At the start of February 2023, four 2nd year students from the HSLU Animation department (Alice, Dario, the other Dario and me, Sven) were invited to join the “My Hidden Dinosaur” workshop at the Film University Babelsberg in Potsdam.
The goal of the workshop was to create a short film in the span of five days. “My Hidden Dinosaur” is the successor of “Animation Unplugged” which was led by Gil Alkabetz, who sadly passed away in 2022.
Shortly after arriving at the Film University, we were greeted by Anna Sumo who now leads the workshop. In the morning of the first day, we talked and wrote about our deepest fears – what an ice breaker! In the afternoon we spent an hour animating blindfolded to get the creative juices flowing.
Not only the drawing itself, but already the organization of the workspace turned out to be quite the challenge. Alice worked with wax crayons and developed a way of trying to feel the textures where she had drawn as a way to orient herself. Anna challenged us to implement at least one frame of the resulting animations into our final products.
After this exercise we started gathering ideas for the films we were going to create in the four days left. Later, the students from Potsdam showed us around their massive campus.
The majority of the second day was spent gathering and workshopping ideas around thefears we wrote down on the first morning. I was quite surprised about the fact that most people wanted to work on their own, as we are used to working in teams. In the end, the Darios and I turned out to be the only people who made a film as a group. However, we did discuss each other’s ideas a lot and gave each other inputs throughout the week.
Apart from these feedback sessions everyone spent their time until Friday afternoon fiddling on their films. Normally, the musicians would compose the music to our films on Friday after we are done animating. This year however the schedules of the music department didn’t fit ours, so they provided us pre-composed music on Wednesday evening, which we then had to put into our already half done films.
We spent the evenings going out for drinks, visiting Berlin and enjoying an improvised, but also very cozy short film screening in the stop-motion cellar (sorry for the bad focus of the picture, but look how charming!). On Friday we had our final screening and celebrated the results as well as the time we shared.
Making a film in one week stood in stark contrast to the idents we had been working on until the week before the workshop. It was exciting to see what could be done in a week after we had all worked on 20-30 second projects for half a year.
Unfortunately, ours is the only film currently available online. You can watch it here: