My name is Poppy, and I am one of the recent additions to the Fettle Animation team.
Since working at Fettle, I’ve enjoyed working in a creative space and seeing first-hand the animation creation process. I have contributed to the action by creating a presentation for Sheffield University showcasing Fettle’s work, working with the Open University to edit our script on the Greek tragedy, Medea, and promoting Fettle’s work online.
My favourite part of working here has been networking with the film and TV tycoons of Yorkshire. It’s important to represent the north in media and I am proud to be a part of a business which brings work to Yorkshire. I have loved my opportunity to work at Fettle because every day is different, and I know I can get a lot out of this placement.
I grew up in Ipswich although I have a strong connection to the North West. 2 of my 4 siblings were raised in Cumbria and my mother is from Birkenhead, just outside Liverpool. My grandma was from Chester, so although I lived in Ipswich as a child, a lot of my time was spent enjoying the Cheshire countryside.
At school we never had the funding for any film programmes and so I never actually realised this was an industry I wanted to be involved in until university. Watching films directed by Spike Lee and Richard Ayoade is what made me want to start a career in film. I was so inspired seeing directors exceeding my expectations of what you can do on screen. The precision that Lee and Ayoade bring to all of their projects to tell introspective and important stories is something I can’t help but appreciate.
I have suffered with mental health problems since early adolescence. At its worst, there were periods where I couldn’t get out of bed or socialise without having a panic attack. This worried me even more because I felt like I would never be able to get a job. With counselling, small life changes, and moving out of London has meant that the worst of my anxiety has been under control for a little while, but I feel like it will be something I always live with. The effects of mental illness have knocked my confidence in my abilities. Therefore, I have loved the opportunity to work at Fettle as they are such an understanding team. They have given me the freedom to explore areas of the animation process that I am interested in and been accommodating for any needs or requirements I might have.
As a result of some of my struggles, I was accepted to Fettle on the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) placement scheme. This is a positive action scheme which helps to improve diversity within the film and television industry throughout Yorkshire and the Humber. SIGN connects companies, support agencies and universities and helps to train and develop those employed through SIGN during the course of their placement. The experience has really been positive for me as I feel well supported in my role.
Education and free time
Before the world of Fettle and film, I studied for a comparative literature degree at Queen Mary, University of London where I realised I had a passion for post-colonial literature. So, when I came to do my Master’s in English literature at the University of Leeds, indigenous literature and post-colonial literature were the topics I focused on. I have lived in Leeds on and off for 3 years now and it is the best place I have ever lived. The city has a buzz about it with a lot of things to do but, unlike London, I never feel overwhelmed here. My favourite thing about Leeds, and Yorkshire in general, is that even if people are not from here, people care about this region and everyone I know here feels so proud to be involved with this part of England.
I’m not all about the work though! Since living in Leeds, in my free time I have found a passion for skateboarding. I love how you can fall down over and over again but when you get up, you will be a little bit better than last time. I like the community that has come with skating as you meet people who do it for all different reasons and so you always meet interesting people.
Before working for Fettle, I had a couple of roles which prepared me for this position. During university I worked in a pub in East London, and The Fenton in Leeds. I always loved the characters you would get here because they were pubs that attracted a wide range of people and no two customers were the same. I loved having such a social role and it’s one of the best things I have ever done to improve my confidence. Early in 2020, I was lucky enough to be chosen for the work experience programme at The Guardian just before the pandemic. This was an incredible opportunity, and I loved the excitement that comes from working in a fast-moving environment. My work experience has been nothing if not varied, because during the third lockdown I was an administrator for a legal firm. Although this was not a career path I was interested in pursuing as I have a more creative way of thinking, this really prepared me for office working. I enjoyed interacting with clients and creating a community with my colleagues.
And looking to the future
My work at Fettle has really inspired me and actually sparked a desire to get better at art, something I have never been good at but always admired. You can see me most recently at Left Bank Leeds on a Thursday at their life drawing classes. I can’t wait to see where my Fettle journey takes me as I know I still have so much to learn about the world of animation.
Fettle have extended my placement for a further three months beyond the end of the scheme – looking forward to learning more!