And that’s me back from what used to be known as Screen Academy Wales, but is now called Media Academy Wales — am I the only person who thinks that sounds considerably less cool? This was probably my last storylining workshop of 2011, for BA and MA students in film, video, and games from several Welsh colleges.
As ever, I began by ranting at them about odd ideas, rules and techniques in the animation business. As ever, the students didn’t disappoint, pitching two series ideas that they were forced to wrench into existence in less than two hours.
In Chronokids, modern day children develop the ability to travel in time, and an awareness that thieves are looting Earth from the future. Meanwhile, for Fallen Angel, another group pitched a class-aware eco-drama set in a drowned New York, where a poor little rich girl falls from one of skyscrapers that still stick out of the sea, and is adopted by kindly mutant fish-folk engaged in a war against toxic dumping.
These pitches join other great ideas like Choc Shock, Hattie Bast: Mummy’s Girl, Decontaminators and Waxing Moon, all of which have been whipped up out of nothing by students on previous workshops. I’m not saying it’s easy, but sometimes the students seem surprised by how their own brainstorming can create something that can give real TV shows a run for their money. And that’s the idea of the storylining workshop: simply to give people the confidence to know that they should never be afraid of a blank piece of paper, or indeed of saying a dumb idea. As ever, the “dumb” ideas turned out to be the ones that made it to centre stage.
What was different about this session was that some of the students suggested that they might even take one of the ideas and develop it further as part of their course work. Well, why the hell not? If something comes of it somewhere down the line, that would be a Saturday morning in Cardiff well-spent.