Kath Shackleton

Job title:
Producer and Founder

Career Path

Kath worked as a local government arts development officer for 12 years before setting up Zoom Animation to run education projects with partner animator Zane Whittingham, at a time when there were few opportunities for animators in the region. Producing education projects enabled Kath and Zane to be able to fund the production of personal films. As the scale of the operation expanded that they decided that would rather focus on animation production and set up Fettle Animation in 2012.

The Role

Fettle is a small, award winning studio that specialises in children’s media and animated documentary work. As these projects take a long time to develop, Fettle also produces short commercial projects and music videos that have a quick turnaround to help cash flow the business and keep the studio afloat.

At any one time Kath can have around six projects in development and spends around half her week on creative development and relationship building, and the other dealing with the business.

Kath runs the studio with Zane and they currently have two staff and an intern. They have a family ethos and are loyal to people they have worked with before, bringing them into productions when they can. The studio is not currently in a position to take on any additional production staff, as much as Kath and Zane enjoy training and supporting people. As with many small studios the staffing structure is quite lean with the focus on the creative team that directly deliver projects. 

Kath has had to learn some of the less creative aspects of the role such as finance, legal and health and safety on the job, which has sometimes been a challenge. However, there is plenty of help out there and Kath has learnt to ask in advance for help when needed. Kath has got into a sound routine and now works with a strong external support team to keep on top of what needs to be done.

It has taken the past few years for Kath to learn about the industry and to make the necessary contacts and connections. Being someone who is naturally adept at networking Kath attends conferences and events such as the Children’s Media Conference (CMC), based in Sheffield, where it is easy to speak with important industry professionals.

Kath has built good relationships with a range of other creative companies and individuals, locally and nationally, so that Fettle can rapidly access additional information and skills to meet the demands of any animation brief. Their network includes actors, writers, composers, musicians, editors, sound people, app developers and other creative media companies.

Kath attends a wide range of networking events, from general business conferences and networking events (via Chamber of Commerce and other business organisations), to wider creative industry networking events (via the local authority and regional organisations), Creative England crew and facilities events, animation festivals and Creative Skillset events. She commits time to going ongoing professional development in general business skills and creative sector skills via training courses and seminars, which are an important way of gaining new contacts and skills. 



Sign up to our email newsletter for all the latest news and updates from across the screen-based creative industries to help your career, project or company.

Sign up