May 18, 2018
Media Arts

Animation in South Africa

ANIMATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

Exciting things are happening in our local animation industry. We have several animated TV series that are in various stages of production from Mama K's Super 4, Superhero Girls From Africa, to a hero using a spirit's powers as if a medium in Anansi. For more light-hearted entertainment we have "Moosebox" and "Munki and Trunk". If you are new to the animation scene, South Africa has produced several animated features since 2011 with some of the well-known films such as Zambezia and Khumba. If you watched TV series such as “Caillou”, “(Mr) Monsieur Bebe” or “F is for family” then you are already familiar with locally animated content that was created for the international market through a service agreement.

Local animation is developing at a steady pace and like all things in animation it takes time. Instant gratification is not found in this industry. It’s about staying in for the long haul. Animation is a collaborative, group effort, with a studio consisting of highly skilled individuals all fulfilling a specific role towards a common end goal.

It usually takes a while; months and even years before a concept, script and design finally become animated characters on screen as it travels along a pipeline with various people contributing along the way. Getting international co-production agreements signed between the network and the studios is just as time consuming but over the past few years various developments are finally getting the airtime they deserve.

It’s very exciting to work on an animation project, whether it be for film or a TV series, as each project brings with it fresh challenges that encourage you to learn more about the world around you in order to animate it. I'm not going to lie. It is hours of hard work, dedication and most of all perseverance, but in the end nothing is more rewarding than watching the movie or TV show you spent months working on,  together with your family, when it airs for the first time. The sense of accomplishment and pride overwhelms you. Then you criticise your work and vow to do even better the next time!

So animation is about big rewards that come at the end of long, hard working hours but what other career offers you the chance to create an entire new virtual world with its own characters and environment? Imagine anything you can dream of is yours to create in a virtual world where you are the creator.

What you think of you can create, breathe life into and it will never die. Nothing we do is instant and it usually takes months until something is tangible and presentable, it is however everlasting and therefore can be watched for generations to come.

So what do you need to be an animator?  We learn not only cinematographic techniques that film makers use but also drawing and design principles, animation principles combined with acting principles to help us understand movement and performance.  We also need to be good storytellers.

If all of this appeals to you, then join us fellow animators in a world of your imagining.........

 

Garth Sanders