BFI Animation and Art Department Camp FAQs 2022

Here you should find everything you need to know about both our BFI Animation AND our brand new Art Department Camp: including what we’ll be getting up to during the week, bursary information and importantly… what mealtimes are like!

If you have more questions, please email: animation@callingtheshots.co.uk or artdept@callingtheshots.co.uk and we will be happy to help

What happens during the week on the Animation Camp?

Every day is different! Before the camp, there will be an introduction to the course on a Saturday afternoon, during which you’ll find out more about what’s in store for the week.

The whole week is really hands-on. We start with a full day of trying out new techniques. Everyone gets to try out seven techniques, including pixelation, lip-syncing, working with a wireframe armature and sand animation.

Over the next five days, you will work in a team of five to devise a story and write the script, make all your models and sets before shooting and animating your own short film. At the end of the week, we go to the Cube Cinema in Bristol to watch our finished films.

During the week, there will be talks with practising professionals who will give you an understanding of their careers and how they started out in the industry.

We spend one evening discussing progression routes – helping you to think about your own next steps to join the animation industry.  We will also visit the UWE School of Animation and take a tour around the Aardman Studio so that you can see what it is like to work in a professional stop motion animation studio!

Listen to the experiences of past participants on this little film:

What happens during the week on the Art Department Camp?

We will be learning about all the different roles in the art department for High-End TV and Film. Using a produced BBC TV script, we will use industry techniques to research and visualise an Edwardian Manor House (we will be based day to day in a hotel from that period) and prepare designs and models for a World War II period drama. There will be a chance to share these later in the week with an invited audience at the Cube Cinema in Bristol.

During the week, there will be talks with practising professionals who will give you an understanding of their careers and how they started out in the industry, as well as a progression evening to help you to think about your own next steps in the TV and film industry. 

There will be a day trip to visit the University of South Wales TV and Film Design BA Course in Cardiff and a tour of a Film Studios and professional prop house, where items are prepared and stored for use ‘on set’.

At the end of the week, we will visit the famous Bottleyard Studios in Bristol for a behind the scenes tour of set construction and art direction at work, before joining the Animation students at Aardman Studios.

What happens if I don’t live in Bristol?

We’ll provide a coach from Bristol Temple Meads station to take everyone to the course venue at Barton Camp. We’ll agree personal travel arrangements with everyone before the camp to ensure they can get to Bristol safely. You can come by train, plane to Bristol airport, coach or get a lift to the station, but you will need to make your own travel plans. We want the course to be accessible to everyone, so we have a special bursary fund to ensure that travel cost is not a barrier to taking part.

How does the Bursary work?

Once you have been allocated a place you can apply for a bursary to cover your fee, your travel expenses, child care or any part of these. There are two bursary schemes with different ways of calculating if you are eligible. It is important that no student, wherever they live, should feel excluded because they can’t afford the costs. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

How competitive is it to get in?

We always receive more applications than the 25 places we have for each camp. We want to work with people who have made some definite steps towards a career in this industry. Whether you’re experimenting with stop-motion on TikTok, taking relevant art and design courses, researching or doing work experience, we understand that everyone is at different stages of their journey, but we’re looking most for commitment and passion for either stop-motion animation or the design side of TV and Film.

I’m at university, can I apply?

Unfortunately, the BFI Residential Camps are only available for those not in full-time higher education, and you must be aged 16-19 on the first day of the course. If you want to chat to us further about eligibility, please get in touch with the team at Calling The Shots. via bfiacademy@callingtheshots.co.uk

What happens after the course finishes?

Once the course finishes, Calling the Shots will keep in touch via Facebook/email for at least 6 months and provide you with a range of opportunities. These opportunities can include festival dates, training schemes, placements, bursaries, competitions, networking events and more. 

What are the career prospects within animation?

There are lots of options for a career in animation! From working as a 3D animator to working alongside an art department, a career in animator can take many forms. As an animator, you can expect to have an exciting and varied career.

Watch David Sproxton (co-founder of Aardman Animations) talk about careers in the animation industry.

What are the career prospects within the film art department?

There has never been a busier time for drama filming in the UK thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, as well as the BBC and Channel 4 and there is a big demand for people interested in roles behind the scenes. There are a huge range of jobs and career paths in the art department, including art director, prop artist, set dresser, storyboarding artist and production designer. The course will link your learning to career paths so you understand how you might progress.

What happens in the evenings?

We expect everyone to remain on-site throughout the week. You’ll have some busy evenings, but there will be time to relax! Some evenings, your team may choose to work on your project but we’ll also put on film screenings and career talks. The final evening is spent at The Cube Cinema in Bristol to share designs, watch films and celebrate your success on the course.

What rules will there be?

Rules at the camp are incredibly important to Calling the Shots and BFI. They are enforced to protect all participants. A significant proportion of students will be under 18, therefore we have a strict no-alcohol rule during the camp. Students will be allocated rooms before arrival and will not be allowed to move between rooms after a certain time in the evening. Needless to say, we have a zero-tolerance to bullying, anti-social behaviour, sexism, racism or drugs.

What time do people go to sleep and wake up?

As you will be sharing a room, there will need to be an agreed time to have the lights out. Usually, this is around 10.30 to be in your own rooms and then 11.30 for the lights to be out and no more noise.

There is a morning meeting at 8.50 and we start work at 9.00. Breakfast opens at 8.00 so again we will need an agreed time for you to be awake. Usually, this is about 7.30.

Will there be space and time for prayer?

We will make space and time for anyone who would like to pray during the camp and have respect for all spiritual needs.

I have a disability. Is the course accessible?

We actively encourage applications from disabled participants and therefore encourage conversations with participants about how we can adapt the course to suit your needs Physical access at the camp is good and we have worked with participants with wheelchairs before. Should you need a carer present during your time at the camp, we can discuss how this would work.

What is the food like?

Our chefs can cater for most dietary requirements. Once you have been accepted on to the course, you will receive a form, so that our chefs can cater for your needs.

Can I smoke?

Smoking and vaping is not permitted in any of the residential buildings or in the classrooms. There is a designated space outside the accommodation block.

What about COVID restrictions?

We expect all participants to be double-jabbed and to carry out Lateral Flow Tests before, and during, attendance at the camp. We will monitor the latest NHS, BFI and National Youth Agency advice and inform successful applicants of arrangements. If concerned please email: animation@callingtheshots.co.uk or artdept@callingtheshots.co.uk

Do you have the required child protection qualifications?

All staff have been trained in child protection and hold a current DBS (A check that they have not had a serious criminal conviction). There will always be at least eight members of staff (men and women) on-site providing care and security. We work in small teams with one member of staff attached to each production team. Our lead tutors, Steve and Kari, are responsible for overall wellbeing of everyone on site.