Hannah Roza a recent graduate of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) is the latest student to see her work featured on the screens of ViacomCBS’ Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. television networks across Latin America and the United States. Her animated, short film A Lesson in Magic, captivated her mentors with its original and inspiring theme that places a character with hearing and speech impairments at the forefront of the story. The film was broadcast last month in the networks’ Spanish and Portuguese feeds.
“So much goes into making just two minutes of an animated short! I had known that producing animated films was a long and labor-intensive process, but experiencing it firsthand really opened my eyes to just how much work goes into this kind of a production,” Roza said. “The mentorship with Nickelodeon gave me an even deeper understanding and respect for this industry and the people who work within it.”
Roza, 26, was already a graduate of the University of Florida (UF), where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, when she decided to come to MAGIC, the state-of-the-art animation and gaming facility at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, to pursue a degree in 2019. “I have been an artist my whole life and always had a love for animation. Digital Arts and Sciences was my minor at UF,” she said. A Lesson in Magic, which served as her capstone project, was Roza’s original idea, which evolved from a concept about a non-speaking adventurer named Eirie and a magical quetzal she was traveling with. In 2.22 minutes, A Lesson in Magic tells the story of Luna, a young witch who wants to attend magic school. Hard of hearing and unable to speak, she communicates through sign language, which can be a problem as, in her world, magic can only be performed through speech. Such is the case until Quetzal, her familiar spirit, teaches her to believe in herself and inspires her to try her own way to perform magic.
For almost ten months, Roza developed and produced the final version of the film along with a team of 20 MAGIC students and professors. The process, which took place during the confinement period last year, was intricate as it involved sign language in English, Portuguese and Spanish. It required sign language interpreters to send in videos based on the film’s script to the animators, who then replicated the hand movements. It took many hand designs until it was finally right. “It was challenging to work during the pandemic doing all the work online,” she said. “Lacking in-person interaction, made the process longer.” The project was the first produced at MAGIC having a lead character with a disability.
Born and raised in Miami, Roza hopes to one day develop A Lesson in Magic will into a full series, based on the positive feedback received. After graduation, she would like to work as a storyboard artist for an animation company and to continue to raise the profile of characters in underrepresented groups. “It was incredibly rewarding to see how the short was received, especially from members of the Deaf Community. The people who helped us with the sign language were so enthusiastic about A Lesson in Magic and seeing sign language animated in a 2D medium,” she said. “It made me realize just how important this kind of representation is, and I want to continue incorporating even more underrepresented groups in the projects I do.”
Roza and her team were mentored and guided by MDC faculty and professionals from ViacomCBS Networks Americas (parent company of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.) through a partnership with MAGIC to mentor students and showcase their best work.
ACCESS4ALL, is a digital application that allows users to access the world of entertainment through multimedia accessibility elements such as Sign Language (LSM, Mexico), Audio Description (AD) and Spanish Subtitles and enjoy digital entertainment like the animated film “A Lesson in Magic,” produced at MAGIC by students enrolled in the animation program. Through the use of the Access4All application, users will be able to obtain the audio description, the subtitling for the deaf and / or the version in Mexican Sign Language from their cell phone or tablet as they watch the movie. Nickelodeon Latin America and MAGIC joined this initiative dedicated to children with visual / hearing disabilities.
Follow the instructions below to learn how to use the app Access4All:
- Download the Access4All from the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Play your programming in your TV, computer, or any other device. Don’t use headphones since the app must ‘listen’ to the audio of the program to identify it.
- On the app, select “Start” and then select “Press here to synchronize.”
- Once the app is synchronized, choose the accessibility element you want to use.
- Enjoy your accessible program.
The services are only available for Mexican Sign Language and Spanish at this time, and “A Lesson in Magic” is one of the titles you can watch right now. Download the app, synchronize it and watch the story of Luna, a girl who wanted to be a magician.
With facilities that mimic the production pipeline from PIXAR Studios, and located at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, the Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) offers students an intensive, hands-on two-year program to develop skills in modeling, lighting, motion, sound, and storytelling. The program also provides an opportunity to gain command of the technical skills required in today’s highly competitive animation industry. MAGIC bridges the gap in affordability and accessibility, providing quality programming and the very best facilities at a fraction of the cost compared to private competitors. For more information, visit magic.mdc.edu.
For more information about the MAGIC program please contact Ms. Ariana Fernandez @ (305) 237-7851 or firstname.lastname@example.org