Museums at Night – 20-second animations call

There’s a £1,000 competition for a 20-second animation to promote the national British ‘Museums at Night’ weekend in May 2010…

“… of late-night museum openings […] There are sleepovers, ghost hunts, torchlight tours, illuminations, pop up bars and many other kinds of entertainment […] animations should be humorous and fun”

Closing date: 31st March 2010. There’s no mention of any nationality requirement in the brief. All assets must be cleared for possible TV showing, so you should use all royalty-free content. Bear in mind that while SmartSound-generated music is royalty-free it isn’t cleared for mass-market national TV broadcast (or for theatrical-release feature-films for that matter).

“Whatever you do on the sleepover, kids, don’t wake up mummy!”

Adobe Story

Adobe Story. Free in unfinished beta form, for now…

“Welcome to the free preview of Adobe Story, a collaborative script development tool designed for creative professionals, producers, and writers working on or with scripts and screenplays. This preview version will let you try out a few of the scriptwriting tools that will be part of the overall features in the final version of Story.”

It requires browser plugins, and is apparently destined to be an online addon to the Adobe Production Suite bundle.

Of course if you need plots and can’t think of any, there’s always the possibility of using plots from works that have fallen into the public domain, and which are royalty-free. For example, the 122 Librivox recordings of science fiction stories and novels, in which volunteers read stories from the Project Gutenberg public domain archives. These readings would need to be suitably edited down and condensed to their core story moments, of course, if you’re going to use the narrator. Since otherwise even the shortest of the short stories are way too long for most animators, at around 25-30 minutes.

Or maybe even plot ideas drawn from monster comics of the 1950s. They come with storyboard ideas included…

Tiger Machinima

An hour-long back-bedroom machinima takes a pot-shot at mindless and draconian government censorship of the internet. Is it from Iran? Australia? Cuba?  Close — it’s from China. The video is a 100-actor World of Warcraft machinima made in 2009, but which has seemingly only just reached the West.

So far it’s been seen by 10 million viewers, although perhaps that’s not such a good figure when you think of the billions that make up the Chinese population. Background info and explication on the state persecution of Chinese videogame fans and internet users is here.