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LeCroy Creative Studios: Teaching Through Storytelling

This article appeared in the April 23, 2019, issue of the student newsletter.

LeCroy Creative Studios showcased some of its animation and storytelling work and demonstrated its benefits for students, faculty and staff in an event at the LeCroy Center this month. 

Creative Director Michael Coleman, Animation Producer Jacob Birmingham and Art Director Lydia Reynolds gave a packed conference room an overview of LeCroy Creative Studios' collaborative workflow and why it works so well for the district. 

"Our mission is very simple. Three words: engage, educate and entertain," Michael said. 

LeCroy Creative Studios was established about three years ago, but it builds on the LeCroy Center's more than 40-year legacy of distance learning technology. 

"We learned that the power of learning comes through the power of storytelling," he said. "As I like to say, stories help make learning stick." 

Lydia and Jacob described the team's creative process, starting with what they do when they receive the content from a client. 

"We have to decide, is it a video? Is it a PDF? Is it a course? Is it a bunch of videos?" she said. "Sometimes, it's less of an objective and more of a feeling we're trying to get our viewers to feel." 

The presentation ended with studio tours, showing the ins and outs of the place where the team does most of its creating, shooting and editing.

If you're interested in a job opportunity or an internship, let Michael know! 

LeCroy's Guests 

LeCroy hosted animators from Dallas-based nonprofit animation guild A Bunch of Short Guys for the event, as well. 

"We have free monthly meetings where we highlight studios, artists or events," A Bunch of Short Guys animator Vince Sidwell said. "Our mission is to educate, inspire and create a sense of community." 

The event also offered information on Richland's Interactive Simulation and Video Game Technology program. 

"We focus on video game production, so we make video games," said Christopher Curra, the Game Design program coordinator. "Our degree has two tracks. When you make video games, you need artists, animators, level designers and then you need programmers." 

To make sure they hit all their bases, Richland split the track in half with one for programmers and the other for art animation and design, among other aspects. 

"Our degree's pretty cool because if you're programming, there's not a whole lot of time to learn how to program in an associate degree, so we just have them focus on that the entire time that they're here," Christopher said. "As far as the art animation and design side, we've made the degree heavily elective-based." 

The degree is designed that way to open up your options. You can be a level designer, a concept artist, an animator or a producer, amongst other positions. 

"It's not just a one-size-fits-all degree," he said. 

They also just added a bachelor's degree transfer program with the University of North Texas. UNT will give you credit for the entire two years you spend at Richland, meaning you'll only pay for half a bachelor's degree.