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Animation places at State UIL

Felix Kalvesmaki, Commentary editor

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Two films created by animation students, “Flightless” and “Cowboys and Candles,” placed at a State UIL competition on March 1. “Flightless” took direction from senior Sarah Fonville, while “Cowboys and Candles” was directed by junior Ben Phillips.

Upon hearing her students’ achievement, animation teacher Karen Adams said she was thrilled.

“I was just excited,” Adams said. “I was very, very, very excited for this team. I know how hard they worked.”

“Flightless” placed second, while “Cowboys and Candles” placed sixth. The students started working on the award-winning films early in the school year and put hours upon hours of time into the films.

“All the kids started in August,” Adams said. “And they pretty much worked all the way from August until right up to when it was due, which was the second week of January. They put in a lot of weekday hours.”

In order to finish their films, Adams said the students stayed at their computers well after school. Their longest sessions stretched into the darkest hours of the night.

“The latest we stayed at school to work was midnight on a Saturday,” Adams said. “We did okay, but even though [Animation Practicum] is double-blocked, we had to stay late on weeknights.”

Adams’ students can attest to their work ethic. Senior Max Wilson, who worked on “Flightless,” said animation can be a repetitive process.

“Animation is generally tedious,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of fun for me, but I can imagine for others it might be a little tedious. But overall, I think it turned out pretty well.”

After finding out they’d advanced to the state level, the two teams travelled to Austin to watch their work screen at the Paramount Theater. They stood among their fellow finalists and examined their competing works.

“It’s like a red carpet affair,” Adams said. “We drove down on a Wednesday, and came back on Thursday. They have an awards ceremony, everybody gets all dressed up, it’s really pretty cool.”

Wilson, who has been a member of the animation program for three years, said that despite the hard work, he’s more than enthusiastic to be a member of the team.

“I always think it’s worth it.” Wilson said. “Even if we don’t finish it, I think it’s worth it. It’s really good practice, really good work experience on artwork.”

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