One of the many ways in which the pandemic has affected school kids is that they can't perform together in any extra-curricular productions; drama, music or anything else involving larger groups. According to a survey conducted by the Educational Theatre Association, 85% of schools canceled performances in 2020 because of the pandemic. So Cox Communications is stepping in to help out.
The cable provider and its agency 180 L.A. have enabled middle school kids at the Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts in Nevada to put on a virtual production, by turning their performances into an animated short. With the the help of Nexus Studios director Patrick Osborne, students used technology to voice and puppeteer their own characters from the safety of their own homes.
The kids were able to use a virtual booth to record their lines, while being directed by Osborne over Zoom. Facial capture technology was used to record each of the students’ performances and expressions to make their characters in the animated film as true to life as possible.
The animated short, called "Drawn Closer," will debut in a Hollywood-inspired virtual premier party where students will walk the virtual red carpet and celebrate with their fellow students and families. The film will then premier on Sunday May 9 (Mother's Day) on Cox's Yurview. It's part of an ongoing campaign by the brand that focuses on providing "human connection" where it's most needed; a previous project from 2020 focused on seniors feeling isolated in the pandemic.
“As a dad of two elementary school children, I’ve seen the impact that remote learning has had on kids’ connections to their friends, and to the activities that give them a sense of belonging,” said Mike Bokman, executive creative director at 180 L.A. “Helping the theater students of Thurman White reconnect, and giving them a chance to perform together again under this bigger, brighter spotlight, felt like it made a difference. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us.”