Friday, October 15, 2021

World Premiere of the Art Student's Animated Shorts

Trying to rewrite the curriculum every year, means that by now (year 9) I am stepping way outside my comfort zone and doing things I've never done before. But that's what being an artist means, making something that has never been made before. I got a Stop Motion app, made a make shift tripod for the iPad from a bag of clay, and my art students just started moving things around in front of the camera. Bottle caps, magnets, and lumps of clay. Animation takes 12 pictures to make every second of film, which means we needed over 1,000 photos for a 90 second film. At first students came up with the ideas as they went along. This was just practice. We went back to find back ground music and sound effects to reinforce the motions.

After we got familiar with the app, we started with the end in mind. A couple of students who improvised some pretty fun songs that we used for content. Students brainstormed ways to illustrate the song lyrics, created original claymation characters and built little sets.

We edited the films by adding titles and voice-over for all of the students who are legally blind (100% of the student body). I wanted to make a very big deal about the fact that animation had never been done before in the 170 year history of our school. Just sending links out in one of the hundred emails wasn't going to cut the mustard. I got a teacher to help me find gowns for my girls. I spent a week ironing brand new $135-225 donated white shirts. I learned to tie bow ties. I dusted off the big popcorn machine, bought drinks and chocolate bars for a mini film festival.  My students took turns at the podium introducing  the next film, the way they would introduce a winner at the Academy Awards. I really wanted them to feel like it was a red carpet event and they were each a star.

A claymation project by the Academy for the Blind's high school Art students

We printed and posted fliers around the school that read "The World Premiere of GAB Animated Shorts: Art Class Boogie, The Secret Life of Bottle Caps, Come Fix your Plate. Starring: Blurb, Bob, Awesome Possum, and the Neck Bones."

At the Assembly, we started with the film by the little kids in self contained classes, and worked our way up to the the Art Class Boogie. We also included a film of puppet jokes by the middle schoolers.

Elementary and Middle School art students from the GA Academy for the Blind try their hand at animation

High School Art students from the Ga Academy for the Blind try their hand at animation.

A student's improv song about food inspires an art class claymation video.

From moving magnets on a whiteboard to moving pictures on the big screen It was really fun to see these little iPad films get to be seen by the entire student body in the auditorium. We couldn't have asked for a more supportive audience. The school laughed when Bentlee said his named, clapped when Jordan spelled his name, and clapped along with the music.  Our World Premiere/ mini film fest/ animation celebration was totally worth the effort! Not too shabby for two weeks of animation experience in the classroom.

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