When you first decide to start your own business it’s natural to think its time to knuckle down and stop playing around. Well, we couldn’t think of a worse piece of advice.
Seb and I met whilst freelancing at an animation studio a few years ago. We met again a few months later when another studio paired us up to work on a project and soon discovered we had a shared love of silly characters and a spookily similar sense of humour. We were both still working as freelancers, but started making short films together.
Our first featured a boy with magic underpants and kind of set the tone for everything else that was to come. Next thing we knew we were in the shiny office of a London agency, pitching on a campaign. It was then that we made the decision to start our own studio and Rumpus was born.
In the beginning we didn’t have much work lined up, but we were young(ish) and didn’t really need anything. Except biscuits. We spent the first few months
tinkering away on our own ideas. It was an open, free flowing period in the company. One week a DJ friend needed a video so we made one, then another week we decided to work with an illustrator we knew, Matthew the Horse, and so got in touch and got on with making a film. They were just fun little ideas that we made for ourselves and didn’t expect much would come of them.
But making those short videos turned out to be the reason why Rumpus started getting ‘proper’ work through the doors. Our films got played at Annecy and Pictoplasma animation festivals and people started getting in touch.
After the festival, the music video got picked up in a few places and was giving us a steady amount of hits. All of a sudden it was featured on a video website, oddly sandwiched between videos of cage fighters, and racked up about 24,000 views in one day!
I think it’s fair to say that a lot of the jobs we’ve now had came directly from people seeing those videos. Our agents discovered us from one of these little pieces of work which, really, we just created during a quiet spell.
While getting our name out there was one massive upside of making these videos, there was also the legitimacy they gave our company. We’re all creatives after all, and if you’re seen to be actually creating for the fun of it, attending festivals and collaborating with these super talented artists – then people accept you as credible in that industry.
So now creating our own work has influenced the whole approach to business at Rumpus. I guess if we want to get all business about it, then what we’ve done is defined our company image and managed to grow from it. Now we find that people want to work with us because they’ve seen our stuff and think it could work for them. That’s fortunate really as we enjoy creating strange, silly characters and the worlds they inhabit, and finding ways for those characters to connect with an audience.
Now we’re developing one of our original characters into a game for tablets and mobile, with the help of some funding from Creative England. The response so far has been amazing and its exciting to see how our ideas can work in a different way.
So if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the two years since founding
Rumpus, it’s to never stop playing around.
Rumpus is an award winning animation studio which writes, draws, animates and creates everything that clients might need for brilliant branded content.
Illustrated by Peter Simon
- One Thing I Know