What makes it work? Shelley Page of Dream Works recently took MAAC students on a creativity trip.

What can top the experience of watching some of the world’s best animated shorts? And when these shorts are explained detailing thrie creative and technical aspects by a representative from one of the leading animation studios in the world — DreamWorks?

Shelley Page, Head of international outreach at DreamWorks Animation, always carries with her samples of some of the best animated films that she comes across as a panellist and judge at several international festivals. Shelley has been working in the field of feature animation since 1986 and her credentials include all of our animated favourites — Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Shrek (1to4), Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

She screened her collection titled Eye Candy, for the students of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) in Mumbai. The shorts included works by both students and professionals from across the globe — France, U.K., Germany, China and the U.S. — all in a variety of animation genres.

Storytelling

Through the length of the presentation, the one thing that Shelly stressed on was “storytelling.” She said, “What is important is taking the audience on a journey through the film. Storytelling has to be interesting.” Because as a member of the jury at several festivals and competitions, it is her observation that an animation work is judged on not just technical quality but also its ability to entertain and wow the audience. “We (studios) don’t look for directors but animators who can breathe life into a character. That is why animators need to spend as much time observing reality.”

As the shorts — one after the other — were screened, one could easily ascertain how much catching-up animation in India has to do. Right from the technical quality and stories to character sketches, they were all top-notch. Some shorts didn’t even have a story but were scripted around a powerful idea. Like Rollin’ Wild for instance, created by a trio comprising two girls and a boy, the series of clips have just one premise — what if animals were round? To know what I mean, check out www.rollinwild.com.

Shelley says that the clips (some made by second-year students) are so popular and effective in their purpose that the team is being sought-after by several major studios, but who will have to wait as they are yet to even graduate!