We’ve delivered our first Signal Starters workshop, which is part of a brand new film and media project kindly supported by BBC Children in Need. Signal Starters aims to direct youngsters in the Barrow-in-Furness area towards developing their Film and Media skills.
Signal programmed a series of mini taster workshops during the past Whit Week; with help from outside film and media professionals we tutored a select number of primary school children in Barrow-in-Furness in animation and story writing. The participants worked towards creating a short shadow puppet animation within these 3 days and ended with a live screening to family and friends along with a short Q&A. This opportunity also offered the involved youngsters the chance to gain their Explore Arts Award.
During the workshops there was continuous professional guidance and tuition from practicing professionals Zosia Wand (a local Scriptwriter whose work has featured recently on Radio 4) and Russell Peet (his short animations have featured recently on BBC Newsnight). The first session was lead by Zosia Wand who guided the children in designing their own characters and events in order to construct an original short story from scratch. This process involved the children choosing appealing words to use to describe their protagonists; they then discussed word meanings and afterwards used what they found to formulate their entire story.
The other 3 short sessions were run by Russell Peet who led the children in creating their shadow puppets, set design, followed by the development of the story through the animation of the handmade puppets. This was finally animated behind a large screen, which was used to cast the shadows of the puppets. The children gained newfound experience in the animation of characters, the use of digital equipment take on leadership roles themselves and guided each other in the concluding animation.
“The children gained lots of new skills in story writing, shadow puppet making and filmmaking but they also gained confidence and new friends! It was a delight working with this group! “ Says Rachel Capovila, project coordinator at Signal Film and Media.