Saturday, 29 June 2013

Kick-starting graduate careers

Here at Bucks we like to practice what we preach, and this means helping our graduates find work in industry in the most active ways possible. We're encouraging companies to bring us their web projects, the kind of interesting, fun, but often low budget work that can sometimes slip through the cracks of commercial studios.

We don't want our talented graduates working for nothing - after all, everyone has to put bread on the table - but by charging very competitive rates we hope to attract interesting projects and help our students build a portfolio of professional work.

Our first project is What's Wrong with the Global Aid Development Organisation?, a commission for a company that does just what the title suggests. They build schools, dig wells, in short, they do everything to help diverse communities around the world clamber out of poverty. So, a good cause, and one worth fighting for.

Character line-up by Monika Dzikowicz
The theme of the film is how the organisation works (or, on occasion, doesn't), and what can be done to make it work better. It's a cool project, and perfect for us at Bucks, since we have access to pretty much all the facilities needed to make a short film. Sound recording studios, mixing facilities, animation, software - and talented students to make it all happen.

Colour script by Monika Dzikowicz
As with any project, we start with a script, getting approval from the client so they are happy to move forward. Making changes at this stage is very, very inexpensive. We also show the client examples of other animated films we like, so that the client can get a feeling for how the film will eventually appear, and we can get a feeling for their taste, their likes and dislikes.

Then we record the voices, narration if there is any, and storyboard the film, editing together the story panels along with sound effects, music and whatever else we need to make a finished animatic - a kind of animated story reel that helps give a feeling for the shape and flavour of the film.

Meanwhile we finalise our character designs, and do a colour script so we can get a feeling for how the shots will unfold. The designs shown here are by Monika Dzikowicz, one of our recent graduates who has built up an excellent portfolio of design and development work.
Props by Monika Dzikowicz
We also have to design props, so the animators (who are working in Flash) have all the assets they need to do the job. Everything goes for client approval, so there are no headaches later on.

Finally, we start animating. Animators Lydon Fleisig and Paula Gillin have been honing heir skills over the past three years at Bucks. They have both done excellent work on their student projects and are capable of doing great animation and working to tight deadlines.

Shots style guide by Monika Dzikowicz
And, as part of that process, we do animation tests - so we're all agreed on the style of the film and how it will look. Lydon has already started doing some walk cycles - getting a feel for how the characters might move.

Personally, I can't wait to see out first project come together.


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