Meet Holly, Sophie, and Joe on the front row. Noah, J.J., Ben, & Caleb are in back.
We are the Animation Chefs team. We are a media-making family. The Animation Chefs are brothers, and Joe and Holly are Mom and Dad. Sophie is a Shihpoo. She is animated by food and squirrels.
Joe has created media for T.V., film production, apps, and websites with media companies in New York for almost three decades. Mom is a painter and our set decorator/make-up artist/costume stylist and on-site healthcare practitioner.
8 years ago during the early days of YouTube, Facebook, smartphones, etc. dad said to the clan,
"This is the coolest time to be a kid! All the expensive technologies I've used to make movies and TV are migrating to tablets and phones! Even distribution is a click of a button! It''s all becoming child's play! Let's make an animation on the kitchen table tonight!"
So we did.
One thing led to another, and long-story-short, our little table top animation by the boys led to a walk on the red carpet opening night at the Tribeca Film Festival.
This amazing experience, which included watching their animation on the big screen with all the movies stars "in the house" marked the beginning of our quest to share this knowledge with kids everywhere.
We got busy.
Our family's favorite TV show at the time was Iron Chef (the Japanese version) so we mixed the ideas of stop motion animation with an Iron Chef-like format of surprise ingredients, recipes and utensils. All the boys dressed up like Chefs.
Mom and dad put mystery items in a big soup pot, and the Animation Chefs had to animate what ever fell out of the pot (here are a few of the results: Justin Bieber vs Godzilla • Wooden guy with paper • Ninja Ice Cream Cone • Fruit and Veggies).
Pretty soon the Animation Chefs were being viewed in 70 countries. We had tapped a movement of educators and parents all over the world who were hungry to help their kids learn visual communications.
This led to demonstrations in schools, after schools, camps, the Bronx Zoo, Apple Retail Stores, conferences, film festivals, and cultural arts centers from New York City to Qatar to Rwanda!
The Animation Chefs, and our family, have literally grown up animating and teaching digital storytelling.
There is a lot more to our story, but in short, our students and fans have created over 30 hours of stop motion animation, that we are aware of. This is the equivalent of almost all of the Pixar movies put together.
If you know anybody who has helped more kids make movies, let us know. We would like to meet them!
In late 2014, we paused our webshow and cut way back on live events to focus exclusively on systematizing everything we've learned: every rule, formula, recipe, or concept we'd used and learned from the history of animation.
We knew it was a matter of time before everybody had the entire Hollywood filmmaking tooset in their pocket.
Our goal was to reimagine stop motion animation to be a vehicle to teach film-making to non-filmmakers, especially kids as a young as K-3.
In education circles the term "21st Century literacy" was all the rage, and we knew we were in the middle of this "thing" and wanted to share.
We consulted with legends in animation and in educational technology to re-imagine what an animated film school would look like for today's tech savvy kids.
Our main goal was to enable any kid to participate in sharing a story with sound and motion using tech, blended with hand-made hands-on animation experiences.
Our lessons are device an app independent - principle driven - an evergreen resource for parents and educators.
We crowd-funded our vision. It took us 3 years of nights, weekends and holiday breaks to write, design, create, record and edit everything we've learned.
Animating Kids! is the result.
If you influence kids and have never animated with Legos, clay, paper, furniture, toys - anything - now you have the tools to share the basics of animated film-making and digital storytelling.
The good news? All our efforts fit STEM, STEAM, and STREAM guidelines.
Parent groups love us because we do the teaching, and they can focus on facilitating.
Kids love this because it is FUN!
Our mission is to make animated storytelling a basic literacy for kids.
The Animation Chefs Team
Here is our "hero" photo, looking all vision-y. We hope you get the same goofy look when you "get it".
Animating Kids is a youth-centered resource for teaching animation and storytelling skills using classic formulas, concepts, and principles.
Learn animation fundamentals as "cooking demonstrations" with the Animation Chefs, four brothers who have taught stop motion to over 1,000 kids all over the world since 2009.
Short, easy, pre-planned media lessons for busy adult mentors who want to engage youth in building skills in media production.
Animating Kids re-imagines stop motion animation as a vehicle to send kids as young as early elementary to film school.
Pre-planned hands-on lessons and secret recipes include:
Explaining the math involved in working with "frames per second"
Creating speed with spacing
Slowing-down and speeding-up formulas
Squash and stretch concepts
Winding-up and following through skills
Combining multiple animation concepts simultaneously
Quiver and shake recipes
Running and walking strategies
Thinking with Blinking
And much, much more
Animating Kids involves all academic subject areas:
Math in Motion
Visualizing written information
Life Skills - Collaborating • Problem solving • Negotiating
Tinkering - Trial and Error
Synthesizing academics, play and creativity in service of a project
Meeting deadlines for exhibition and sharing