“Storytelling in Animations” class showcases group animation projects to the community

May 04, 2017

Author: Andrew Greenman, '10

In partnership with Pigmental Studios, located on campus, a new class, "Storytelling in Animations," was provided to students this spring. Co-taught by Marina Martins, chief executive officer of Pigmental Studios, and Marina Dzougoutov, '01, Communication Studies associate professor, this class encouraged students to learn how to write scripts and develop characters for animated shows.

On May 2, 2017, the class showed off their animation work at an open event, held at the Pigmental Studios office, located at the Appleby Building. While students developed characters and scripts for their group shows, Pigmental staff members created the animations based on how characters were described and how the script flowed. Their projects were based on the Silver Scorpion comic book, mixing in some tidbits of the college experience. This book was developed by a group of students with disabilities from America and Syria during a summit sponsored by the Open Hands initiative in 2010.

"It was my hope that my students would become skilled storytellers," said Martins. "I encouraged them to focus on their characters' development, ensuring that their characters were fully developed and had in-depth dimensions to them."

Martins acknowledged the short time frame the class had in terms of developing their stories. "I know one semester wasn't enough to truly develop a full story, but the seeds were planted, and students developed a better idea of the intricate nature of animation development."

Dzougoutov agreed, adding that working with Pigmental was beneficial to students by giving them a more hands-on experience.

"I never dreamed that we would actually be working with Pigmental, right here on campus, and actually teaching our students how to create concepts for animations," said Dzougoutov. "It has been an inspiring experience."Students, pictured with Martins and Dzougoutov, showed their animation work off to the campus at an open event held on May 2, 2017. While students developed characters and scripts for their group shows, Pigmental staff members created the animations based on how characters were described and how the script flowed.

Students showed their works transformed into animations in groups, while providing brief descriptions of their projects and explaining what they had learned throughout the semester. Students, pictured with Martins and Dzougoutov, showed their animation work off to the campus at an open event held on May 2, 2017. While students developed characters and scripts for their group shows, Pigmental staff members created the animations based on how characters were described and how the script flowed.

"It was initially a challenge, developing characters for the script," said student Cody Reidy. "The class subject was new to all of us, but after stumbling at the beginning, we came a long way and developed a rapport."

Student Shirley Shannon emphasized the importance of collaboration.

"Without teamwork, our projects would not have been a success," said Shannon. "Most of us came to the class expecting to draw animations. Instead, we were expected to write scripts. We had to collectively work as a team and think things through together."

During her closing speech, Martins reflected upon the semester and her first time teaching Gallaudet students.

"This class taught me to become a better storyteller as well," said Martins. "I look forward to teaching this class again, and seeing the next generation of storytellers."

To learn more about Pigmental Studios, visit http://www.pigmentalstudios.com/.

Photos by Zhee Chatmon.