In a time when children in classrooms are taught to be more concerned with capital letters, conjunctions, connectives and clauses than creative writing I fear we are losing the magical art of storytelling.
It can be hard in a crowded curriculum to find a place for telling tales and sharing stories. And yet our brains are hardwired to understand and retain stories, with the best and most memorable ones tapping into people’s emotions.
Storytelling connects us to our humanity. It links us to our past, and allows us to imagine our future.
In a world of digital sound bites and online games animation provides a unique space for storytelling.
You don't need to be able to spell or even write, you don't need to be an articulate confident speaker, you don't even need to speak the same language as your audience, you just need a story to tell and a little patience. The simplest of ideas, combined with unsophisticated characters can produce the most endearing of tales.
Using Zu3D children have retold classic stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood; where a plasticine wolf blows down real straw and real sticks to chase plasticine pigs to a Lego house. Children act out the story, use inbuilt sound effects or record their own voice. They live the stories scene by scene, acting them out in advance, then hang off every precious second of film as they watch it back. The stories become ingrained into them, like all the best stories are in all of us, to be told to their children and their children's children.
Animating with Zu3D gives children instant access to host of powerful animation features. It is easy to animate in front of a green background and combine that with live action video. We've seen this used to make dragon's eat schools, and dinosaurs wonder down corridors. Children have had face to face conversations with their own clay creations made life sized, they've ridden unicorns through cloudy skies and cleaned the teeth of a giant.
Storytelling is much more than just telling a tale, it requires higher order thinking skills and allows children to recount events, report the news and relay information. Animations have been created with Zu3D to tell the story of the water cycle, give live new reports from Aztec sacrifices and watch Samuel Pepys bury his cheese.
The process of creating an animation can include research, script writing, voice acting, storyboarding, model making and painting, to name but a few. It gives children of all abilities the opportunity to use their own unique set of skills to be part of the storytelling process. The most unwilling writer can be the keenest animator.
The true magic of animation is using nothing but patience and an idea to bring the your imagination to life, for everyone to see.
See some of the films described here on the online animation gallery or download Zu3D and experience the magic for yourself.