VT 002 : How to Grow an International Animation Studio with Tom Box from Blue Zoo

By June 25, 2020 July 2nd, 2020 Podcasts


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W hen you start a company straight out of university, you never really know where you’ll end up – what adventures, trials and tribulations the future of your business will bring.


For Tom Box and his 2 uni-mates, Blue Zoo was formed just at the right point in time when broadcast quality computer animation became possible. The three of them setup shop in a London studio and grew what is now an internationally-acclaimed BAFTA award-winning animation powerhouse. In this incredibly layered interview, Tom delves into the mindset and values of what built Blue Zoo into one of the most successful animation companies in the UK, how animation has changed over his career and what makes a successful business.

You’ll learn how Blue Zoo went from 3 uni-graduates to an internationally successful animation business with over 200 staff. He talks openly about challenges he’s faced and how the value he places on his team members ensures the best productivity and motivation. In 2018 Blue Zoo opened a brand new online democratic community course for animators to learn techniques of 3D animation, called Animdojo. They were still hiring staff during the Coronavirus pandemic!

This was one of the first interviews recorded for Video Talks.
I hope you enjoy this deep dive into Tom’s creative journey.

You'll Learn
  • How to start an animation company while in your final year

  • The beauty of starting from scratch and working out your own way of doing things

  • The challenge of having no contacts

  • Making your own luck

  • Embracing problems as challenges

  • Reshaping teams

  • Making the quality of your work the priority

  • Cultivating collaboration & workflow

  • The power of releasing short films – and the benefits for staff motivation

  • Giving your staff trust and respect

  • Creating formats and shows

  • The challenges of market positioning when you’re known for a niche

  • Running a successful company with passion

  • Risks in business

  • How your reputation should never be taken for granted

  • How to always be positive

  • How to critique your own work

resources & links

Blue Zoo site

Blue Zoo Short Films
The Idea

Numberblocks & Alphablocks

For animation beginners

Journals for planning

Affordable Animation Training

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