Monday, 25 February 2013

Feedback 19th Feb Writing For Film Making

Both groups were together once again for this engaging workshop led by script writer Danny Stack.
Danny showed the group his directed short film 'Origin' and explained the script and production elements behind it. He also explained to the group how to construct ideas for a script and then how to put them into practice.
The group learnt the Three Act Structure of script writing  and then it's 5 main story beats.

The group looked at loglines and how they can become extremely useful as powerful punch lines.

George - "wow he knew his stuff'
Clarissa - "I thought that was really good"
Lewis - "It was nice meeting up with the Wolverhampton group again"

Feedback 12th Feb Documentary Techniques

Don led a very exciting workshop that engaged the group into thinking what processes goes into making a documentary short film. The group where introduced to the history of documentary for film. They were asked what is a Fact? How to create characters from factual and evidential materials. Where can we find sources of information from our historical media past? Word of mouth, press, photographs, written documentation.

This was a great insight into documentary films.

 Jess "I really like the idea of making up a character from bits and bobs of random materials from my house"

Tyler "really interesting, I can use this new information in many areas"

Half Term Drop In Sessions

The half term week produced some exciting animation styles. The students were able to have a surgery storyboard session with Donna and to pick her brains about any industry or production questions. Adam was available for Arts Award quires and allowing the students to start the Arts Award blogs.
Spence and Jamie were able to help run and guide the students into there chosen animation technique.


Clarissa experimenting with a silhouette technique.

Animation Setup stations at Wem


The Motion Graphic Suit at Wolverhampton

Traditional Hand Drawn Animation.

1 on 1 Storyboard Surgery Sessions.

Students helping each other out.


Storyboard ideas.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Some photos from Wolves group

Pip drawing her character from paper to computer.

 Class discussion for story ideas.

Class working on animation tweens. Oliver working on a chicken. (bottom right)

What do we know about world war 2? Get writing. 

Discussion on truth and fact. (Shame Sam looks tired here, he wasn't!)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Feedback for Thurs 14th Feb

Thursday 14th Feb,
Documentaru Techniques
Teacher - Don Adamson


The teaching session involved techniques on how to write documentary and how we percieve it. A crash course and introduction test with the students on what we take as truth or a fact. The students had to group up in pairs and say their name and a fact about themselves, such as favourite hobby, a family member or what they had for breakfast for example. The class enjoyed the discussions of certain facts that they were sharing and if they were true or false. 

Throughout the evening, Don showed various examples of documentary of animals, non fiction and also fiction and asked the students how they follow what they believe to be fact. This led to multiple class tasks in groups to write on A2 paper as to what they know about World War 2 and the London Olympics. Then finally ended on the students being shown a various assortment of 'evidence' and for them to make a story out of it.

It was all postive feedback the students gave;
  • They all pretty much agreed that they loved that Don kept them involved and engaged throughout. 
  • Two students loved the freedom to share their thoughts. 
  • All liked that they were constantly active in practical class tasks and group discussions.
  • One group enjoyed being shown a diverse list of documentary types and understanding the difference.
  • Realising that something such as fact or truth can be percieved differently by different people.

In specific, the final class task of the class studying and sharing their thoughts on the pieces of evidence to make a story led to some quite funny and clashing leading to discussion which was fantastic to listen to.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Comments from Academy students’ parents

 Some comments from Academy students’ parents

Following notification of an Offer of a Place at the Academy (to their son/daughter)

"We would like to thank the BFI for putting on events like this, hopefully you will be rewarded when the next generation of British filmmakers comes on stream. Elizabeth certainly intends to do her part in this."

Father of Elizabeth-Valentina Sutton


"Nice to know everything has been arranged so thoroughly. [Jenny] is really looking forward to the programme so thank you for giving her the opportunity"

-Mother of Jenny Hill


"I am really pleased that Sabrina has been given this opportunity"

-Mother of Sabrina Davis

"I am more than happy for Philippa to participate in the BFI Film Academy programme and we are pleased you were able to offer her a place...she is looking forward to the experience and I am sure it will help her with her ambition within the field of animation."

-Mother of Philippa Williamson


"Thank you very much. We are very proud to support Jess with her path to success."
-Father of Jess Owen

Following the Opening Weekend:

"Thank you for giving Jenny a lovely weekend. She was enthusiastic about showing us a lot of the animations she’d been shown, and she not only learned but enjoyed herself, so thank you very much.

She’s now looking forward to the Wem sessions, and I can’t wait to see how she develops her own animation"

-Mother of Jenny Hill

Monday, 11 February 2013

Student Work Wem

A selection of work from the first two week sessions at Wem.

Jess's first ever attempt at hand-drawn...

Amber and Clarissa's first ever attempt... to follow

facebook group

Both the facebook page and the facebook group are really providing a fantastic tool for idea's sharing and as an influence library. The group is also being used for feedback advice.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Feedback, Jan 31st/Feb 7th Animation Techniques

Animation Technique and Processes
Jan 31st and Feb 7th

Teacher - Graham Lock
Wolverhampton Site

For the past two Thursday sessions, the students have been heavily involved in seeing and practising different techniques in Animation such as traditionally (like Joanna Quinn) and digitally, using tweens and stop motion. A run through course on programs like Adobe Flash, TV Paint and briefly After Effects, Premiere Pro aswell as a tour of the facilities like the rostrum room and sound booth, there was enough insight for the students to know how the animation process works. 

