Reflection – BFI Animation Camp 2019

Two weeks after our sixth annual animation camp, and the team here at Calling The Shots have had time to catch our breath and reflect on the phenomena that is, the BFI Film Academy Animation camp.

And what an amazing week it was. We had twenty-five young people from across the UK trying out new techniques and making their own animated shorts. They tried everything from making images with sand to lip-syncing plasticine characters and achieving natural movement with wire frame figures.

The final films included an exploration of depression expressed through a tree invading a house, a dedicated museum employee saving the collection by using a seascape to put out a fire and an octopus wreaking havoc on small town America. You can get a sense of the amazing work they produced in our preview trailer for next-years camp.

Over the week, we aim to mix practical production-based learning with a few formal teaching sessions (covering story development and model making techniques). We also bring in a number of practicing industry professionals to talk about their own careers. We call these sessions ‘my job, my journey’ and we ask them to show some examples of their work, talk about how they got started and get them to talk about the teams of practitioners they work with in their practice. We also devote one session in the week to helping our participants think about their own next steps to join the industry. This session is modelled on a speed-dating event and sees or young animators rotating round a series of bases where they can explore university entrance, apprenticeships and freelance working.

We rounded the week off with visits to Aardman Animations and the School of Animation at UWE and with a screening of the work produced at the Cube cinema in Bristol. Thanks to Ossie Parker for being one of our speakers and for saying a few words about the group’s work after our screening. The visits on our final day to UWE and then Aardman were a great success. Great work everyone, we loved working with you!

Film Academy is the BFI’s offer to talented 16-19 year olds across the UK who have a passion for film. Film Academy encompasses over 40 locally based courses, as well as a series of intensive residential hot-housing courses that focus on specific skill areas and are delivered by film industry training providers across the UK.

Calling The Shots have been part of Film Academy from the start, delivering a week-long national stop-motion animation camp for 25 passionate young animators in partnership with Aardman Animations and UWE School of Animation (check the BFI website to see the other courses that include screen writing, VFX and documentary production).

Take a look at our collective behind the scenes film

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