Report: Animation workshop in the ‘Thomas Stellmach Hall’

Two film screenings and an animation workshop in one go

Trickfilm-Show as infotainment

For 5 July 2022, the Ludwigsgymnasium Straubing invited me to introduce myself and present excerpts of my Trickfilm-Show to the 9th and 10th grade.

At the Citydom cinema in Straubing, the pupils watched five of my films, got an insight into how the films were made, and asked questions about my artistic work after the screening.

The program was apparently well received. The supervising teacher, Veronika Villing, told me afterwards that the pupils continued talking about the films on the way back in the bus.

I myself was a pupil at the Ludwigsgymnasium Straubing and took my A-levels there in 1986. Already during my school years I drew attention to myself with my successes in painting, as a theatre actor and filmmaker. To continue my winning streak, the headmaster at the time, Hartwig Kaunzer, gave me ten days off to attend the World Amateur Film Festival in Argentina. I received the first prize in the category ‘youth film’ there as well.

Since 30 May 2014, this school has had the Thomas-Stellmach-Hall. I feel very honored. The former ‘big film hall’, as it used to be called, was renamed to my name on the initiative of Markus Eberl, art teacher at Ludwigsgymnasium. In this room I had the elective subject film studies with Josef Guggeis. In the meantime, the hall has been converted into a multi-purpose room. Many events of the school take place there. When it is written about, the name of the hall is usually mentioned.

Animation workshop

The Ludwigsgymnasium also asked me to conduct an animation film workshop for 16 pupils of the enrichment group. These are gifted and motivated pupils who are offered special teaching programs as part of a support program.

The aim of the workshop was to produce an animated film that could be screened publicly in my Trickfilm-Show planned for the following Sunday.

The supervising teachers, Ms. Veronika Villing and Mr. Matthias Maas, prepared the one-day workshop with the pupils weeks in advance. The pupils were already developing ideas for an animation film, writing short scripts and making sketches, to which I gave my feedback from Kassel. They could understand my criticism and tips and continued to work with motivation.

Having traveled from Kassel to Straubing, I conducted the workshop in the ‘Thomas Stellmach Hall’. We discussed the ideas for the animated films right at the beginning and quickly agreed on which story was the mature and could be implemented well.

After a brief introduction to the process of making an animated film, the action really got underway. Highly motivated, the 16-member production team divided into working groups. Two of the pupils took over the direction, others the graphic design, still others provided ideas for the animation, worked on the animation table or dedicated themselves to the sound and the music. The schoolgirl who came up with the idea for the film was unfortunately unable to attend the workshop due to a Corona infection.

For the realization, we chose the cut-out animation technique. We built ourselves an animation desk with a webcam, used a laptop with stop motion software, and lightened the image area for animation with lamps from the school’s theatre fundus. With the help of a video beamer that projected the image of the webcam onto a large wall, everyone was able to continuously follow the work process and the progress of the animation.

There was a busy back and forth in the room all day. Teachers from the school stopped by to inquire how the workshop was going. The local newspaper, Karolina Binder from the Straubinger Tagblatt, also came by and wrote a report (in German).

It was a great atmosphere. Although everyone worked together with great dedication, we did not manage to finish the film by the official end of the workshop. A small group of the pupils stayed longer and continued working on the film, while other participants had to say goodbye and thanked me for the instructive workshop.

At 8 p.m., the time had finally come. The animation was recorded, the scenes edited and underlaid with sound and music. Now we could finally watch the complete film. The teachers and pupils stood tensely in front of the small monitor of the editing computer and watched the finished film. When we saw the result, we all clapped each other’s hands overjoyed.
This moment made it clear how much we had grown together during our collaboration. Now we could look forward to the premiere on Sunday.

After a brief introduction to the process of making an animated film, the action really got underway. Highly motivated, the 16-member production team divided into working groups. Two of the students took over the direction, others the graphic design, still others provided ideas for the animation, worked on the animation table or dedicated themselves to the sound and the music. The pupil who came up with the idea for the film was unfortunately unable to attend the workshop due to a Corona infection.

