First-Year Studies: Animated Documentary


This introductory course provides students with an opportunity to create short animated films that emerge from a rethinking of the traditional documentary format. The focus is on learning animation techniques and approaches that embrace documentary film as an art practice. Through class workshops and the screening of both short documentary films and animated documentary films, students will develop familiarity with a variety of traditional and digital technologies to produce works that explore ideas in animation and in animation coupled with live footage. Practice in this course is integrated with theory so that production is held within the context of critical thinking about the possibilities for documentary storytelling. In the first semester, we will undertake a series of short individual and group exercises in response to the work of other animators and our own research. The second semester will focus on individual projects that integrate the core principles of animation and fully explored documentary concepts in work of the student’s own design. Conference projects may be executed as short animated films or Web-based animations. With the recent explosion of interest in documentary film production, this course offers first-year students the chance to discover their own unique style for the telling of real stories with animated images. Technical instruction includes workshops in story development, rotoscope drawing, cutout animation, miniature puppetry, lighting, cameras, and the software AfterEffects, Toon Boom Animate Pro, iStopMotion, and Final Cut Pro. No drawing or other art studio experience is required.