The Secret Story Draw: new competition to increase representation in animation

Career stages
Entry, Early

A brand new and unique initiative, The Secret Story Draw, has launched to find raw, rare and audacious talent in the animation industry. The scheme is dedicated to placing illustrators and animators from Black, Asian and minority ethinic backgrounds into some of the country’s best animation studios via paid internships.

The Secret Story Draw sees some of the UK’s most renowned children’s writers provide an anonymous story written exclusively for the initiative, with budding animators and illustrators invited to bring the stories to life. The author of each story will remain anonymous until the winners are revealed in June. 

Announced writers contributing stories include: Keith Chapman (Bob The Builder, Fifi & the Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car), Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Runaway Robot, Millions,Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth), Gillian Cross (The Demon Headmaster), Adam Redfern (The Adventures Of Paddington), Dan Freedman (Jamie Johnson, Unstoppable), Swapna Haddow (Dave Pigeon!), M.G. Leonard (Beetle Boy), Mark Lowery (Socks Are Not Enough, Charlie and Me and The Roman Garstang Series), Will Mabbitt (The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones), E.L. Norry (Son of the Circus), Sam Sedgman (The Highland Falcon Thief) and Chitra Soundar (Where is Gola’s Home). 

The Secret Story Draw organisers have recruited a stellar panel from the television and film industries, with winners earning themselves a paid internship with one of the top animation studios in the UK.

Internships will run for at least three months and will be based in the studio or remote working as agreed by the participating studio. Current studios taking part include: Aardman, Blue Zoo Animation Studio, DNEG, Factory, Fourth Wall Creative, Jellyfish Pictures, Ltd, King Bert, Hopster and Moonbug

While winners are working and honing their skills inside one of these industry leading companies, they'll also have access to a established industry mentor, who will nurture them to make the most of the opportunity and help them make decisions about their  future growth and direction. 

Furthermore, a series of money-can’t-buy creative workshops will be offered by industry insiders dedicated to giving entrants the inside track on everything they need to know to take their talent to the next level. Mentors, sessions and speakers will be announced in due course. 

Who it's for

The scheme is dedicated to placing creatives of colour into some of the country’s best animation studios and is open to illustrators and animators from Black, Asian and minority ethinic backgrounds. Applicants must also be 18 years or older at the time of the competition closing date, which is 28 May 2021, with winners announced in June 2021. 

How to apply

Illustration and animation in the children’s media industry still has some way to go to truly offer meaningful employment opportunities for people of colour. The Secret Story Draw’s mission is to ensure that the people creating content for young people in this country are as representative as possible.

For further information and guidance on how to enter please visit the competition website

Applications close on 28 May 2021.

The Secret Story Draw

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