Award winning animator visits Thomas Hinderwell Primary Academy

It’s not every day that you get to meet and work with an award winning film crew member but on Thursday the 11th of June that is exactly what eighteen pupils from Thomas Hinderwell Primary Academy had the chance to do.

Having worked on the Oscar winning Wallace and Grommet film 'Curse of the Wear-Rabbit' and with Dream Works studios Virpi Kettu has set up her own animation workshop in Skipton called Kettu Studios and she made the trip to sunny Scarborough to help a selection of year three, four and five pupils produce animations to tie in with Anti Bullying week.

In the morning the pupils were busy writing story boards for their films and designing and sculpting plasticine models. We also collected props and materials for backdrops that we would be using and had a brief introduction to the animation software on the school iPads courtesy of our IT technician Andy. The level of creativity and skill in planning and creating their story boards and models blew us away and we could tell we were in for some excellent productions! It was especially brilliant to see pupils who might not have ever worked together before, being from different classes,  getting stuck in and bringing lots of ideas to their group. It really was a superb display of the Thomas Hinderwell ethos!

After a break for lunch and fresh air we welcomed our guest to the school and enjoyed a short presentation on the history and mechanics of animation and also had a quick question and answer session about our task ahead. The pupils also got the chance to have a look at some actual props and models that Virpi had brought with her from the films she has worked on. We never expected to have an up close meeting with the actual Wallace!

We then transferred to the dining hall to create our animations and the children assembled their sets, props and characters to begin shooting. Everyone quickly got the hang of positioning and moving their models and taking each frame of film. All the teams were busy and working well together to get the job done with roles assigned for director, camera person and character placement. Virpi expertly guided us through the process and gave us lots of tips on how to make our films even more polished. Even though we were working all afternoon the films will only be very short due to the nature of the animation method we were using, each second consists of twelve individual frames. Once the visual side of the movies had been finished the pupils then got the chance to become voice actors and give their characters even more depth.


The audio and video were then blended together by Virpi to provide a finished article which we will show to the whole school.


After an exhausting day we bid farewell to Virpi and the children received a diploma in animation from Kettu Studios. Virpi was particularly impressed with the hard work and dedication our pupils showed and thought that their ideas and creations were outstanding, especially given that the pupils had no idea what they were in for when they were plucked from their usual classes first thing in the morning!

We would like to offer a huge THPA thank you to Virpi and look forward to working with Kettu Studios again in the future. Please visit Kettu Studios on the links below for more great information.