Animation Research managing director Ian Taylor at work in
his office yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
In April last year, Animation Research managing director
Ian Taylor entered the Moray Pl offices of his Dunedin company
with every intention of closing it down.
A deal to provide graphics for cricket in India had gone
sour, with the company pulling out of a contract that had
been signed, and his legal advice was that it could take 20
years before a case reached court.
The future was looking bleak.
"For me, it looked like I could not do this any more. It's
all over," he said. "By the time I'd gone in [to work], I'd
By a twist of fate, on that same April day, front page news
in the Otago Daily Times was that Fisher and Paykel would be
making 430 people redundant.
That news made Mr Taylor think twice about his decision.
"I thought 'I can't do it today. I'll do it next week'."
In the course of the week, he considered all his options, and
by taking measures such as selling shares in a business the
company owned, he found a way to pay his bills and keep the
company going on a month-to-month basis.
He was helped by staff who told him the company had been
going too long for him to give up on it - and that he should
fight it out.
As the year progressed, work began to come in, including a
contract for a 3D film for Te Papa, the Louis Vuitton Cup and
Formula One work for the BBC.
"It's just fate really - you've got to look at it and
In a difficult economic environment, communication between
the city's businessmen and women was important, and saving
workers' jobs should be their aim, Mr Taylor said.
"I just think the future is tough for everyone. It's so easy
to be sitting here and thinking you're on your own; you're
the only one doing it hard.
"In these times, we should be talking more to each other, not
The money earned from the BBC contract was not its most
important aspect, he said.
"I thought 'we are going to win this to save jobs'. In small-
to medium-sized enterprises, it's all owners of these
businesses think about."
Larger businesses could make 10% of their workforce
redundant, but for those smaller businesses "if you lay
someone off, it's a Nathan or a John, and you know their