Aard act to spark local economy

Chris Gough working on the Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists film set
Chris Gough working on the Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists film set
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AN animator, nominated for an Oscar has set up his business in Blackpool.

Chris Gough, who worked on the Academy Awards nominated, Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists movie, and on the current BBC series of Shaun the Sheep has launched Ghost Light Workshop.

He specialises in stop-motion animation, the kind that made Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park famous.

He works with armatures, the metal frame inside the clay figures which allows them to be posed for the camera, and with rigging, metal supports which allow the characters to jump and fly on film.

Chris, 30, from Marton, had struggled to find a suitable workshop but Blackpool Council has stepped in to offer him space at the huge Illuminations department building.

The stop motion industry is said to be worth around £200m at the moment, and the council hopes Chris’s success will help spark the local economy and inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

Chris, who also worked on Aardman’s short films for the Olympics, said: “I did the work on the rigging for Pirates, which helps to create the effect of the animations flying or jumping.

“It was a small team so you could be really hands on and get involved with most shots.

“It would have been really cool to have won an Oscar for that film but never mind.

“I just love working in stop motion, but the jobs are still quite specific and you have to move around a bit for the work.

“I make the armatures and the rigging which supports the figures and which is airbrushed out in post production so they cannot be seen on the finished film.”

And so after a summer stint at Aardman in Bristol working on Shaun the Sheep he returned to Blackpool to be with his partner Heather and to set up Ghost Light Workshop.

He said: “I want to set up a local base that I can work from and see where things develop. Rather than working for a company, I am now able to concentrate on exactly what I want to do.

“I have already secured my first contract, working for a short film to be aired on SkyArts, which is fantastic.”

With help from Blackpool Council and Start Up Lancashire, Chris has been able to access the Government funds to help young people become entrepreneurs, as well as writing up business plans and finding contracts.

“The Get Started scheme has been amazing – I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I was initially trying to find an office and buy equipment so was looking at moving to Bolton, until the council found me a reason to stay in Blackpool with a perfect office and machinery that I can use to help the business. It’s a real weight off my mind and will keep the business in the town.”

Coun Gary Coleman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Urban Development said: “Chris’s background is absolutely fantastic – he has a proven skill and record in the stop motion industry.

“When we heard that he was looking to start up his own company, we were only too happy to help and give him all the advice we could to help him become a success.

“I’m sure that the time invested in Chris will come back five fold into the town, through his contracts, as well as creating jobs for other local animators around Blackpool.”

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