board workshop introduces students to animation
studio at the back of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation building
in Iqaluit is pitch-black. The only light comes from a cartoon being
screened at the front of the room.
12 children sit watching the animated film. It ends, the lights
come on, and the children scurry back to their tables and hunch
over small stacks of paper stapled together at the top.
first class of a four-day animation workshop for youth offered by
the National Film Board is winding down.
is the time-consuming art of drawing pictures in sequences, which,
when viewed rapidly, simulate motion.
Julie Hanson-Akavak happily shows the flip book she has created.
was fun," she says turning the pages of her booklet. She has
drawn a series of pictures of the tundra in sequence. On later pages
a flower pokes it head up through the ground. When she flips the
pages quickly, it looks like the flower is growing.
from the NFB were in Iqaluit, Pangnirtung and Cape Dorset a few
months ago scouting for artists with an interest in animation for
three workshops to be held later this year.
visited Iqaluit's Beth McKenty at her home near the beach. McKenty
offers painting sessions for children, and the producers were so
impressed that, with her urging, they decided to offer one workshop
for children in the territory's capital.
Tanziazic from the NFB centre in Winnipeg is here to teach the workshop
and speaks gently to the children as they finish today's project.
we shot your flip book yet?" he asks nine-year-old Alukie,
who shakes her head.
flip-book is placed on a white piece of paper fastened to a desk
under a digital video camera. A laptop computer is on the desk beside
it, and another child sits to do the shooting by pressing a computer
first page of the book, which simply shows Alukie's name, is shot
'enter' 12 times," Tanziazic coaches. The next page is shot
eight times and the rest three. As Alukie turns the pages and holds
the book down, you can see a flower growing blue petals and the
yellow and orange sun in the sky getting gradually brighter.
great," Tanziazic says to Alukie's smile. After a few clicks
of the mouse and a few seconds of processing, Alukie's film plays
on the computer screen. It looks just like a rough cartoon.
the students have gone for the day, Tanziazic explains he tries
to help them to realize how long it takes to create animation and
to feel what it's like if they want to pursue it as a career.
why we start with flip-books," he says. "Often the first
few drawings are great." And then the quality tends to diminish.
But once they see their own film, even though it's fairly rudimentary,
it's enough to keep them motivated to try the next step.
they have an idea of how things move on screen, the students will
work with paper cutouts, again shooting them in sequence to make
a short film before trying claymation.
of these guys have done any animating before," he says of the
Iqaluit group, but he's sure by the time they start claymation -
creating three-dimensional models that are moved slightly each time
a shot is taken - they'll be comfortable with the concepts.
give them an idea of how long that takes, their final exposure will
be to a technique called cell animation, a traditional way of making
animation where each picture is actually painted on a piece of plastic.
classes are a fairly new phenomenon, Tanziazic says, because making
a film 10 to 15 years ago was very expensive.
computers and programs were costly and the traditional labour-intensive
technique was just as prohibitive because it had to be shot on film
- also expensive. Today all Tanziazic needed was a laptop, a computer
program that can be downloaded from the Internet, and a camera.
can even use a Web cam," he says.
youth may not grow up to work on the next Finding Nemo movie or
South Park series, but they will leave the workshop with a sense
of accomplishment and, Tanziazic says, a better understanding of
how animation is made.
for Julie Hanson-Akavak, that's just fine. She doesn't want a career
want to be a policewoman," she says, taking her flip-book and
heading out the door.