Animated antics: Avy meets Aardman

25 August 2021

Avy Aardman showreel

The course built my confidence week by week. 

It was inspiring having Q&A course sessions with award winning directors such as Susie Templeton, confirming my belief that I am on the right path.

Type: Video
Category: Our graduates

Final-year Animation & Visual Effects student Avy shares her Aardman Academy experience after securing ScreenSkills funding for the prestigious summer course.

After a competitive application process, third-year Animation student Avy was awarded a ScreenSkills bursary to undertake her dream stop motion course with the legendary Aardman Academy.

The world-famous studio is the creator of animated classics Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Creature Comforts, and has four Academy Awards to its name.

The Aardman Academy is committed to nurturing talent by delivering excellence in film and animation training and mentoring. Their courses offer access to support, guidance, teaching and mentorships that are devised and run by world-leading professionals.

From working with award-winning directors to watching the Aardman co-founder Peter Lord animate Morph, the course was a "unique and special experience" for Avy. As she's recently finished the course, we caught up with her to find out more.

How has the course helped develop your skills as an animator?

Because of setbacks during Covid 2020, I decided to take the opportunity to continue learning stop motion this year and learn from the best. I had an Aardman mentor who was really positive and encouraging and I learnt how professionals approach the practicalities, performance and technical aspects of working on commercials and feature films.

The course was delivered via Zoom and I could share work and ask for advice on the shoot each week. The course built my confidence week by week and ended with a full final project.

I produced a pitch piece that adds quality to my showreel. I learnt how to construct and maintain a professional armature and then animate with professional techniques and a fully fabricated body, so I achieved my aim! That being said, I still need to practice regularly - stop motion is not easy.

What are your plans for the future?

I am applying for Arts Council funding right now so I can explore making a sequel to my graduation film, a stop motion story set in the time of the Liberation of Europe.

It was inspiring having Q&A course sessions with award winning directors such as Susie Templeton, confirming my belief that I am on the right path. I am also pursuing an ongoing arts career in tandem, having won the Floating Circle prize last year from the Royal West of England Academy. Creatively the two are definitely entwined!

I hope to attend festivals including Cornwall Film Festival 2021 and to pitch using animation work I produced at the Aardman Academy. I now have Alumni status and am part of a great community, we are continuing to keep in touch as an international group of enthusiastic and mutually supportive stop motion animators.

What’s your favourite Aardman film?

Obviously The Wrong Trousers, because when it was released, there was nothing quite like it and Gromit is such an iconic hero. I was born and raised in Preston, growing up 5 minutes from where Nick Park [Wallace & Gromit creator] lived. But I also really love War Story as it's a light-hearted look at wartime life and it helped me storyboard my graduation film A New Life Tomorrow.

Did you see any Wallace and Gromit figurines during your time on the course?

The course is delivered remotely so not as such! Better still, we did get the opportunity to watch specially created masterclasses, including the award-winning Will Becher animating Bitzer. Plus the true privilege of seeing Peter Lord animate Morph – a unique and special experience!

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