sixteen South; Nick Jr. UK To Debut New Mixed Media Series "Driftwood Bay" In Spring 2014

The Irish Times, a Irish daily broadsheet newspaper, has unveiled a exclusive interview they recently held with Colin Williams, the founder of the Belfast-based independent children's television production company Sixteen South Television, who are currently producing "Driftwood Bay", a brand new mixed media animated preschool series that Nickelodeon UK's preschool channel, Nick Jr. UK and Ireland, commissioned in 2012, and is due to premiere on Nick Jr. UK in Spring 2014, as part of 2014 on Nickelodeon UK, which you can read below:
Colin Williams

Children’s television production company Sixteen South was established in 2008

Colin Williams founded children’s television production company Sixteen South in 2008. He worked in advertising before setting up his first business, post production company Inferno, which produced animation, film and interactive content for museums and television commercials.

He set up Sixteen South as a side project to Inferno after seeing an ad to pitch to Sesame Workshop in New York to produce a local version of its iconic show Sesame Street. After success with what became Sesame Tree, his team developed Big City Park, which was shot on location in Belfast's Ormeau Park and aired on the BBC children's channel CBeebies.

Belfast-based Sixteen South has since produced more than 200 episodes of children’s television for broadcasters across the globe, including the BBC, Nickelodeon, US cable giant Sprout and ABC Australia. It was ranked among the UK’s top indie producers by Televisual and also won the Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star award in both 2011 and 2012. The shows, which include Sesame Tree, Big City Park, Big and Small, Pajanimals and Driftwood Bay, have received an IFTA award, a BAFTA and two Emmy nominations.

How did you secure your first investment?
I asked the bank to remortgage my house to raise some money to buy some equipment and pay the bills.

What vision prompted you to start-up your business?
I had been running a successful commercial production and post production company and while it was doing well, I was unhappy that the work we were producing was all about selling stuff to people who didn’t want to buy it. I wanted to create content that would make a difference and be seen, enjoyed and remembered in years to come. Children’s television was exactly that.

What moment or deal would you identify as the “game changer” or turning point for the company?
I think that the game keeps changing and there are lots of game changing moments, which constantly move us to bigger opportunities and bigger challenges. Pajanimals, our fourth show in partnership with The Jim Henson Company and the broadcaster Sprout, brought us into the global market and our work into over 300 million homes. And Driftwood Bay, our new show, has had an incredible response from the market, gaining us independent credibility.

What were the best and worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
The best advice was something I scribbled down: “Do some good, make some money, have some fun”.
Three pieces of worst advice: being told by my Biology A-level teacher that I was a waste of space and wouldn’t do anything with my life; being told by a tutor at art college that animated media was too hard and wouldn’t catch on; and being told by a local broadcaster not to think about getting into children’s television because it was impossible.

Do you plan to extend your services to a new customer demographic or penetrate a new sector in the next 12 months?
Yes. We have produced five shows – all of which are created for preschoolers (2-6 year olds). We are currently negotiating a deal for a live action drama for 7-11 year olds with a global broadcaster.

What are the biggest challenges you face now?
Our biggest challenge is to get a large-scale children's drama off the ground while juggling all the other shows.

Topics: Business, Sectors, Media & Marketing, Colin Williams, Inferno, Jim Henson Company, Sixteen South
Nick Jr. UK's upcoming brand new mixed-media animated show for 3-6 year olds, "Driftwood Bay", is about a very special island that exists in the imagination of a little girl named Lily who creates a world of adventure and friendship from different treasures she finds washed up on the beach. Lily is 5 years old and lives on the Island of Arranish with her Dad. They live in a little hut on the beach packed full of jars, knick-knacks, driftwood and some very special friends... all made by Lily from salvage washed up by the sea. Across the way is Driftwood Bay – another island that Lily can see from her window, and it is here that the characters that she has created in her imagination come to life. Every day the sea washes up a new treasure which sparks Lily’s imagination about what might be happening on Driftwood Bay. And so, accompanied by her best friend Gull, the clever seagull, an adventure begins as they head off 'across the way to Driftwood Bay'.

"Driftwood Bay" is a unique series about making your own fun and adventures from the things that you find. It's about using your imagination and creativity to inspire an adventure or tell a story. It's based on real artwork made entirely from things washed up on the beach - from the animal characters to the backdrops and landscapes, everything has been created from beach salvage. It came to life when children's artist, Joanne Carmichael began to create characters from various things that she found washed up on the beach outside her cottage on the Scottish Island of Arran. Production of Season One (52 episodes x 7 minutes) commenced in Autumn (Fall) 2012 and will available for broadcast from Spring 2014. Show bible, scripts and a animated trailer is available on request from