For the realization, we chose the cut-out animation technique. We built ourselves an animation desk with a webcam, used a laptop with stop motion software, and lightened the image area for animation with lamps from the school’s theatre fundus. With the help of a video beamer that projected the image of the webcam onto a large wall, everyone was able to continuously follow the work process and the progress of the animation.

There was a busy back and forth in the room all day. Teachers from the school stopped by to inquire how the workshop was going. The local newspaper, Karolina Binder from the Straubinger Tagblatt, also came by and wrote a report (in German).

It was a great atmosphere. Although everyone worked together with great dedication, we did not manage to finish the film by the official end of the workshop. A small group of the pupils stayed longer and continued working on the film, while other participants had to say goodbye and thanked me for the instructive workshop.

At 8 p.m., the time had finally come. The animation was recorded, the scenes edited and underlaid with sound and music. Now we could finally watch the complete film. The teachers and pupils stood tensely in front of the small monitor of the editing computer and watched the finished film. When we saw the result, we all clapped each other’s hands overjoyed.
This moment made it clear how much we had grown together during our collaboration. Now we could look forward to the premiere on Sunday.

Trickfilm-Show: Film programme and premiere of the workshop film

In a matinee on Sunday morning, at 11 o’clock, I presented my Trickfilm-Show to the audience at the Citydom cinema in Straubing more or less as a film programme.

At half-time of the programme, the 70-second workshop film had its premiere. After the projection, I asked the participants to stand up to show themselves to the applauding audience.

See a few impressions from the screenings on July 5, 2022 and July 10, 2022

A successful combination

All three events went very well and complemented each other perfectly.

At the film screening on 5 July 2022 the pupils saw my films and got an insight into my artistic work with shown photo and video material. On 6 July 2022, selected pupils realized their animated film CHANGE in our workshop. On 10 July 2022, Sunday morning, the pupils, their parents and the public saw the workshop film as part of my Trickfilm-Show on the big screen at the Citydom cinema Straubing.

With the experience the pupils gained in the first two events, they now saw my films with different eyes. The pupils were introduced to the art of animation in a memorable way. They got to know the possibilities of artistic expressions in animation filmmaking and learned about me, my occupational field and the skills you need to get closer to your dream job. An important side effect of the workshop was that the participants learned about the interests and talents of their fellow pupils. Mutual appreciation, including appreciation of one’s own person, was fostered when one’s own skills were suddenly called upon in a film team.

I remember well the moments when pupils and teachers told us about their special interests during the workshop. For example, a student, who had just graduated from Ludwigsgymnasium, took part in the workshop and told us that he would like to become a film composer. Another young participant mentioned that he already makes stop motion films. A teacher who helped us with the lighting of the film set told us that he worked for a well-known light bulb and LED company, before he decided to teach.

Read here how the Ludwigsgymnasium writes about it or get more information about my workshops and Trickfilm-Show.

If you would like to attend one of my next events go to my events calendar.

Workshop result: Film CHANGE

Acknowledgments

Without personnel and financial support, these events would not have been possible. I am also very glad that this series of events was possible despite the Corona pandemic.

I would like to sincerely thank the teaching staff of Ludwigsgymnasium, all supporters and sponsors, the Parents’ Council of  Ludwigsgymnasium, Sparkasse Niederbayern-Mitte, Volksbank Straubing (mediated by the Office for Culture and Education of the City of Straubing), Bayernwerk AG, Citydom Cinema Straubing and the Straubinger Tagblatt for making this series of events possible, supporting or sponsoring it.

Many thanks also to Claudia Tiemann and Herwig Hlawa for their indispensable help and efforts and to my parents for their financial support. My thanks also go to Karlheinz Frankl for the idea of inviting me and to Markus Eberl for renaming the ‘film hall’ to ‘Thomas Stellmach Hall’.