Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Anim8Nature: Making A Better World

InMotion: Oak Leaves

My efforts to find funding for my series of animated short science documentaries, Anim8Nature has included viewing various webinars. New to this process of convincing funders to support my work, I am appreciative of expert advice.

The last webinar I watched was presented by GrantHub with Jana Hexter of What I got out of this hour was to take the widest possible view of my work and focus on what it's "about" and how it makes the world a better, more beautiful place.

Wow, that's a tall order. I have been pondering this for the last few weeks since I heard Jana's presentation. Let me give you a more comprehensive overview of her presentation. It was unexpected but I appreciated the spiritual orientation.

1. Producers and funders are co-dependent. They need our vision and passion and we need their resources.

2. Put love in your grant writing and connect with beauty. 

3.  Meditate and treat yourself lovingly.

4. Use your time wisely; 20% effort gets 80% results.

5. Sufficiency: there is always enough.

6. List three things each day before bed for which you are grateful.

7. Take a walk. Get out in nature.

8. What is my dream for the world that I can bring to fruition with my project?

9. What bold actions can I take now that are in alignment with my vision? What one small action can I take today?

10. Communicate truthfully and tell funders what you know.

11. Who can I collaborate with to make the grant more effective?

12. How can I be of service to what wants to be "born" and allow the project to flow?

This was not really what I had expected in a webinar about grant writing burn out. The last webinar I watched informed me of ideal sentence length and other very specific writing techniques. What did I learn from Jana? Now that there has been some time to let the dust settle here are my thoughts.

Seeing the beauty in the world

What is Anim8Nature about? It boils down to seeing...seeing and connecting. As an artist and a visual learner, the natural world around me has been a fascination my whole life. I'm sure I'm not alone. However, I do see kids and adults who seem buried in thoughts, phone or other distractions not taking the time to really marvel at the wonder all around us. Crows that can use tools and butterflies that can fly thousands of miles. Trees that communicate through their roots. This list is virtually endless.

What is my vision for a better world?

In my better world, the arts are universally acknowledged for the power they have to transform lives and make learning more accessible. Children and families are encouraged to explore science with art and consider possibilities both real and practical and fantastically improbable. 

How does Anim8Nature bring this dream for the world to fruition?

Watching an animated short documentary can bring awareness, but what really engages the viewer is making their own art/animation about what they are learning. The animations are important and a great source of joy for me to create, but what really matters is that they spark curiosity and inspiration to connect and explore through art.

That's why the lesson plans and workshops are such an important part of Anim8Nature. As I am able to work with more kids, families and teachers, I see the enthusiasm and know that kids are ready for this kind of engagement and skill-building.  Their pleasure and excitement is palpable. Our end goal is getting them outside as environmental stewards and that will make a better world.

Moving forward

As a creator, it is the conceptualizing and making that fulfills me. As I am building out the variety of videos currently offered on the website and Youtube channel, I have decided to work on an interactive tree of life to visualize the evolution of organisms and as a link to the various organisms featured in the videos. Stay tuned.

If you have missed some of our recently added videos, take a look:

InMotion: Seadragons

From the Archives (2005) Seasons: A Titled Tale

Here are some links to our tech/art/science workshops that may be of interest. 

Animating Nature & Science

Learn more about my work and my current project, on this blog and our website. I have assembled a team of experts to create media, lesson plans and workshops to help students and families explore science with art. We want to spark curiosity and get kids outside as environmental stewards.

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