I came across this article today and really can’t think of a whole lot to add. Here are two animators in a region that has been particularly hard hit by our industry downturn, but rather than gripe about it, they’ve shown some entrepreneurial spirit and have decided to share their love of animation with kids.
Sure beats whining in chatrooms.
Walking into Flic Studios at Aberdeen Center is like walking into a Walt Disney animation studio. Amazingly drawn pictures of animated character hang from the walls and billboards, with little clay animation characters here and there.
But it turns out that Michael Roy created the whole thing. He and a fellow student from the Animation and Graphic Technology Program at the CCNB Miramichi, Jon Jewett, have decided to share their expertise with Moncton’s kids at bilingual animation summer camps held this summer during the month of July.
The fact is that when you see all of these animation characters in movies you forget that someone actually made them. The goal of the summer camp is to give students from grade six to 12 a good background in learning how to do the same, either as an eventual career goal or simply for artistic self-expression.
“It’s about letting kids find a way to express themselves,” Roy explains. “To have self-expression and to write stories to get things off their chest and to explore the world of comics and animation and story writing. Because I think that that’s a really important part of growing up. If you can explain the things that you’re feeling through a comic or through a funny cartoon or through a poem or something that you’ve written I think that goes a long way to making you a better well rounded person.”
These are two guys who defiantly have the portfolio. During their course, they held a similar summer camp in Moncton. Since then, both have been successful in their own right. Roy was part of a team who won a Gemini Award, and Jewett has done work on a production that will be appearing on all major networks in the fall.
“I’ve been interested in animation for a long time,” Roy explains. “I went to school to study then worked in the industry as an animator and writer and a designer for several years. I opened a studio over a year ago and looking forward to teaching some kids how to draw cartoons. ”
Upon graduation he went to work for Spielo Gaming doing visual development and animation for some of the games for their US markets. He then started working in Stop Motion animation and worked on a CBC television series called Lunar Jim, which is a pre-school series that is still playing on CBC today. He also worked on a preschool series called Poko, which was a Gemini award-winning series.
As for Jewett, when he finished school he moved to Florida for a year and worked in the film and television industry. When he returned he worked as an animator on a TV series called Bromwell High, which aired on the BBC, Teletune, and Cartoon Network. Among his other projects, he recently worked on a TV show called Three Delivery that’s due to air on YTV, Teletoon and the Cartoon Network, within a year.
Part of the reason they wanted to start something like this was because there’s a real shortage of animators here on the east coast. “So we just thought there’s no better way to develop an industry than from the ground up,” Jewett says. “and starting with young kids and getting them interested at a young age, and showing them that there’s career possibilities in this kind of thing.”
“When I was growing up,” Roy says. “it was a bit of a pipe dream to go work at a place like Disney or to develop characters for a video game or things like that. And I want kids to know that if they want to do that they can. They can achieve those things. They can go to Disney. They can work at Pixar. They can do those things if they want to.”
The camp will be a different structure for each of the age groups. For the younger kids it is more a foundation in basic drawing skills, such as how to draw characters and simpler story structure. The grade six to nine group will get into topics such as drawing cartoon characters and storyboarding comic strips in more of an in-depth level. At the high school level, the camp will aim at giving them a primer to be able to go to a school like Miramichi. “When we taught something similar before,” Roy says. “the kids that were coming out of the high school level were phenomenally accomplished at the end of the week.”
The camps will be bilingual and will be held at Evergreen Park School from July 6 to the 31 with four one week long camps running from Monday to Friday, at the cost of $199.95 per camp. The following is a list of the camps with age groups: July 6-10, Grade 3-5; July 13-17, Grade 6-8; July 20-24, Grade 9-12; July 27-31, Grade TBA. For more info contact Michael Roy at 863-3303 or firstname.lastname@example.org or John Jewett at 874-6447 or email@example.com