120 frames per second? No thanks.

The film Gemini Man was released just recently. It’s a technologically daring exercise in filmmaking, not only for its notable de-aging of Will Smith, but for being released in 120 frames per second

A few movies in recent memory have featured 48, 60, and 120 fps viewing options, and to mixed reactions - as a recent article (https://www.theringer.com/movies/2019/10/15/20915467/ang-lee-gemini-man-will-smith-high-frame-rate-billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk) on the Ringer points out, ‘too much realism is the enemy of illusion.’ 

Back when IMAX was first invented, one of their researchers speculated that 60fps was all the eye could really process. In the age of cognitive neuroscience, brain-scans, augmented and virtual reality, scientists are now thinking it may be as high as 4000fps.

If you want to do a deep dive, go over and read this at 100fps.com

As animators, we tinkered and toyed for 2 years with the ideal frame rate to use when introducing animation to kids.

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We landed at 15fps. It was the lowest, least stuttery, most fluid fps bang for the buck.

So far we have 130+ lessons based on 15fps.

We really don't care if science proves that we could be using much more.

After all, story is what 15fps is in service of, and you can't put a flicker speed on that.

Bon Animate!

The Animation Chefs




Animation is Now a Team Sport!

animator

Animators are traditionally a solitary lot, especially in the studio system.

One frame a time, one pose at a time, they create the illusion of life.

A good animator can turn out six, seven, maybe even eight seconds of animation in a 50-hour work week.

That's right.

In a week.

When they go to the premiere, the seconds of their animation masterworks are sprinkled here and there throughout the 90+ minute film.

Their names are buried in the cascade of names crawling up the screen during the end credits.

Yes, they are part of a team, but they are sequestered and cut off from many of the other facets of the filmmaking process.

Now look at this picture.

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Four kids work on a stop motion project.

Each takes turns running the camera, doing the animation, and preparing the sets.

Each has co-written, co-created, and co-animated their film.

They have brainstormed together, storyboarded together, and built sets together.

They have prepared and organized themselves over 8 one-hour sessions of planning.

Kids around iPad

They will finish the animation of their one minute animated story in approximately 3 hours.

A team of creatives and engineers, yes!

But also actors, sound effects designers, and musicians.

Each having walked the red carpet, they hoist their plastic Oscars overhead with pride after a screening at a local theater who has agreed to celebrate their achievement.

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We have seen this happen dozens of times.

It is why we created Animating Kids!

Our system demands teamwork, cooperation, problem solving, creativity, and bonding.

We are turning the solitary act of animating a story into a shared, team-based project that lifts and inspires.

No matter the predisposition or temperament of the participant, all will have their fingerprints on the final product. All will have skin in the game.

This is the new animation paradigm.

Join in the fun!

Bon Animate!

The Animation Chefs

Schools Need to Teach VSL - Video as a Second Language

Here at Animating Kids! we make a ruckus about VSL - Video as a Second Language.

Why? 

As Youtube's Chief Business Officer Robert Kinsel recently pointed out (10:23 mark) - 450 hours of video are ingested every minute on Youtube.

This means Youtube is streaming a billion hours of video everyday. 

Add Facebook, Instagram. Twitter, etc. for an additional billion hours of vids everyday.

Yes, many are cat videos and epic fails.

But an infinite number of helpful topics are shared everyday, such as:

-Cool videos about scientific thinking,

-The history of tech for kids,

-Calculus videos

-How-to vids on engineering for kids.

(Notice the STEM - science, technology, engineering, math - emphasis?)

The 800lb gorilla in the room though, is that all this amazing content is delivered using media literacy skills!!

Ponder the primacy of media-making skills for the upcoming generation!

Sound & video are becoming a basic language everyday in business, law, science, tech, education, etc.

Media education should be taught as a skill starting as young as the early elementary school ages.

How about treating the creation of stories via animation, video, editing and sound design as a core literacy like reading and writing?

This is the future. It is here and it is widely distributed.

Animating Kids! does just this.

We break visual and aural language skills down into simple bite-sized steps, like a basal early-reading curriculum would.

We aren't against reading and writing. In fact, the first step in video production is storytelling with writing.

But to turn written ideas into pictures, and turn those pictures into living, breathing videos, a whole new way of thinking is required.

Join Us!

And of course, 

Bon Animate!

The Animation Chefs

Roasting Marshmallows In Hell

Two troublemakers die and ascend to heavenly clouds.

Before they can get there, minions from below intercept them and take them to hell.

The devil is waiting, flames and all. 

Beelzebub hands them two sticks. 

The new arrivals look at each other, terrified. 

"Oh no, what is he going to make us do with these?" they wonder.

