The Animation Workshop provides the best environment for developing indigenous content for films because it reflects the social function of storytelling as a community activity, especially if it can include inter-generational dialogue to help to understand the meanings of the stories and details.
A series of five Animation Workshops were organised for the Tales of the Tribes animated series in five regional locations: Nagaland (2009), Sikkim (2010), Manipur (2012), Ahmedabad for the Gond film (2012) and Arunachal Pradesh (2013). Three weeks duration was considered the optimum time to engage volunteers who were required to take time off from their regular activities to attend the workshops.
The workshops aim to introduce local artists to the animation film-making process by the practical experience of animation pre-production: the selection of a popular folktale to adapt for a short film, and the adaptation for a script and storyboard, the creation of character and background designs and some experimentation by creating test animation sequences to determine the appropriate techniques to use.
The question of the appropriate level of guidance in the workshops is negotiated to develop a synthesis between teaching and encouraging experimentation. The aim was also to produce films of a professional standard of production, so at least two Indian animation students or recent graduates were invited to each workshop as a resource team. The participation by animators accomplishes the practical targets of the animation pre-production. Their participation also provided cultural exposure and work experience to the animators as part of the objective to raise awareness of the value of indigenous culture with non-indigenous people.
The exchange of ideas, skills and exposure through the co-creative process in a learning environment fulfills the traditional value of reciprocity. The daily programme for the workshops is designed to encourage reciprocal learning between the participants, researchers and animators and to achieve a balance between cultural research and the pre-production, engagement by animators and contributions from local participants.
The workshop activities are documented in photographs, artwork, audio recordings, video documentation and animation. These materials present opportunities for the participants to share their reality in visually captivating ways.