Monday, July 25, 2011

Camelittle- A Year in the Making

For all of you that don't know, this past year I created, wrote and directed an animated children's show at my college. The show was called Camelittle, and it is set in Medieval times at a boarding school. The school is where children go to learn their certain "trade" such as: peasants, princesses, duchesses, wizards, knights and so on. The school's headmaster is the eccentric brother of Merlin, named Marlin. The children all have to deal with the everyday situations that all children go through like: crushes, popular kids, bullies, fitting in, and they also have to worry about dragons, magic, and other crazy medieval things.
original character designs
This show was so much fun to create and write because, as many of you know, I LOVE children's television! I still watch cartoons and kid shows, they are just so much fun. So I knew that I wanted to create a children's cartoon, much like the ones I grew up with. I first came up with the idea because I love history, I always thought it was so cool to learn about different time eras and to think about how the children would have lived then. So I picked medieval times because I love princesses, but then I started thinking what if they all had to go to a school to learn how to be their outcome in life.

Let me backtack though, this whole thinking of an animated show first started because my college's student run television program, AVW, was having pitches for new shows. So my nerdy boyfriend, Ryan, and I decided that we wanted to pitch an animated children's show. The competition began, we both began thinking of ideas for children's shows. That's when I thought of Camelittle and told Ryan about it. He loved it and we began thinking of characters and a title! (I came up with the title in case any of you were worried.)

My Brothers and I!
The first characters I thought of (and they happen to be my favorite) are Forthwind and Borin, which are inspired by my brothers, Eugene and Colton. My brothers are the funniest, nicest, crazy boys I know and they are constantly making me laugh. I thought they would be perfect for a children's show, especially mine! Their characters in the show are a knight and a squire who are constantly bickering with one another. They are there for a laugh but you know that they care about each other deep down.

Forthwind and Borin
So after we had finally discussed characters and the story we began trying to figure out exactly how we were going to make this show. Neither one of us had any animation experience, nor did we even know how to run an animated show. The first thing we did was get storyboard genius and all around artistic visionary extraordinare, Sarah Queen to join in. Sarah loves medieval stuff, not to mention she is artistic in every way possible. I called her up and she was immediately interested. She signed on as head of illustration and co-director, not to mention storyboard artist and co-writer. Next we got one of the greatest producers I know, Alison Meyers. Even though she didn't really have any experience in animation either, she loves children's media and just has her stuff together. She joined as Producer and pretty much made sure all of us had our stuff together. None of us had any experience still but we had faith and perseverance that kept us going.
Our crew was just as inexperienced as all of we were, but that was my favorite part of Camelittle, we all helped each other learned. Ryan learned all of his animating skills at the beginning of Fall 2010, and he headed up the animation department because he loved it so much and he kept practicing til he became a crazy good animator. We were all we learning things together, I myself learned some animating and photoshop, however I am way too impatient to actually animate anything. I was better at organizing and telling people what to do. I like to think that our greatest accomplishment was having a crew come together and learn about a artform that we never really had an outlet before in our school.
2nd place at the Creativity Expo
We all soon learned how difficult it actually was to animate. We had originally hoped to have a full 25 minute two part episode, however we realized we were going to have a hard time getting one 11 minute episode complete. It roughly takes 3 to 4 hours to animate a second of footage, depending on the shot. However we never gave up! I had never been as proud of my crew as I was those last few weeks of school. We not only had to finish our episode and plan for our premiere, we also had to compete in the Creativity Expo because they had awarded us a grant. We are very happy we did compete though, we came in 2nd place in the Media Arts awards and 3rd place in the Business School Entrepreneurship award!

A picture taken by Sway the Crowd
of Michael Stephens and I
talking about backgrounds.
We then had to work hard to complete the episode and plan for our premiere! Sarah, Ryan, Mara and myself pulled many all nighters that last week to make sure our episode was presentable and we had everything we needed for the premiere! We organized an entire festival that benefitted the Make a Wish Foundation, and ultimately raised $400. The premiere was a great success, as was the episode. It was all I could have hoped it would be! We were also so lucky to have the very talented, Sway the Crowd Productions, make us and AWESOME behind the scenes documentary.

Michael Bierhup was awarded Camelittle's
Most Dedicated Member
at this year's Avies!

Overall, this past year has been such a whirlwind, but I am so incredible proud and happy of everything I myself and my crew has accomplished. We created an animated television show, something that has never been done at Ohio University before. I am also very happy to say that Camelittle will be continuing on next year with the very talented Katy Lewis taking over as producer and Brynnie DeLange and Tiara Brown taking over as directors. I look forward to seeing what they create and I hope that Ohio University will have Camelittle as long as there are students there that wish to work with animation.

Camelittle's Festival before the Premiere

This show means so much to me, it is my baby! I created and raised it and now it is off and running. I was lucky though and had the help of sooo many wonderful and dedicated students. I am very happy that I got to meet and work with so many great people and I hope I have the chance to work with them again in the future. They all put so much time and energy into this that it is surreal to me. I cannot thank them enough for all the work and time they gave to Camelittle, it couldn't have gotten done without them.

Now to bring this very long, emotional rant to a close, I am happy to say that Camelittle is finished and we are currently in the process of sending it out to festivals and making DVD's. If you would like to see Camelittle please email me at and I can send you a link and password to watch it. You can also email me if you are interested in recieving a DVD of Camelittle.

Ryan, Mara, Sara, me, and Alison posing with
our characters at the Camelittle Premiere.

Again, many thanks to everyone who has helped Camelittle! My parents, crew, family, friends, and especially to Ryan, Sarah, Mara and Alison, without all of you this would have never been possible.

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