Vivian Thomas, Slaying Dragons on the Side

| May 1, 2010

Slaying Dragons on the Side

Animator takes first at national competition

Vivian Thomas likes cartoons and is proud of it. She should be. The talented junior at Taylor High School is an award-winning animator. Her 2D animation, Mission: Beat This Guy, won first place in a nationwide contest sponsored by The Student Television Network.
Enrolled in her school’s video class, Vivian helps produce Blue Review, a video magazine that is produced and shown to the entire school every three weeks.
Bruce Campbell teaches the Blue Review class as well as a web mastering class. He said that students interview to be accepted into Blue Review. The students in the video class receive a Multimedia elective/technology credit.
“Last year, students told me about Vivian and how she makes videos, edits them and puts them on YouTube, so she came and interviewed and I was excited to have her join,” he said.
Campbell said Taylor High joined STN last year because he wanted his students to see what other schools were doing in video and to be able to enter their work in competitions. STN supports, promotes and recognizes excellence in scholastic broadcasting, creative video and filmmaking, and media convergence. The organization embraces the educational components of broadcast journalism, video production, filmmaking and media convergence by networking students and teachers with professionals in the industry.
While Vivian does animation just for fun, she was encouraged by her teacher to submit her one-minute animation about a cartoon character that fights a dragon.
“This was our second contest with STN but it was the first time we had a winning entry. This fall I encouraged all 17 students to enter something. Vivian was the only one who entered from Taylor. And now, they all want to enter the next one,” said Campbell.
Vivian has been watching Blue Review since she was a freshman and thought it looked interesting, in a behind-the-scenes kind of way.
“I’ve been filming and editing on my own for awhile. Silly things, for fun, that I put on YouTube,” she said.
A couple of years ago Vivian took an animation course over the summer. She saw that the school had the same software she was trained to use. It allowed her to draw pictures and animate them. She let her creativity take over.
Vivian spent about a dozen hours or so producing the one-minute story. She said her animation tells the story of a little girl witch who has the mission to stop an evil dragon that has been terrorizing and bullying the countryside. No one else is brave enough. She tries several spells, and he laughs at her as they bounce off him. But he underestimates her power and she uses a dangerous spell disguised as a cute, white cat to defeat him. The dragon and his castle are destroyed.
“I didn’t know how my animation would compare to others. It was the first time I entered a national contest and I was really just hoping I’d get something,” she said of her work.
Vivian is working on other digital animations and drawings for fun and for school projects. She also writes, directs, makes costumes, and produces films.
The well-rounded teen has a busy schedule with martial arts, club memberships and volunteering. Vivian has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is a member of many organizations: National Honor Society, JETS, a science/robotics club, and Mu Alpha Theta Math Club and participates in academic competitions.
As a volunteer, Vivian coordinated a community-wide book drive and fundraiser to install a library in a local children’s residential center.
She is very active in wildlife conservation and had a number of articles published. She’s even had a conservation grant proposal approved. For now, Vivian has her sights set on a career in biology but she isn’t giving up animation as a creative pursuit, it’s just something she’ll do on the side.
Now that Vivian has a national win under her belt, she may continue to enter contests.
“I’ll stick with animation. People tend to not enter (this category) because animation is hard to do.”
So is slaying dragons.

Category: Katy Texas Schools, Sports, Students, Katy Kid

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