2015 Freshers Play The Hunger Games

This week a new cohort of eager fresh faced undergraduates joined us on the Animation and Visual effects course. They thought they were here to study... well they are... but first they had to forage for 'food' and make their tutors a tasty sandwich in the 2015 Animation & Visual Effects Hunger Games.

Items of 'food' were cunningly, and sometimes not so cunningly, hidden at tactical locations across the campus. Teams of 'foragers' went bravely forth to locate and retrieve these items of food, directed via social media by two members of their team back in the animation studio who were given cryptic, and not so cryptic, clues via a live feed.

Each team was accompanied by a 'reporter' whose job it was to photograph the team and Tweet the image each they successfully foraged an item of food, and to report any infringements of the rules.

One team was accused of running, which was strictly against the rules, but the judges thought that the photographic evidence was... erm... not conclusive did not feel that the team could be disqualified.


Another team member was identified as having split from their group, also against the rules, but the judges were not able to identify the individual concerned from the photographic evidence and again no disqualification was made.

The groups were also permitted to 'tap' other students and take from them items of food that they had already foraged; we believe that Nemo the fish (What!? You have never had a fish sandwich?) changed hands several times. Some teams found it quite distressing when they had to give away an item of food and it was necessary to say "there, there, there" to them.

Hunger can be a problem for students, and can strike at any time without warning. We felt that these games would help to prepare them for some of the challenges that they will face over the coming years.

The winning team was chosen because they had foraged the ingredients for not just one, but two tasty sandwiches that satisfied both the carnivorous and vegetarian members of the course team: a cucumber and lettuce on white bread, and a rabbit and cucumber baguette. (Sadly no butter but as you can see above another team had already eaten it.)

The victors won Falmouth Animation & VFX T-shirts.

The staff are still a little hungry, but the students did also bring us a slice of cold pizza and a half eaten pot noodle which will see us through to the end of the week.

View the Twitter feed of the afternoon's shenanigans here:  https://twitter.com/AVEhungergame


2015 Graduation and Cecil Awards

Last week we said goodbye to another cohort of successful Animation and Visual Effects students at the 2015 Graduation Ceremony at the Princess Pavilions in Falmouth.

Students, staff and families were treated to an entertaining and inspiring graduation speech from the University's new chancellor, Dawn French, before coming onto the stage to shake her hand, get a specially minted chocolate coin with her head on it, and receive their certificates from Course Coordinator Derek Hayes.

Some of our graduates are already well on their way to having successful careers in the animation and visual effects industry. Matteo Veglia flew back from his new production assistant role at Ilion Animation studios in Spain for the occasion. Ilion are currently working on a feature film for Paramount Pictures, but he was sworn to secrecy on the content, so we can't pass that on to you yet! Graduates Harry Bayfield and Jack Madeley have spent the summer working on a film commissioned by Cornwall County Council for children in care, and Harry has been accepted onto the Masters Degree in Creative Advertising at Falmouth University for this coming year. Visual Effects wiz Hamish Ballingall is set to start work at Framestore later this month together with a 2013 graduate Josh Bainbridge (who has now successfully completed his Masters degree in Computer Animation at Bournemouth University).  Lydia Pourmand is currently considering not one but two job offers from the animation and visual effects industries.

Earlier in the summer Falmouth University also saw the return of the most prestigious award ceremony in the show biz calendar, The Cecils. This is the animation and visual effects course's own version of the Oscars (but better).

This year's award line-up included a spectacular array of raw student talent.

The all important prize for fancy dress, awarded by our special guest from the games course Johnny Pope,  went to one of our regular fancy dress contenders Lokki Rayne for her devilishly evil devil costume (Lokki herself is not at all evil  - in fact we think she's really very nice).

There was also a special surprise award this year for Award Leader Mr. Derek Hayes, which was presented by third year student rep. Lydia Pourmand on behalf of the Animation & VFX course team. Don't drink it all at once now Derek!

And this year's grand prize for excellence in animation and VFX, the Skull D'Or, was jointly awarded to student directors Sammy-Jo Tawn for her work on the beautiful stop-motion film Distance, and Rhys Harvey, director of the 3D CGI film Headless, a film about a man who suffers from the unusual affliction of having a detached head.

It has been a joy and a privilege to work with you all. Fly free and soar!


Claws for Concern: a dynamic partnership

On Animation and VFX at Falmouth University we put team-work at the heart of our course (see our blog post: http://falmouth-animation.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/team-work-on-falmouth-animation-and-vfx.html ).  

It is easy to assume that this team-work comes naturally to the students and indeed sometimes that can be true, yet to work effectively as a creative team in a sustained way takes discipline and professionalism.  When our students get it right the process can also be very enjoyable for them.  

Two such graduates from our most recent third year cohort have been Jack Madeley and Harry Bayfield.  
Here is Jack's website: http://www.jackmadeley.com 

Jack and Harry had worked together on a quirky stop motion project in their second year and were good friends throughout the course but it was Jack’s mature decision early in the third year to put aside his own film project that kick-started a successful third year partnership, resulting in one of the strongest films of the cohort. 

Despite protest from second year crew who had been looking forward to working on it, on the grounds that he felt it was too complex, Jack put aside his promising film idea about a female aviator and climbed on board with Harry’s project about a bear, meaning that ‘Claws for Concern’ immediately became a viable team project.   Harry’s story had a simple and emotional idea at its heart about a working bear weighed down by a mundane existence, chopping the heads off salmon in a fish factory, who comes to discover a natural world beyond.

Once they had begun to work together, ‘Claws for Concern' belonged to both Jack and Harry.  The pair worked as co-directors with Jack also taking on the producing jobs to keep the schedule on track and Harry working broadly in all creative areas. Through trial and error they established an effective daily working pattern in the animation studio, a disciplined routine which continued throughout the whole third year.  Their final film is currently awaiting a soundtrack that lives up to the quality of the visuals and once finished it will be ready for festival entry.

Despite Jack’s plans to move to Canada and Harry’s intention to enter postgraduate study, the pair have not yet managed to escape from Falmouth.  They are currently being kept busy by staff at Falmouth directing and producing an animation for Children in Care with Cornwall Council. 

The brief for this was to produce a short animated film that will help to reassure children as they transition into care.  Over summer they ran animation workshops in our Falmouth animation studio with children who are already in care. The process provided an inspiring week of hands-on experience for the kids as well as research time for Jack and Harry to get to know the children. They used drawing and writing sessions to help the children share their personal stories, providing insights into how their film could make a difference.

Following the research and pitch process they're now hard at work in the Production hub to produce the final piece.
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