ANIMATION TRAINING CAN ENGAGE OUR CREATIVES TO TELL OUR STORIES TO THE WORLD
Creativity and free expression play a central role in weaving the fabric of any developing society. Through the stories we tell and the art we create, we give real meaning to our special type of existence and share our identity with others.
Cultural narrative affects and shapes our opinions of reality, and therefore, the engagement of our artists through the use of the animated image can effectively help contribute to the development of our 21st century society, in a way that can reach a tremendously wide range of audiences and give voice to who we really are as a people.
An opportunity must therefore be provided for them to creatively amplify their messages and relate their opinions and perceptions by way of a vehicle for them to make worthwhile contributions through their own original creative projects. An opportunity which could have a profound effect on our pride and consciousness as a Caribbean people.
In order to tell our own stories, we will definitely require a more relevant 21st-century arts and media teaching infrastructure for our young artists today. Since we live in a technologically driven society there is a definite need for increased resources in this field so as to develop our artists as leaders, and equip our talented visual storytellers with the tools and training they need to do what they do best.
The field of locally produced animated films and other emerging media has been starkly under encouraged and equally under-resourced here at home. To the extent that providing affordable access to training for our creatives also remains continually under pursued, under tapped and under supported. Despite implied vocal interest from two of our main tertiary Institutions (BCC, UWI) no real effort has materialized. Kudos however to BIMAP which has started to chart a course forward, but is it a promise of continuity? The NCF is also a keen advocate of the art form and is extremely interested in its development within the cultural sphere.
The Media Resource Centre within the Ministry of Education rely heavily on this type of media to provide more interactive and creative learning tools especially for our young primary school population today. But the resources to be tapped in this area are rather limited.
Animation has now been placed on the CXC syllabus, which is a huge step forward, but how can you have a syllabus without the plethora of teachers to teach it within the school system?
This is our experience in Barbados, but certainly not that of some of our Caribbean neighbours who are now literally putting their money where their mouth is. The commitment to creating a Caribbean animation industry is soundly manifested in Trinidad (Animation Degree Programme at UTT), Jamaica, St. Lucia, Guyana and Suriname where there has been significant investment in the establishment of training centres and specialty courses for young aspiring animators to learn the skills and who are now ready to present their ideas and products to the world.
The SJPP is proposing to take up the mantle and lead the way by tapping into this unchartered territory to provide new horizons and opportunities for our creatives. The Institution will be expanding its course offerings to include training in Animation and will be shortly rolling out the first module of this special curriculum by offering ANIMATION 1 which will concentrate on Pre-Production skills. The building blocks of the industry. This will include training in Visual Storytelling, Principles of Animation, Character Design and Development, Storyboarding, Background and Layout.
Since Pre-production represents 80% of the Animation Production Process, such skillsets are the bedrock of the industry and are the main requirements for both small and large animation studios worldwide. It is where the creativity begins where ideas are developed within the animation production pipeline.
Animation training can therefore help build the necessary infrastructure and provide a new platform for our own home based and Caribbean animation industry- one that could be reinforced by the combination of the efforts of those of our neighbours ,so as to provide a platform for our own caribbean cultural expression in this new media marketplace.
This new paradigm will provide a positive outlet for our creatives to learn together and develop together, and share the knowledge that results in a visual and entertaining way in order to provide us with a bold and unique voice on the world stage by relating the experiences and common history that truly connect us.