Directing for short film animation

Adatto a: maggiorenni
Dove: PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art
Quando: 12/03/2022 - 26/03/2022
Orari: come da programma didattico

an Aardman Academy Masterclass in collaboration with PAFF!. The Masterclass from the people who gave you Chicken Run and e Wallace & Gromit. The course introduces the participants to the process of developing story and approach when directing an animated short film.


Saturday 12 March

An introduction to the entire production workflow from Head of the Aardman Academy and director Mark Simon Hewis. Followed by a Masterclass from Director Will Becher about approaching story and idea. The day ends with the participants receiving a brief from Mark Simon Hewis which will invite them explore camera placement and timing of the world around them. This work will be shared at the Tuesday Session.

Wednesday 16 March

A review of the work created and shared, followed by a masterclass from Sam Horton about the process of storyboarding and communicating your ideas. The day ends with a final brief where participants are invited to first create a storyboard for a short idea or scene and then to create an “animatic” of that storyboard” (a moving storyboard with sound).

Saturday 26 March

A final review of all the work shared, with feedback from Mark Simon Hewis. The course ends with a Q&A with Aardman Director Simone Giampaolo. Teachers: Mark Simon Hewis, Will Becher, Sam Horton, Simone Giampaolo

Course program

  • Saturday 12 March
    13:00 – 15:00
    Launch of brief and talk about Animation production workflow (Pipeline of animation)
    Tutor: Head of Academy
    15:00 – 17:00
    “Directing for Animation” – Masterclass  Oscar
    Tutor: nominated Director Will Becher 17:00 – 18:00 Setting the Brief (Timing & Camera Placement) Tutor: Head of Academy


  • Wednesday 16 March
    18:00 – 19:00
    Review of Directing Brief
    TUTOR: Head of Academy
    19:00 – 21:00
    “Storyboard” – Masterclass
    TUTOR: Aardman storyboard artist, Sam Horton
    21:00 – 22:00
    Setting the Brief (Animatic & Storyboard)
    Tutor: Head of Academy


  • Saturday 26 March
    13:00 – 16:00
    FINAL REVIEW Head of Academy
    16:00 – 17:30
    Q&A with Aardman Director Simone Giampaolo
    13:00 – 16:00
    FINAL REVIEW Head of Academy
    16:00 – 17:30
    Q&A with Aardman Director Simone Giampaolo

How to follow the course

In presence or from remote: students can choose to follow the course from the PAFF! classroom or to participate from remote. Aardman’s teachers are connected from remote. PAFF tutors follow in presence and from remote. The Masterclass will take place on Google Meet with automatic transcription of the speeches in English. The language of the Masterclass is English.


There are no age limits, all people who already have one or more animated short film productions behind them or who are attending an animation school / course, both traditional 2D, stop motion, and digital, 3D, are welcome.

Teaching materials

Participants are kindly asked to send their previous work to didattica [@] to give teachers an idea of the overall level of the class.

Law regulations

To access the course in person, the basic green pass is required. The student has the right to choose whether to join by paying the relative annual membership fee to benefit from discounts and concessions. Membership of the association can take place on the occasion of the first lesson of the course. In the case of underage students, one of the parents must be registered.

Issue of the certificate

At the end of the attendance of the Masterclass, participants will be given a certificate of participation. In addition, each participant will join Aardman Alumni.

Booking information

Reservation for the Masterclass is mandatory and is done by filling the form below. It is not possible to participate without having booked. If the payment is made on the spot on the same day, it is necessary to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the lesson. The Masterclass will be activated upon reaching the minimum number of 10 participants. Subscribers will be notified in time and reimbursed in the event of a cancellation. Participation in the Masterclass is limited: up to 15 participants are allowed.

