Since 2012, Australia’s biggest schools initiative, Music: Count Us In (MCUI), has been collaborating with the Why Music Matters campaign to create a fun and engaging animation to go along with the annual MCUI program song. This year’s program song, ‘One Song’, was written and recorded by students earlier this year and will be sung by nearly a million people on Thursday 1 November.
2018 marks the 7th year of this collaboration. “The animations have become more sophisticated in their educational focus,” said Vanessa Hutley, the General Manager of Why Music Matters. “We’ve been getting feedback from teachers and students saying what they wanted to get out of it,” she said.
I asked Vanessa how they go about finding animators for the collaboration. “We see this as an opportunity to highlight young graduates who have done a bit of professional work,” she said. “We go to websites of universities who run animation courses and look at student’s show reels and approach the students directly,” said Vanessa.
The student animators they found this year came in the form of Jennifer Quach and Nathan Khamdara. Jennifer explained the process of creating this year’s animation for ‘One Song’. “It begins with initial conception of ideas and designs for characters and setting. We draw multiple designs… more often than not, the first design that is made is usually not the one which is chosen,” she said. “The next stage is to brainstorm ideas and storyboard the music video. That usually entails ideas for camera shots and how to translate our narrative to the screen. After finishing off the rough draft of the storyboard, we make an animatic. This is a video with still images that we sync and cut together with music and sound effects to provide a rough timing and feel to the animation. It is then compiled together using editing software to give us a final check on what the outcome would be and finally it is rendered.” said Jennifer.
You can view this wonderful animation of ‘One Song’ below.
When I asked Nathan and Jennifer if they had any advice for aspiring animators, Nathan told me, “Draw often and learn from mistakes because that’s the most effective way to learn, there’s not really any magic method or fast way to do it,” he said. And Jennifer, quoting a very famous animated character… “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”