by Dominic Hackley
Last Wednesday, Summer Arts went on an exciting field trip to Little Airplane Productions animation studio. Little Airplane studio is one of the few full production studios in the country where all aspects of the animation process are done under one roof.
The production house occupies an incredible 5-story building that was once the South Street Seaport museum. Upon entering, we were greeted by Jordan Geary, one of the studio’s associate producers. Jordan began our tour by showing the kids video clips and still photos of the TV shows that the studio produces. He told us the story of how Josh Selig, ten-time Emmy winner for his writing on Sesame Street, started Little Airplane Productions.
We were then introduced to one of the studio writer’s who outlined the process of a television episode, starting with brainstorming an idea, sending it to the networks for authorization, then giving it to the writers who write a plot summary and then finally a script. Jordan then asked the Summer Arts students to brainstorm an idea for a new episode of The Wonder Pets, one of the studio’s most successful television series.
Following our brainstorming session, we went to the sketch artist who showed the students how characters are created. The artists create all of the characters in black and white and send them to the designers to color, cloth and accessorize them. The designer let the kids pick colors and clothes for the character they helped to create. After character creation, we continued on to the animation area. The animators were hard at work, all animating different characters for multiple scenes of many episodes. We were privileged to see how a scene of Wonder Pets is animated from start to finish.
Last stop on our tour was the sound studio, which is a fully equipped studio to record sound effects, voice-overs and full-scale orchestras. We met the studio’s sound director. He demonstrated the entire process of putting sound effects, voices and music together with the animations to create the finished product that we see on television. He let the Summer Arts students go into the sound booth and record their voices. He then mixed their voices into one of the animations. It was incredible for the kids to hear themselves as the voices on an episode of the Wonder Pets. Summer Arts’ trip to Little Airplane Productions was an exciting experience that allowed the kids a very close look into animation production.