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Aardman Academy Launches ‘Industry Training: Stop Motion 1’

12-week virtual program taught by Aardman professionals will provide world-class education for aspiring animation professionals.

Award-winning animation studio Aardman is launching a curriculum of teaching excellence in animation at its training facility, Aardman Academy. The program, Industry Training: Stop Motion 1 is a 12-week virtual course developed and taught by award-winning professionals at Aardman. The program will be open to up to 35 individuals seeking a career in animation.

The course, scheduled to launch in February 2021, will be taught over a three-month period via virtual lessons and weekly one-on-one mentor tutorials. Each student will be assigned an Aardman professional to offer guidance and advice throughout. The course leader, former Aardman director and filmmaker Mark Simon Hewis (8 Minutes Idle, The Life Size Zoetrope) will lead weekly interactive lectures, setting tasks and encouraging participants to share ideas and engage with the Aardman Academy community.

Stuart Messinger (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, Quantum of Solace, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), a top UK animation academic, is working with Aardman’s head of animation, Loyd Price, to develop the course curriculum (Early Man, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Nightmare Before Christmas). Hewis and Messinger will be provide participants support and direction throughout the duration of the course.

Aardman is fully funding two bursary places in the program in partnership with UK based Creative Access. The collaboration is aimed at building a more diverse and inclusive workforce within the animation industry.

“It’s incredibly exciting to offer the chance for aspiring filmmakers around the world to develop their careers in animation with us at Aardman,” commented 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.”

Each successful applicant will receive a welcome pack with 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. 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 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.

“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,” noted Lord. “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.

The Aardman Academy recently adapted all its courses for online delivery, seeing students participate globally from Australia, Qatar, Mexico, India, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France, Cyprus, Germany, Italy and USA.                  

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 for early bird applications from November 17, 2020 – December 17, 2020. Additional information is available at the Aardman Academy website.

Source: Aardman