Animation Unplugged is a project between the Animation and the Film Music department of the Filmuniversity Babelsberg from Potsdam. This year, despite corona, four of our students joined the project!
It started with a meeting on Zoom. Everyone was a bit sad that it was not possible to meet in person like the previous years, but after a small introduction we moved on. After all, an idea had to be written down in a few hours if we wanted to have a finished film by the end of the week. All 20 of us started to write word associations for an hour and went on by telling each other the stories behind them. The next step was to transform one of those stories into a Storyboard for the film, and that was when things got serious. Some of us finished whole animatics at the end of Monday, some wrote scrips and as for me, I struggled with the idea itself.
So at the last Zoom Meeting on Monday afternoon I only was able to tell my story in keywords. At that moment one could really feel how different everybody was! We didn’t just have animation students from the Bachelor, but also from the Master, Students from Scriptwriting or the Film department who wanted to try out animation. As the only first year BA Student I felt a little intimidated, but I could learn a lot from the different ways people came up with stories and realized them.
The next days passed in a flash. We met every day to show our progress. After the first day there were some animatics, backgrounds or mood boards. After the second there were the first animations or work setups. On the third no one wanted to share anything because they were in working-mode and were almost finished. While it was amusing, my wish for the project being in person sparked the most there. I wanted to see their progress, wanted to talk about the various forms of animation they used and maybe ask for some input on my own project. But before I knew it, Friday was already around the corner.
The music department did their best to be able to set music to as many films as they could which was not easy. Because of Covid-19 they could only use the studio for an hour at a time and not everyone of the students were able to be there. They played in different rooms or even remotely, and the Animation Unplugged tradition of allowing the animation students to see them play live was not available as usual. Still, we got the music on Friday and we were able to put it in our films. Friday evening was the final moment of Animation Unplugged with the big presentations of all the finished Films.
We had a big crowd of people joining the Zoom and got to meet the music students for the first time.
We all had a blast seeing the finished results. Even if we from Lucerne didn’t go to Potsdam but stayed at home, it still was a valuable experience.
It was hard to finish a whole film in just about 4 days, but I am still happy I participated. I was able to try out a new technique without the pressure of failure and with a set time limit, so I did not have to work on it until perfection. Also, we got professional music for our film, which for me was the biggest reward of the whole project.
So, if you want to try something next year or want to have a finished project with music for your portfolio at the expense of some short nights, I can recommend Animation Unplugged 2022 to you.
With the permission of the creators of these films, here are some of the final results! Enjoy.
Laura I. Schneider
Yongxin Wang & Sophie Kalinowsky