Yackety Yak

ACMI in the Regions

Max and his winning smile

ACMI’s Screen Education Team went rural at the end of 2010, relocating the digital classroom to a community hall in Yackandandah as part of ACMI in the Regions. Fourteen students aged between 10 and 18 arrived at ‘the shed’ on a sunny Saturday morning for two jam-packed days of animation and live-action filmmaking.


11:00am: One beautiful day, four intrepid travellers, multiple loaded trolleys and a two-hour delay on the hire vehicles.

1:00pm: Add two hire vehicles. Where’s the handbrake?

1:08pm: Right, it’s a foot brake. Now we’re off to Yackandandah!


Bright-eyed and fresh-faced, the troops flock in to Yackandandah hall, ready to start at 10am. The students are a mix of keen filmmakers, actors and artists, with 10 out of the 14 having visited ACMI in the past (despite living over three hours from Melbourne). Let the creating begin!

The making table…

The making table…

The students make an impressive variety of clay models (the first step towards creating their animations) including one dog, two cats, a fish, a polar bear, a werewolf, a well-dressed teddy bear, a white rabbit, a snake, an eccentric opera singer, a Scottish terrier and Julia Gillard. Once the clay models are complete and are standing proudly on set, it is time for the animating to begin…

We are amazed by the talent, creativity and energy of the group – our toughest challenge is persuading them to take a lunch break! One student, who made a tentative start to modelling and felt anxious about making mistakes, ends up being so thrilled by her final animation that The Amazing Chase is played on repeat at the end of the day, with Mum watching proudly over her shoulder.


Students venture outside ‘the shed’ on their second day to create short live-action films using in-camera editing techniques. The students are split into four groups, and armed with fruit and vegetables (improvised props – it’s true, I left the actual props behind at ACMI!), a camera and a tripod, they make some truly outstanding short films. The food props turn out to be a huge success; a springboard for film titles such as Orange Love, The Vegetable Mafia and Attack of the Parsnip, while also facilitating the development of cutting-edge camera technology such as ‘eggplant vision’.

The boys at work

The boys at work

The students bond over their enthusiasm for filmmaking and seem to have discovered their own little niches where they can thrive. The student filmmakers have both surprised and inspired their ACMI counterparts, who had not expected to be learning from their pupils as well as teaching them. Thank you Yackandandah, this has been a weekend to remember.

Holly Loughran, ACMI Screen Education

Watch two of the short films creating during the workshop:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

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