Storytelling Through Animation

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Animation | No Comments

CMA: FARM Story from Wide Awake Films on Vimeo.

Growing up, many of us cut our teeth on a steady stream of animation. From a very young age, animation caught our attention with after-school and Saturday morning cartoons and full-length movies from Disney. As we become adults, animation continues to find a place in our hearts through comic book adaptations, Japanese anime and Pixar movies.
With roots going back to the late 1800s, animation remains a favored media. Armed with its stills, storyboards and catchy music, animation has the ability to not only tell a story but also to soften the viewer with a hint of childhood nostalgia. Recently, Wide Awake Films had the opportunity to work with CMA and the National Dairy Farm Program to create a short animated film called The FARM Story.

Making Serious Things a Little More Fun
The recent animation project teamed up animators and film producers from WAF with Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM). Created by the National Milk Producers Federation with support from Dairy Management, Inc., the FARM project demonstrates the commitment of U.S. milk producers to create quality dairy products from healthy cows.
FARM looks to build trust and transparency into the production of milk and milk products. While the topic of animal welfare and quality food is certainly on the minds of many Americans, it is a topic that often leads with the serious side of the issue. Rather than make an already-heavy topic more intense, animation lends a note of lightheartedness and whimsy to an otherwise weighty matter. So how do we do that?

Bringing It Together Through Animation
1. Start with art direction – Ever wonder where the BIG ideas come from? These happen in the brainstorming sessions where we create the concepts of what the art will represent and communicate. Art direction helps decide if the direction will be light or dark, happy or sad, comic or tragic.
2. Create black and white storyboards – This sequence of drawings allows animators to sketch out the scene, directions and dialogue for each portion of the story. Typically one storyboard “frame” is dedicated to every scene.
3. Build an animatic – In order to establish timing, black and white storyboards are put to music. When complete, this becomes the first “animation” of the story.
4. Enhance with full color stills – Once the scene, direction and accompanying music are set, full color is added to the storyboards, literally drawing the scene to life.
5. Bring it all together – From the artist’s pen, the composer’s ear and the client’s vision, the entire animation is brought together to tell a story.

Keep it Collaborative, Keep it Fun
At WAF we are always looking for the creative and inspirational side of every story. We believe collaborations such as the one with CMA and FARM not only help to get the word out about a serious topic in a fun and creative way, but also gives us the benefit of learning about something new along the way!

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