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The Big Picture

​Fifty WSD students spent two days brainstorming with a Disney animator as part of MAniJam: the Manitoba Animation Jam.

Sisler High School hosted the special event, which was held March 6and 7. Trent Correy, who has worked on major animated films such as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia and Moana, led the event.

Along with celebrating animation, students learned about Mr. Correy's career path and opportunities in the industry. Participants also worked on animated projects for the "jam" portion of the event and covered essential skills such as pitching stories and drawing.

"From caricature drawing to shot breakdowns to portfolios and demo reels and making connections, it's been very rewarding for students to take part in this event," said Sisler Interactive Digital Media head Jamie Leduc. "If you are passionate and never stop learning, the sky is the limit."

Mr. Leduc actually taught Mr. Correy in high school years ago, while both were living in Ottawa.

"Having a former student take the time to give back to these younger students is awesome," Mr. Leduc said. "He's giving back to the next generation of animators."

Mr. Correy said students must adapt to the role of perpetual learners; software is always evolving and the industry is marked by continual change.

"It feels like every couple of months, I'm learning a new tool or program. In animation and technology in general, you just have to stay up to date on everything," he said, adding that today's students have a level of fluency with technology that goes beyond anything seen previously.

"These kids will be rock stars. They're growing up with iPads and iPhones, they're playing games younger and younger. So they have that hand-eye coordination and they're used to interfacing and learning new technology all of the time."

Students said Mr. Correy's visit has sparked their imaginations and given them an idea of what is possible in the industry.

"It's so inspiring to come face-to-face with someone who actually made it to Disney—it gives hope for all of us," said one Sisler student.

The student added it was nice to see traditional artistic skills, like drawing, still having value in the animation field. "Trent is all about old school skills, he said if he could, he would do pencil drawing all of the time."

In an industry that is characterized by change, those traditional skills are also the most timeless and useful.

"Drawing is the quickest and easiest way to learn about animation, everything else is just a different tool…a computer is a more elaborate pencil," Mr. Correy said.

Organizers said the event would not have been possible without the generous support of Manitoba Film and Music and Tangent Animation.

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