Animation is a medium that is highly respected among various communities, but it is not always appreciated in its entirety. Learning how to animate is a long process that most might not know about. Luckily, there are numerous events that work to highlight this journey.
One such event was the New Jersey Young Filmmakers Festival, which took place on Feb. 8 at the Sharp Theater.
Hosted by Ann Lepore of the School of Contemporary Arts, friends, family and Ramapo students gathered to watch the work of different animators all around New Jersey, with works from Mahwah High School, the Filmmakers Festival itself, Ramapo College and William Paterson University being shown to attendants.
Various kinds of animations were shown, from short films to Google Doodles, with some discussing themes such as motherhood, women’s empowerment and climate change.
Each category of work showed a different point in animation growth. With the works from Mahwah High School starting the night off, and ending with the two films from William Paterson, which just so happened to be two by MFA students, or Master of Fine Arts, that each took around 1-2 years to make.
“It’s almost like watching animators growing up,” Lepore commented while discussing the quality evolution that was highlighted during the festival.
With each short film came credits that showed everyone who worked on each project, from the animators to the composers to the people who provided voicework. The entire night emphasized just how many people contribute to animation, showing that it is not as simple as some might expect it to be.
After every short film was shown to the audience, Lepore called up some of the animators that were present at the event up to the stage. From there, a short Q&A session commenced, with questions regarding different aspects of the animation process.
One person asked how long it took for each person to animate their works, with some saying that it took weeks and others saying that it took around six months!
Another person asked about the software that the animators used to create their projects, with Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint and Adobe Premiere being just some of the programs that were named. They were even asked about what made them want to pursue animation as a career.
“I grew up really liking cartoons, so I quickly realized it was something I wanted to do, even as an adult,” answered Maria Gonzalez, a Ramapo College student whose short film was in the event.
When it comes to what question was the most important, it was arguably the one asked if the animators had anything to say to anyone considering going into animation. To this, Joe Kozdra of Mahwah High School emphasized the idea of looking back at the cartoons we watched while growing up.
“Just look at what you watched growing up. What made it your favorite show?” It was with this advice that the night finally came to a close.
The event left those who attended understanding the animation process a lot more, showing how intense the journey towards professional animation can be and executing entertaining and powerful animation, for both creators and viewers alike.