Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Brentwood Boys and Girls Club

Tiny Circus lifted off from New Orleans last week, rolling to Raleigh, North Carolina for a week of animation-making with the Brentwood Boys and Girls Club through Artspace, an art center in Raleigh.

In one week we created two animations. An enthusiastic group of second and third graders in the club decided to tell the story of The History of Vampires. Biting off a topic that has been a dark and thrilling fascination for storytellers for ages, this is not an animation for the faint of heart (or tomatoes).

With the fourth and fifth grade group, an animation about bullying was created that developed out of two days of serious and thoughtful conversations. It was striking to be around a table with fifteen fourth and fifth graders and a handful of adults, with differences of age, race, religion, and a whole lot else – all of us drawing from personal experiences and observations with bullying. We reflected on questions about what bullying is, why a person may bully, and the many ways we all respond to the act. All the while, the conversation was driving towards creating an animation: how do we visualize this? How do we craft this story?

Once we decided to use fruits as our characters, a discussion about how the fruits could reflect certain feelings and actions to our audience became important. And there was even room for laughter with the enticing possibility of eating our animated objects. (Note to animators: complete shooting before eating, or the project may involve extra trips to the grocery store.)

We distilled our story to The History of A Bully and we know it can’t tell a complete story of a complicated behavior and it’s devastating impact. Our small film is what we collaboratively jostled out of a big matter. We hope that the animation that emerged from the conversation in the art room of the Brentwood Boys and Girls Club will resonate with those outside of it, sparking more fruitful conversation and action.