I work in the education department at the Fresno Art Museum in
California, and we just finished an animation camp last month. We did
almost exactly what you're planning to do, having the kids write a
story, create a storyboard, think about the plot and
conflict/resolution. We were successful and the kids had a ton of fun.
There are some things I would change. Like the other person mentioned,
our kids also didn't stick to their storyboards. We realize that it's
fun to do some experimenting while filming, and that's fine. But the
end result didn't always match what their intentions were.
Before they did their 3D animation, we had them do 2D animation. They
used paper cut-outs from magazines and paper scraps and that helped
them to understand pacing. They used digital cameras, and my colleague
and I uploaded them into iMovie. After they saw their projects, they
were able to take notes and prepare for their final movies.
I highly recommend the program called Frame Thief. We only had one
group use it because of lack of equipment, but it's incredibly easy on
us and them. You will need a digital camcorder with firewire and all
the students do is hit the space bar to take a picture. There is no
uploading photos, they can play back what they've already shot, and
there is a feature called "onion skin" where the last picture is a
"ghost" over their next picture. The program is free to download for
I also recommend Wallace and Gromit, plus watch the bonus features on
the DVD of The Nightmare Before Christmas. There is a
storyboard-to-film comparison that will really be helpful in
I also had them choose a job, i.e. one person is the director,
director of photography, set designer, etc. We felt they should all
contribute to writing the script and they rotated jobs each scene so
they each had a chance to operate the camera, work with lighting, etc.
We also required they have at least two different backgrounds, and
three different camera angles (close-up, medium shot, long shot).