Animating Dubbo

22 November 2012

Year 11 students from the Dubbo Senior College have been highly animated the last few days, especially since participating in the first-regional Compass Stop Motion Animation program facilitated by Jack McGrath, a Sydney College of the Arts lecturer and filmmaker.

Stop Motion Animation is a fun, engaging workshop that introduces students to the basics of film and video production. The program engages the students across a number of key learning areas including literacy and ICT skills, as well as complementing the design and technology syllabus. As McGrath points out, "Creativity [itself] is an asset and needs to be developed as much as other areas of the curriculum."

The workshop gives students the opportunity to produce their own stop motion animation. This process requires students to have a clear idea of a narrative arch as well as real attention to detail. Characters and objects are photographed one frame at a time, then edited to create a short film. The creative, hands-on process of the stop motion medium is highly engaging for all students. The course introduces students to the fundamentals of the animation production process; from developing an idea through to execution and screening. Working in small groups, the students develop a narrative storyboard, create characters and props, produce a short film and add final effects.

One of the great outcomes of the program is that students have a final product that they are able to add to their portfolio if they choose to continue with further study or work in the creative arena.

"The thing I love most about this program is I can never predict what the students will create. It is like a magic cauldron; you put the right ingredients in (techniques and structure), and you are constantly amazed by what comes out," said McGrath.

Jack expressed great admiration for the students and staff at Dubbo senior college. The enthusiasm, creativity and imagination of the Dubbo students and their teacher, Jodie Gadem resulted in three great films at the end of the three- day workshop.