Triggerfish, an award winning South African animation studio, has entered into a partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation. Called Triggerfish Academy, the new learning platform features a with 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation.

“The South African animation industry is growing - and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to  the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.

South Africa's animation industry

The announcement and launch of Triggerfish Academy comes not so long after another initiative aiming to grow South Africa's animation industry was announced. Earlier in June 2019, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct along with the country's National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) entered into partnership agreements with France-based animation school, Gobelins, and the French Embassy in South Africa. The aim of this partnership is to grow South Africa's animation industry skills pipeline by offering training, internships and scholarships to animators.

The animation course offered by Triggerfish Academy has been created by Tim Argall. Argall is currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team.

“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job. When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin,” said Argall.

The whole aim of the course, according to Argall, is to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation.

Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme.

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