Aardman, the multi-award-winning independent animation studio, has announced that its training facility the Aardman Academy has launched a curriculum of teaching excellence in animation for up to 35 individuals looking for a career in the animation industry.
The Aardman Academy, Industry Training: Stop Motion 1 is a 12-week virtual course developed and taught by the award-winning professionals at Aardman. It’s the first in the series of industry-led courses from the studio; committed to building sustainable careers within animation.
The course, due to launch in February 2021, promises to offer intensive tuition spanning the three month period via virtual lessons and weekly one-on-one mentor tutorials with an individually assigned Aardman professional who will act as guidance, offering advice throughout. Course leader, former Aardman director and filmmaker Mark Simon Hewis (8 Minutes Idle, The Life Size Zoetrope) will deliver weekly live, interactive lectures online, setting tasks and enabling course participants to meet, share ideas and engage in the Aardman Academy community.
One of the U.K.’s top animation academics, Stuart Messinger (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, Quantum of Solace, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) has been brought in as Academic Lead, formulating the curriculum with Aardman’s Head of Animation, Loyd Price (Early Man, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Nightmare Before Christmas). Tutors Mark Simon Hewis and Stuart Messinger will be on-hand through the duration of the course, contactable by participants for support and direction.
Aardman has committed to fully funding two bursary places on the course, working in partnership with U.K. based Creative Access, a social enterprise that facilitates access to the creative industries for those from under-represented communities. The collaboration is targeted at building a more diverse and inclusive workforce within the animation industry, nurturing talent from the ground up, inherent to the development and production of world class entertainment for a diverse and intergenerational global audience.
“It’s incredibly exciting to offer the chance for aspiring filmmakers around the world to develop their careers in animation with us at Aardman,” said Hewis. “It’s been our ambition to create a course that offers the very best tutoring available. We truly believe this is something unique and special, offering access to support, guidance, teaching and mentorship on a course run by experienced animation professionals with a track record for excellence in their chosen field.”
A welcome pack will be delivered directly to each successful applicant, with specialist equipment needed to participate in the course. Professional animation software Dragonframe and its accompanying controller will be provided by Aardman, and Animation Toolkit will ensure each participant has a cinematic quality armature to start the course with professional tools.
Each of the 12 weeks will cover a different topic, all vital in building the right foundations and developing the practical skills needed for a career in animation. Video workshops, lectures and tutorials will provide grounding for regular assignments, which will be individually assessed and reviewed via weekly feedback sessions with the participants’ mentor. Progress is reviewed after every four-week period, culminating in the final submission of work to be assessed by mentors and course leaders. Final cut show reels will be live streamed for all participants in a virtual wrap party.
Established in 2013, the Aardman Academy was designed to nurture talent and strengthen ties between the animation industry and education providing development for animation professionals as well as outreach training and talent progression opportunities.
Peter Lord, Aardman Co-founder and Creative Director, commented, “I’m a huge advocate of animation as an expressive art, but I find that in this country we’re great at encouraging filmmaking and much less good at teaching the foundation skills of animation and performance. The Aardman Academy believes in redressing that unbalance. It’s important to us at Aardman to nurture great talent, and make sure future filmmakers develop the skills and the confidence to prepare them for the industry.”
Storyboard Artist Sam Horton (The Epic Adventures of Morph), Senior Model Maker Nancy Jones (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!), Model Maker George Watson (Early Man) and Senior Model Maker Jim Parkyn (Creature Comforts, Chicken Run) head up a wealth of masterclasses including a one day ‘perfecting your portfolio’ course, a two-day storyboarding session and a five-day-long sketch to screen model making course.
Always evolving, the Aardman Academy recently adapted all of its courses to be delivered online, seeing students participate globally from Australia, Qatar, Mexico, India, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France, Cyprus, Germany, Italy and U.S.A.
The Aardman Academy, Industry Training: Stop Motion 1 is now open for applications. Prospective course participants will be asked to submit a portfolio for assessment by course leaders. Course fees start at £2,220 (~$2,930, ~€2,490) for early bird applications from November 17 – December 17, 2020.