News: Create Taiwan launches AniMissions!
First, a bit of history. Ten years ago, the School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions (SoCAM) began at Create Thailand in Chiang Mai to meet a growing need for artists in YWAM to use their artistic skills in missions. We trained them in comics and animation in order to reach the unreached with the gospel. As of today, that school has run nine times (three times in Thailand, six times in Taiwan) and trained a total of 29 students!
However, a lot has changed in the last ten years. For one thing, we have started a new six-week seminar called the Frontier Comics Seminar (FCS), which focuses exclusively on producing evangelistic comics for unreached peoples. This program is now running in Washington State and in Japan. Secondly, we have seen changes in software. The Adobe Creative Suite has become more inaccessible with their subscription-based license, while free open source programs like Blender are becoming industry standards. Also, since the recent pandemic, educators everywhere are looking for new, creative ways to increase their reach. It’s no coincidence that we decided in 2019 to take a break from running our flagship SoCAM to reevaluate the program and plan for the future.
After much prayer, thought, and counsel, we have decided to retire the SoCAM and register a completely new school with the University of the Nations (UofN). AniMissions will be dually registered as two 12-week credited schools with the UofN proper, and as four 6-week seminars with UofN Extension Studies (ES). This means that YWAM students can take the course for a full 24 credits, and students who have not completed a Discipleship Training School (DTS) can also take the full course as seminars through UofN ES. We can then offer the course online to those living in other locations.
The lecture weeks on developing comics will be no longer included, as the FCS is now doing a great job covering that topic. We will be focusing mainly on animation using the free open source Blender environment (for both 2D and 3D animation), and our whole production pipeline will also change. Students who take the course will learn storyboarding, character design, modeling, materials, texturing, rigging, lighting, animation, physics, sound design, and editing. We will continue to cover the Biblical basis of missions, cultural world view, contextualization, and missions media strategy.
The format of our lecture will also change to a “flipped classroom” scheme where students can watch prerecorded training lectures by our experienced instructors at their own pace, then class time will be used for feedback, questions, individual instruction, and project time. We hope this method will help bridge the skill gap we often see in our training programs, as we typically have a variety of students ranging from beginners to more advanced. Prerecorded lectures will also be helpful for speakers of English as a second language.
Our Ongoing Commitment
What will not change is our commitment to produce evangelistic animated short films for unreached people groups. The students accepted into our program will be artists who desire to use their skills in missions on the field, and missionaries who want to add animation to their existing strategy to reach their target people group.
We are now accepting applications for the next AniMissions program, which will be running from May 23 to November 13, 2021. Click here for more details, bios of our instructors, and a link for the application. If you are an artist who is ready to take the plunge into missions, or are already a missionary looking for quality animation training, please consider AniMissions as your next step!
- Dave H.