Comfort Arthur on stepping up to episodic director in animation with ScreenSkills’ support

ScreenSkills opened up a network in animation that Comfort Arthur didn’t previously have and enabled her to fulfil her dream of becoming an assistant director. Having found it difficult to break into the world of animation after graduating from both Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and then working as a supermarket assistant for several years, Comfort decided to move to Ghana and work there as an editor and make her own indie films.”

After returning to the UK with no experience of working in a commercial animation environment, she was selected for the ScreenSkills Make a Move programme, thanks to funding from both the Animation Skills Fund and the Children’s Skills Fund. Make a Move supports people to step up into a more senior role.

She said: “Being asked to join ScreenSkills’ Make a Move programme has helped me tremendously. The programme is enabling me to step up from assistant director to an  episodic directorial role where I will be able to focus on specific episodes and not need to be chaperoned any more. It has already helped me grow as a director and I can see from the first three months how I have evolved.”

Comfort believes that without the Make A Move programme, “it would be tricky for me to navigate into the creative space in the UK and get a job in the industry.” She continued: “I am working on an amazing children’s animated series called JoJo and Gran Gran and without Make a Move, I don’t think I would have been hired. A Productions who make JoJo and GranGran have been amazing with inclusion. They always ask me what my opinion is in meetings – that’s something I really love. As a black woman, it makes such a difference to have positive and inclusive dialogue and so much support.”

On her hopes for her – and the industry’s – future, she added: “There are not many female animation directors and to come in this space right now as a person of colour, especially to work on a series about a young black girl, it means a lot to me. I hope I will inspire a lot of black women to get into animation.”