Pyjama Films Seeks Talents for a 4,5-million-euro Animation Project

The Turku-based company uses Business Finland’s Talent funding for its biggest recruitment process so far, which also reaches out to international talents.

Business Finland’s Talent Funding

  • The funding is available to SMEs and midcaps seeking international growth with an own product, service, or business model that stands out from the competition.
  • The goal of the funded measures should be to increase the internationalisation skills of the company’s own personnel. The main content of the project is development and piloting, not surveys.
  • The amount of Talent funding is EUR 20,000-50,000. Funding from Business Finland will cover 50 percent of the project costs, which can be between EUR 40,000 and 100,000.
  • The funding is a non-repayable grant. No advance is paid – the full amount of the funding will be paid on completion of the final report. Talent financing is granted to a company only once.

Read more on Talent funding here.

The times are exciting for the Turku-based animation studio Pyjama Films. The company is launching the production of a 4,5-million-euro animation series and is looking for new talents for the project. In the coming months they will need production and design specialists and a co-director.

Pyjama Films’ core team: CEO Terhi Väänänen, production manager Inari Halme and animation director Samppa Kukkonen.

– We need specialists with very specific artistic and technical skills. I am sure that we will have to look for qualified and experienced employees also from abroad, CEO Terhi Väänänen says.

The 13-episode Belzebubs animation series is based on the Finnish comic artist JP Ahonen’s comic strip series, which has gained a world-wide interest. The hilarious Belzebubs documents the everyday life of an occultist family and the twists and turns of the dad’s black metal band.

The project is co-produced by the Finnish broadcasting company Yle and the public broadcasters in Italy and Catalonia.

– First, we tried to get funding from the USA and Canada, but to our great surprise, the actual interest to fund the project lied in the catholic countries in Europe, Ms Väänänen says.

The Belzebubs creator JP Ahonen acts as the main scriptwriter and a visual consult in the project. The character, location, and overall design is also done in Finland.

I am sure that we will have to look for qualified and experienced employees also from abroad.

Terhi Väänänen, CEO

Clear Recruitment Paths

Until now, Pyjama Films has had a core team of four employees and a network of freelancers. For Belzebubs, the company is now looking for 15 employees for various positions. The longest contracts will be signed for a year.

Pyjama Films received Business Finland’s Talent funding to support its first major recruitment process.

This is the company’s first big recruitment process, and they have received Business Finland’s Talent funding to get through it. According to Väänänen, this funding helps in planning the recruitment and relocation processes carefully. Specialist services outside the company can also be used.

– The Talent project forces us to analyse and document the whole recruitment process in advance, Ms Väänänen says.

– This way we can do the recruitments properly and there will hopefully be no surprises when we get the employees here, Pyjama Films Production Manager Inari Halme adds.

Talents at the Office

Ms Halme and Ms Väänänen believe that selling the project to the talents will not be a problem. The project is interesting to the animation professionals, because there is so little adult content in the market and the makers will be in the target group of the Belzebubs series themselves.

According to Ms Väänänen, the biggest challenge is to get potential employees to come and work in Turku. This is a requirement of one of the funders of the project, West Finland Film Commission. Pyjama Films team has also noticed that in big projects, people work better together at the office.

Turku’s selling points are closeness to nature, compact size, and moderate living costs.

– In practice, all our work is communication between different professionals, and it is much faster at the office. Building a team spirit is easier and there is less confusion, Ms Halme says.

– And solving problems is much easier, when people work next to each other, Ms Väänänen adds.

When recruiting new talents, she is going to put an emphasis on the employees’ well-being. She thinks that Turku’s selling points are closeness to nature, compact size, and moderate living costs.

Focus on Own Projects

75 percent of Pyjama Films’s business is their own series and movies, and the rest consists of commercial orders, such as short explanation videos for corporate needs. Ms Väänänen hopes that in the future, Pyjama Films could focus solely on their own productions.

Our aim is to have a big production in the process all the time.

Terhi Väänänen, CEO

– I hope that in the next projects, a bigger share of the work would be done in Finland. This way we could hire more local animation professionals.

So far, the animation business in the Turku region is limited to a couple of companies. Ms Väänänen hopes that more and more business-minded animation professionals would have the courage to start new companies so that the ecosystem in the area would grow. The animation business is not tied to actors, thus building an animation industry outside the capital city is possible. There are encouraging examples of this abroad, Ms Väänänen says.

– And if we would have more animation studios and projects in the region, the professionals could work in another local company when we have a break in our production, she says.

Text: Heidi Pelander, Images: Pyjama Films, City of Turku