The Animator’s Guide on Relocating to Manchester





Moving homes can be a stressful business and it can be even scarier when you have to move to another country altogether! But sometimes it's a necessary step in the road to building a successful career.

Here at Brown Bag, we're thrilled to have over 30 nationalities all currently working under our roof!

Last month we did a guide on relocating to Dublin and this month we thought we'd bring you a guide on relocating to Manchester, where our growing 2d studio is based in The Sharp Project.

We asked a few of our newly Mancunian staff there to share their experiences of moving to Manchester (the good, the bad and the ugly), what makes them happy there and why they would recommend it to you!

Relocated from: Los Angeles, California

Relocated when: December 2015

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Manchester?

Getting a bank account, doing taxes, finding a place to live, and keeping in touch with family and friends have all been challenging but those are issues no matter where you relocate. Specific to Manchester, it would have to be the weather. I feel like a toucan in a freezer.

What have been some of the best bits?

Compared to LA, Manchester is small and very easy to get around. It makes it easy to meet up with all the awesome people I’ve met here. It’s also close to the rest of Europe so the French Riviera is now a weekend trip and not a trans-Atlantic journey.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Manchester?

I would recommend it. It’s good life experience to mix up your surroundings once and a while. For bonus points, don’t do any research before coming over. Just go. Figuring things out on the fly makes you a real baller.

Has moving to Manchester changed your work or routine?

Yes. Try as I might I can’t work in Los Angeles from here.

What did you find most useful when you moved there?

Tinder.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

The John Rylands library is highly recommended. It’s exquisite Neo-Gothic exterior is an uplifting presence in the midst of a modern world which bustles under its graceful shadows. Complimented only by its interior, with its high ceilings and artfully crafted windows, one could be forgiven for thinking they’re in a cathedral. Look again dear visitor, for this is a church of knowledge. Oh… and the Sainsbury’s nearby has reasonable prices on chicken.

What’s great about working in Manchester (The Sharp Project)?

The flapjacks at the cafeteria here are wicked good! By the way, flapjacks are just another name for pancakes in the states. Free factoid for you.

Relocated from: Bambuí – MG, Brazil

Relocated when: February 2016

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Manchester?

All the paperwork and bureaucracy. While still in Brazil, as soon as I got an answer from the studio about the position and that I was supposed to start in 2 months, I started to put together all the documents I needed and took an English test and had an interview at the British embassy as fast as I could, to have everything ready on time. I just got my passport back from the British embassy with the Visa one week before I travelled. After I arrived here, the never ending cycle of "You need to have a bank account to rent a place" and "You need to have an address to open a Bank Account" was a big challenge to pass through, but after one month I got it all sorted.

What have been some of the best bits?

Being in Europe is a really big deal for me. Just a walk around the city looks like a history class and I was lucky enough to make some great friends in the studio, from different parts of the world, willing to travel around and see different places like me.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Manchester?

Be prepared for a tough first month, but things are going to get better. The first month is a really big challenge, trying to survive with a low budget and having big expenses with trip, rent, etc. And of course the emotional part of leaving behind the people that you care about and arrive on your own in a place where you don't know anyone. But the animation community is usually really friendly and it doesn’t take that long to feel part of the group!

Manchester is a really nice city, the perfect size in my opinion. Not as big and crazy as London or other capitals, but big enough to have everything you need. Just be prepared for the weather. It rained two weeks non-stop when I arrived here, I thought it was never going to stop.

Has moving to Manchester changed your work or routine?

The working hours are more restrictive than what I was used to, which is actually good for me. I used to start working late in the morning or early afternoon and staying until late in the evening because I felt I worked better at that time, but now that I'm getting used to it, I feel like I'm getting the most of my day following the studio hours. Having a tennis table at the studio to play during breaks is a big, and good, change in my routine too.

What did you find most useful when you moved there?

Google Maps. People in the studio are really friendly and willing to help you with directions, but sometimes a map and a GPS is your best friend.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

The Manchester Art Gallery and the Library are amazing and I always enjoy going there. When the weather is nice I like to walk around the city center without a planned destination and go to the parks. Heaton Park is a great place to wander and see dogs playing and to do some sketching. On a weekly basis I go to the movies at Printworks and to Travelling Man to get new comic books and play Magic The Gathering.

What’s great about working in Manchester (The Sharp Project)?

The studio is not located in the city center, which means that the rent around the area is cheaper, and there is a tram stop just in front of the building that takes less than 15 minutes to get to the city center.

Relocated from: Vancouver / Mexico city

Relocated when: February 2016

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Manchester?

Trying to l̶e̶a̶r̶n̶  understand this language which is remotely similar to English. Finding a nice room in a flat is not that easy when you look like a normal person. Getting a bank account is harder than getting knighted by the queen. Avoiding stepping on slugs and crossing the streets.

What have been some of the best bits?

The weather and the food... encourages me to go out and explore Europe. Cheap flights and short distances is something to take advantage of. And pub Fridays!

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Manchester?

Yeah, Manchester is great, the creative scene is big and there's a lot of talent around, also if you love old things and water falling from the sky, this is the place for you!

Has moving to Manchester changed your work or routine?

Yes, I cycle less and go to the pub more.

What did you find most useful when you moved there?

Google Maps, Citymapper, Uber, SpareRoom etc. and a rain jacket.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

HOME cinemas, where you can watch good movies in a screen slightly bigger than your TV. La Casita in Chorlton, the only mexican restaurant with more than just burritos. Rock over climbing, a bouldering gym near Victoria station. Slice pizza in the northern quarter, opens late! Any pub.

What’s great about working in Manchester (The Sharp Project)?

Definitely the booths in the canteen! Perfect for the afternoon power nap, and of course the crazy and talented people around here.


Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Digital Media Coordinator and designated photographer.

http://issuu.com/daydreamerzine/docs/daydreamer

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