Tag Archives: animation

Highlights from Our Animation Festival

Here’s a re-post of the clips from our Animation Festival in New York last night. As per many of you requested, her’s the 16 world premieres and standing room only fest in NY! We could have run the city for days on their energy. You had to be there, but this is the next best thing. I am very proud. Another 200 kids are now film makers, stars, and distributors!

The Seven Dollar Laptop


Seven Billion Channels seem too distant? Check out this.

20 Seconds of Animation in One Hour! With partial strangers…

The other night at Manhattanville College in New York, I pulled up to the security gate and informed the guard about my appointment to lecture. The guard must have been new. Previously I’ve been ushered through this checkpoint with a wave of a hand. Tonight was different. The guard first asked for my license. I turned it over. He then walked out of the booth and took a lap around my car. Wrote down my plate number. When he returned he asked about the class I was addressing. I told him I was to teach animation to art education students. Bill Gordh was the professor. I was invited. Honestly! He handed me some kind of form to fill out.

All this took about 15 minutes.

I bring this up by way of contrast. The time it took me to get through the gate, park my car, walk into the classroom and put my bag down was roughly equivalent to the time it took to create an animation from scratch. The one posted below.

We live in a world where animation can be produced by novices on a table top in a classroom with only scissors, paper, markers and tape. The riff on Humpty Dumpty below is clever and ingenious. 20 students produced all the props, characters, sound effects and music while I aided in the animation and editing.

One hour later, we have this. I trust these art education innovators will take this exercise with them into the classroom. I know some of them already have. To fully integrate this kind of education into a standard “literacy curriculum” for all will take going through many guarded entry booths much more invasive than the new guard at Manhattanville that night. But I have faith in these new educators. They’ve seen the light. This simple exercise opens the way for the youtube generation to have producing animation be a permanent part of a basic public education.

I’ve seen this process hundreds of times. Many with children under 10 years old. The trick is getting the educational gatekeepers to stop filling out forms in triplicate, stop taking down plate numbers, and start tripping eggs off walls. Once you’ve done it, you’ll never see new media education the same again.

Buh Buh Buh Bing Crosby Gets It White

Years ago, upon finding my soon-to-be wife had never seen a Bing Crosby movie, I took her to see “Hear Comes the Groom” when it was playing at the local art house during a 50’s retrospective fest. I grew up watching the Road pictures. I thought she needed to see Bing in action. So a date it was.

She hates Bing now. “Hear Comes the Groom” was a weak, convoluted plot executed for no other reason than to have Bing sing two or three VERY out of place tunes. It was a “vehicle” picture where the Bing dialed it in. Not one of Frank Capra’s best. (for instance, it just happens that on a plane trip Bing takes from Europe to America, a USO band is riding along too, with Louis Armstrong, Phil Harris, and a host of other biggies from that era. Of course they break into a song which has nothing to do with the plot, the characters, etc. Out of left field. They have their instruments too! Right in the isle. My wife’s most unfavorite scene)

She has never been able to get over it. Ironically, the only Christmas song she can play by memory from piano lesson days is White Christmas.

In Holly’s honor, I give you:

Cooking up Content

Most kids have an interest in the internet. They seem to have far more knowledge of the internet and technology than their parents in many families. While most kids are using the internet to meet friends, do school work and play games, some are taking it to another level. These kids aren’t passive consumers, but innovative and active users of online media.

Kids are creating some amazing content on the internet. They are participating in the media rather than merely watching. The experience and knowledge they are gaining will make them more globally competitive later. They are gaining important literacy skills and experience in the newest form of information delivery, internet technology.

Kids aren’t just creating unique content for fun. They are making money at it. Some kids are funding their college education through money earned with their online content. These kids are gaining a valuable education in the business world while bringing in money to fund school, buy a car or save for their futures.

Check out www.spatulatta.com for a prime example. And note how their parents get into the act. This is a family effort all the way.

Younger Masses Casting Media

The web is no longer a place where children are left to observe. With the rise in technology and the increasing savvy of children in regards to the Internet, children are moving from spectator to participant. This is good news for parents as the web is becoming a safer place for children to express their views of the complicated world around them in the form of kid generated animation, blogging, vblogging. etc.

According to a recent study carried out by Grunwald Associates, the number of content contributing children is growing exponentially and isn’t even close to hitting its peak. Within the 2004 survey group of children between the ages of six and seventeen, 10 percent of those, approximately two million youthful users have staked out their own personal space on the web.

Of those two million users, children from 9 to 12 make up nine percent with 33% of those surveyed having plans to open their own website. This number was expected to triple by 2005. The numbers have climbed according to expectation and now in 2007 those numbers are climbing even higher.

Internet media outlets that once geared their content for consumption by children have seen this trend of active participation and are opening up their doors to accept those children learning to talk back to the world through blogging, and kid generated video and animation.

Internet media outlets like Nickelodeon have heard the call of their viewers and are setting the stage for something truly revolutionary in the area of entertainment. In fact, in an article released in March of 2007, Nickelodeon announced that they are in the midst of creating a live-action show that will be based on content generated by their viewers. The show is called, iCarly and will be hosted by Carly (played by Miranda Cosgrove). The concept of this particular show is that Carly is the Webmaster of her own home-based streaming webcast. During the show, Carly will give her viewers assignments of media creation. The viewers then can generate their own kid generated video content and post it to the iCarly website. The content then has the potential for rebroadcast on iCarly or can be used as content for the web-based portions of the show.

This will allow the children the opportunity to hone their creative skills using the digital media becoming so prevalent in today’s entertainment market. This activation of their demographic allows the children to explore the creative possibilities available to them, speak out about issues important to them or just plain have fun. Parents will also enjoy their children’s active hand as it provides the opportunity for the parent’s involvement in their children’s lives and creative development. Educators hail this move as a tremendous step forward in child education. By creating an outlet, these Internet entertainment providers are freeing children from their joysticks, turning them from video game junkies to active socially aware Internet citizens. This will change the Internet from an endless predatory children’s marketplace into a platform for thoughtful and creative expression for and by children.