They enjoyed the examples of work being shown such as animation tests from Pixar film Ratatouille, how Joanna Quinn animates, expressive animated walk cycles and adverts to cartoons that use tweening style animation. 

For their class tasks, we asked them to open up Flash and first just learning the tools and workspace and trying to draw. Some were able to make some very impressive work using the mouse. Afterwards, on Feb 7th, they were handed a template of a man provided by Graham to tween into a walk cycle.

Some of the students got really into it! Some showed natural talent off the bat whilst some struggled but we were on hand always to provide help and aid them. At the end, they all had something they had made each showing a different variant walk cycle. 

For the evening, we brought toys, moved into the rostrum room and had a go at stop motion animation. After explaining how to use the cameras and how to record footage, laughs all around as students both had fun and were able to make stories out of what toys were available such as King Kong getting revenge for his baby monkey. Two students, Phillipa and Tom instead took on the challenge of doing animation on paper using a lightbox. After giving them a few tricks to use when animating on paper, the result was a smooth and well done animation.

  • Students were happy with the support being provided constantly throughout.
  • Valentina was amazed at how she managed to make a walk cycle on a program she has never used before and ever tried doing before. 
  • Impressed by the sound booth room. Carl and Nathan asked to use for some recording. 
  • Had very good fun with stop motion. One saying that it was easily their favourite task so far because of how approachable and hands on it was.
  • Phillipa enjoyed doing traditional animation on paper. Had a big smile on her face when she captured it on film and saw it played back in motion.

On the side;
  • A student would like the sessions to be longer. They are really getting into it but run out of time. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wem Town Hall's First Two Weeks

Thought I'd write a little note on how the Wem side of things have been going for the first two evening sessions at Wem Town Hall.

1st Week:
In the first week the group looked at different animation equipment including light-boxes, camera leads and tripods, lighting and various different software. I then introduced the group to all the fundamental animation techniques showing what equipment is used and showing examples of work.

We looked at traditional animation, hand drawn using a light-box - Joanna Quinn. Cel animation and the History of such techniques.
We looked at Rotoscope (clips off youtube) and pixilation techniques - Norman McLaren 'Neighbours'.
We looked at various Stop Motion styles including the short animation 'Gulp' created on a smart phone.
In the second half I then split the group into two groups. One group had to make a quick 2 second (48 frames) hand-drawn animation using the lightbox, paper and pencils. The 2nd group then did some digital rotoscope animation using a skateboarding video, graphics tablet and drawing ontop of the video using photoshop.
After 45 mins the 2 groups changed around. Whilst they were swapping techniques each group showed the other group what to do. This was recorded to form part of their 'Bronze Arts Award'.

Ben- 'Wow Jess your animation is amazing'
Sophie - 'I can't wait to try hand-drawn animation, I'm pretty good at drawing!'
Claire- 'OMG you can really see the movement in my rotoscope skateboarder!'
Lewis- 'I think I might use rotoscope and hand-drawn in my final animation'

2nd Week:
This week we looked at computer generated animation's and techniques.
I introduced the group to Anime Studio Pro. A great software that bridges a slight gap between 2D and 3D animation.
Each group member designed a simple 2D character and rigged it up using bones. Then step by step they were shown how to keyframe the character and make simple movements. First everyone made their character wave. Then Jump and some managed a walking cycle.
Backgrounds were introduced and we started to animate the foreground with the background.
It was very exciting and I think everyone realized the difference between computer generated and traditional types of animation. It feels like the group will be a mixture of traditional hand drawn animations and computer generated.
Best Quotes of the day:
Leanne - 'OK, anime studio is really easy, I love it'
Leanne 10 mins later - 'OMG it's sooooooooo hard!'
Tyler - 'Wow it's not as bad as what it first seemed'
Jenny - 'I like anime studio, I can't wait to try a 3D software'

Some pics will follow!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Facebook Group

On Facebook, aswell as the Facebook page for the academy, one of the students very keen on the course made a private Facebook group aswell. It's a place where the students can share their work, help each other, give feedback, advertise events and post research and video material. So far the students have been enjoying using it when outside of session as they can keep in touch and up to date both with the other students and with the mentors and teachers. Examples shown above are students talking about their progress, one showing their sketch work with feedback and another advertising a networking session they could attend.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Student Feedback for Jan 26/27th

Session: Pre-production workflows, storyboards and pitching
Presented by: Sam Moore, Peter Fraser (Guest) and Spence Whalen


Feedback from the students was overly positive and they were genuinely quite pleased with the tasks and structure of the session. 
  • They were given many different styles to look at from various animators such as Joanna Quinn and Lotte Reiniger. They picked up on things they had not known about before.
  • The students enjoyed writing their own short stories and comparing them to each other. They had the freedom to make up what they wanted with pointers being given to help them achieve it.
  • One student in particular really liked standing on stage and pitching his story idea to the class. 
  • There was a lot of back and fourth freedom and questions between the lecturer/s and the students so they felt involved with the teaching.

Some other points of note however;
  • One student wasn't 100% keen on the theatre type seating arrangements as he found it awkward for group discussions. This however was needed with the amount of students present. By the next session (Thursday) we moved to a classroom.  
  • Two students found the sessions overly animation heavy with little examples of live action being shown. With more interest in live action, they had difficulty writing a short story (because of the examples being animation).