The devil laughs an evil laugh, "Ready for s’mores?"

They gather round a campfire amidst the other flames in hell. 

Hell's big boss hands them a bag of marshmallows with an eager smile.

They put marshmallows on their sticks.

So does the devil. 

He begins a scary story about an angel with a hook for a hand who has just escaped from heaven...

This story is an animation idea generated by a group of 4th graders recently.

3 boys, 2 girls.

They are very excited to turn it into a movie.

Our experience teaches us that when a group gets excited about story, the movie practically makes itself.

They used the story generation exercise from the Blue Hat section in Animating Kids!

They brainstormed 35 combinations of possible characters, settings, and problems.

After much negotiation and compromise, they hammered out the plot above on a storyboard.

In this case, the "devil" is literally in the details.

But they understood it perfectly now.

They can already see it in their mind's eye, and cannot wait to animate.

Next, they will: 

• Design their characters

• Engineer scenes in cut paper

• Time out the action

• Animate the flying, the flames and everything else

• Do voice overs for their characters

• Edit

In about 8 sessions, they will be finished.

The final movie will be screened at a school assembly along with the 5 other movies being made in their class.

With a deadline like that, they'll get it done.

As a team, they'll drag it over the finish line, marshmallows and all.

They will have finally participated as media creators. 

Their parents will Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube it.

Notice these brands are now verbs. 

So are the kids. All action.

Not just viewers.

Doers.

Bon Animate! 


$150,000 For Film School?

An undergrad in photography approached me after my talk entitled, The Business of Art, at a big New York university 17 years ago.

The tuition office had just informed her that she would not qualify for her scholarship renewal.

She was understandably shaken, looking for advice.

"The admissions office at school has a program to help students in my position sign up for, and max out credit cards to obtain funds to pay tuition. If I took the same dollars I spend on tuition, and instead invested it in starting my own photography business, would it be worth it?" she asked.

She handed me her portfolio, or "book".

I'd seen hundreds of professional and student books in my advertising and marketing days.

Within 20 seconds, I could tell her portfolio was in the top 5% of any I'd encountered, both professional and amateur.

Stunned, I asked, "How much it would cost to finish school?"

"22k per year for another 2 years. Not including fees, housing, books, etc." she said.

I had another appointment and didn't want to advocate against the school in which I'd just spoken.

"Let's take a walk," I offered.

With a few of her friends, we grabbed a slice of NY pizza and strolled down the cobblestones in Greenwich Village.

"With your talent, the weight of validation from "photography" school amounts to less than a fleck of lint in a gnat's bellybutton." I said. "With a ton of hustle you'll be light-years ahead of your peers by the time they graduate. You'll be making what you'd save in tuition within a year."

She thanked me for my candor. 

I could tell she was a go-getter.

I never heard back from her, but I felt like I had saved someone from a massive scam.

Recently, I heard a friend's son just got accepted to film school at USC this fall.

NYU and USC are the world's premiere film schools.

I found myself musing on the young photography school student's predicament years ago.

Tuition? 

USC Tuition - 77k PER YEAR!

NYU Tuition - 32k Per Semester NOT including Housing.

And $150k+ in student loans for what?

Parental prestige?

Hanging out with Spielberg's kids? (yes, they go to USC)

Pulling cable on HBO shows10 generations of film grads deep, waiting until the boom operator or 3rd assistant director dies? 

The barrier to enter in filmmaking is ZERO when just about everyone has a camera in their pocket and a Youtube channel.

It boggles the mind. 

Not being in Hollywood day-to-day, I'm not sure how much leverage degrees in lesser film schools carry, though a quick survey indicates they aren't charging much less than NYU and USC.

See fraud?

Say fraud!

Ironically, the value of film school-style education - away from Hollywood - has never been more important.

Media making skills are becoming as important as reading and writing. 

They are no longer a "nice extra". 

They are no longer "enrichment".

The Youtube era and all the video sharing platforms that come with it are making and consuming billions of visual and aural media hours per day. 

According to one book packaging expert, our screens with their sound and motion are usurping the 500-year reign of books.

Being able to learn to persuade with sound and motion should not cost $150,000 buckaroos!

Animating Kids! boils the essentials of a NYU & USC film-school down to a 3rd and 4th grade level.

Yes! 

We've reimagined the process with stop motion.

On a table top.

With a small-group, project-based focus.

The energy is off the charts.

With an app and smart-device, all the fundamental Hollywood tools are at your fingertips. 

5+ hrs and 140 follow-along worksheets of step-by-step, secret recipes for $597.

Just $99 for our basic White Hat level starter recipes.

Save $149,403.00!

Get your kids ahead of this curve. 

It is a new era.

Bon Animate! 

Joe