Inside Anorak TV

by Steve Watson in January 2014
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The second episode of Anorak TV came out yesterday, bringing Anorak off the page and onto the screen (see for yourself below). It’s much shorter than episode one, which ran to nearly 20 minutes, so I caught up with Anorak founder Cathy Olmedillas to talk about the changes, the perils of iTunes, and mixing work with family fun.

This episode is much shorter than the first one – down to under eight minutes. What’s behind the change?
The first one was very ambitious – I worked with illustrator Matt Bromley and it took us about six months to get it sorted. We sold it through iTunes, and managed to sell around 2,500 at 99p each, but promoting it was a massive challenge. I found iTunes very faceless and that made it difficult to drum up interest in something we’d spent so long making.

Of course I run Anorak on my own, which means I don’t have lots of time and money to spend on a project like this, so for the second episode I decided to make something smaller, which focuses on promoting the magazine. There’s really no big business strategy behind it. Maybe there should be!

You say 2,500 sales was disappointing, but I think it’s really impressive.
It was frustrating. This time it’s available for free on YouTube and the aim is just to bring Anorak to life. Maybe when a friendly millionaire comes along and wants to invest we’ll go monthly and do more, but for now I’m happy.

This time we worked much more quickly. The music was by Oswald Skillbard, the animation and editing was done by Martin Senyszak, illustration was by Jurg Lindenberger, I directed and shot it, and the presenter was this very hot young talent called Oscar Olmedillas Benady.

It looks like you and Oscar had a great time making it. If I’d had to guess, I’d have said your motivation for making the video was probably 50% promoting the magazine, and 50% you and your son wanting to have fun at the weekend.
Well everything I do with Anorak is very much related to my relationship with Oscar. If he hadn’t come along I would never have thought of starting the magazine, and these days all our holidays are Anorak-related. For example we went to Denmark for the Vikings issue, and we’re always going off to visit castles and do things like that for various sections of the magazine!

So he’s always very involved in Anorak, but this time I decided to put him centre stage and he handled it amazingly well. He didn’t need to rehearse or anything – he just stood in front of the camera and did his thing.

How old is he now?
He’s 11.

You know he’s not going to want to keep doing it for much longer. You’re going to have to find a new star!
Ahah! Yep he soon will be too self-conscious and awkward!

So what’s next for Anorak TV? When can we expect to see episode three?
I love illustration, and meeting illustrators and seeing where they work, as we do in episode two with Maria Middtun. I want to build the episodes around those illustrator interviews and we’ve got the next one set for February, with Adam Higton, who’s based in Bristol. It’ll take a few weeks to get everything else together, so the next episode should be out around March. That will tie in with the release of the new issue too – I’d like to have a new one out for each issue, so four per year.


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