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Collaborate to bring a short film to life.

by | Jan 14, 2014

Credit: See students’ names in the bottom left corner of the video

One year ago, Animation Mentor announced a whole lotta awesome. We introduced the AMP Studio Production Pipeline to the world and changed the way we prepare students for the jobs in the industry.

The studios told us that they seek hires who excel at their craft AND understand how to collaborate within a production. Animation Mentor is the first to offer an educational experience that doesn’t just mimic production — it is production.

Character Animation Production Track graduate, Daniel Burns, drops by the blog to share the sequence his class brought to life — from story pitch to final short film. Huge props to mentor, Nicole Herr, and her students, Beau Pratt, Nawal Aldiqs, Maribel Zarate, and Daniel Burns for producing the short film: “Beginner’s Dance.”

– The Animation Mentor Crew

Tell us a little bit about this awesome short film!

Daniel: This really was a joy to work on, but it definitely was not a walk in the park. I think the hardest part was getting the story to fit into a 60 second timeline with shots that made sense. The original story was longer, and we ended up removing a few shots or combining them in order to get it how it would read best. For me, the most fun was watching the film grow each week and watching Lucy, the main character, come to life.

Working on this film was an awesome experience and it really got me itching to get into an actual studio so that I can continue this type of collaborative work.

Why did you take the Character Animation Production Track?

Daniel: I decided to journey into the Character Animation Production track because I knew it would be beneficial with the studio experience it provided. Bobby mentioned that one of the reasons for creating the new production track was because actual studios wanted graduates who were more experienced in a studio type environment, and to have a handle on shot hookups, etc. If the places I want to get a job at are requesting this kind of training, of course I’m all over it.

short film storyboard animation

What was your experience collaborating with other animators?

Daniel: I’ve worked on small teams for animated projects before, but this was definitely different. As I mentioned, communication between each of us was without a doubt the most important part of our process, so we established a time where we could all meet up outside of Q&As very early on and stuck with it.

We were all over the world, so finding a good time was tricky at first, but it really kept us moving in the right direction. For the pre-production, it was great to all have access to the same folders in AMP (the Animation Mentor production pipeline) – this helped us crank out film that wasn’t just bits and pieces thrown together, but a unified vision we all contributed to, all agreed on and were all satisfied with as well.

What kind of input did mentor Nicole Herr give to you?

Daniel: Nicole was awesome. She gave us just enough nudging to get us in the right direction, but really left the whole creative process up to us each week. It felt great knowing that we could approach Nicole about absolutely anything, and she’d give us honest feedback.

short film animatic cg

short film concept tips

What are the 3 most essential skills you learned?

1.) WORKING IN A TEAM is definitely different from tackling anything solo. I’ve had experience animating in a group before, but this was new for me. We were doing everything start to finish in 6 months with 4 animators which meant that communication was KEY!

2.) THINGS HAPPEN BEYOND YOUR CONTROL like technical issues or simply just life itself, and at the end of the day it was important to remind myself that this is a fun project that I am lucky to be participating in.

3.) GETTING FEEDBACK ON YOUR SHOTS is just as important as giving it out to someone else’s shot. We met up each week outside of Q&A sessions to really make sure we were helping each other with all the feedback we could find. I think this really helped us become a unified team…and bonus: keeping things simple is always best.

Animation Mentor is the only online school to give you a studio production experience. Learn the skills that will set you apart from the crowd and get started on your short film today.

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