Mark Simon Hewis

Head of Aardman AcademyMark Simon Hewis is a multi-award winning British filmmaker. He has been making short films since he was 17 when his first film – made entirely inside a photo-booth using the built-in camera – was shown at the infamous Curzon Cinema in Brixton, London. Mark’s work includes international award-winning films for the Arts Council, Channel 4, BBC and his 1st Feature Film was released in 2014 for BFI, BBC Films, Matador and Arthur Cox. He continues to work as a live-action director, executive producer, writer and editor for companies including Aardman Animations. Mark graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2003 with a Masters in Animation where he a made two films, Trap and Spinnaker Leech, both of which competed in film festivals throughout the world. He was awarded Film Council funding to make The Chihuahua Messiah, runner-up for the BBC New Filmmaker Award 2005 and won the Fortean Times Film of the year 2006. It was used by Mark Kermode in a Review Show special on BBC2, about how to make the perfect short film. He then made a short live-action comedy for BBC3, released in 2006 called God and Dave, which was runner-up in the Encounters Film Festival Audience Award and selected by the British Council for representation. It was completed and aired in 2006, winning the audience award at the Bristol Filmmakers Festival the same year. Mark then made the short The Life Sized Zoetrope in 2008 for Channel 4, Arts Council UK and Animate. In 2008 it was nominated for 8 awards at the British Animation Awards (even though it is a live-action film), won the Grand Prix at the London International Animation Festival and the Tampere Film Festival. It subsequently gained distribution deals across the world and is included in 4 DVD compilations about the history of alternation short animation and filmmaking. Since March 2021, Mark Simon Hewis has been director of the Aardman Academy.

Will Becher, Aardman Director

He is an animator, screenwriter and director. Becher began his career in the late nineties, working for a summer period at the animation studio Aardman Animations. He later stopped there full-time with one of his first projects as an animator, the Oscar-winning film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). Over the years he has worked on films like The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and Early Man (2018). He made his feature directorial debut with A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019), which also received an Oscar nomination.

Sam Horton

Storyboard Artist With ten years of experience, Sam has drawn storyboards for a wide range of CGI, stop motion and 2D animation projects across feature films,  series and commercials. He has worked with industry leading companies such as Aardman, DNEG, Blue Zoo Animation and Jellyfish Pictures. At Aardman he has been part of the story team responsible for the newest series of the Epic Adventures of Morph, as well as numerous projects for the companies commercials department. He is also part of the Aardman Academy  delivering storyboarding workshops to students looking to gain the skills and knowledge they’ll need when joining the animation industry.

Simone Giampaolo

Aardman Director He’s an award-winning London based Director with an insatiable appetite for storytelling and animation. In 2013 he graduated with Distinction from the BA(Hons) Computer Animation Arts course at the National Centre for Computer Animation in Bournemouth (UK). Throughout his career he’s had the chance to work as director, animator and pre-production artist on over ten original animated short films, all of which have been screened at numerous international film festivals gaining recognition and also winning several awards. From 2014 to 2018 he worked as a director and CG generalist in the commercial department at BlueZoo Studios on a multitude of projects for clients such as Cartoon Network, Disney, LEGO, Nickelodeon, Pokémon, Marvel, Lucasfilm and BBC. Simone is now represented as Commercial Director by Aardman Animations.

Stefano Tambellini, PAFF’s Tutor

Stefano Tambellini graduated in Animazione Tradizionale at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Torino, where he attended Barry J.C. Purves’ Stop-Motion courses. Since 2009 he has worked in London as an illustrator for animation and publishing. As an illustrator he has published among others with Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, Rizzoli Lizard, Workman Publishing, Oxford University Press, Solferino / Corriere della Sera, Il Castoro, Milan Jeunesse. Since 2005, when he co-founded the independent production label SenzaTesta with his sister Alice, he has produced and directed Stop-Motion animated shorts. Their works have been selected and won awards at festivals around the world. They have also been included in DVD anthology collections both in Italy and in France. Between 2013 and 2014 he was tutor for degree projects in animation at the IED in Milan. With his sister Alice he periodically holds Stop-Motion workshops at industry festivals and cultural associations and is currently working on his own animated film produced by SenZaTeStA.