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Make a Norman McLaren of Yourself with Our New iPad App

Make a Norman McLaren of Yourself with Our New iPad App

Make a Norman McLaren of Yourself with Our New iPad App

Yesterday, we launched McLaren’s Workshop, a nifty free iPad app aimed at making the world a bit less unfair.

Because let’s be honest: life is terribly unfair. Most of us live lives of acceptable averageness, with some excellence thrown in (unsurpassed skill at assembling Ikea furniture, for instance, or best chili in town, or hula hoop champion), while others are born with high cheekbones, fast metabolisms and a gift for music, sports and astrophysics, or like our friend and NFB hero Norman McLaren, the daring and creativity required to single-handedly turn the world of animation on its head. (Scratching images directly onto film strips? Whaaa…?!)


Enter the McLaren’s Workshop iPad app, your chance at flirting with genius and making a true Norman McLaren of yourself.

For those unfamiliar with the great man (we forgive you), McLaren was a Scottish born filmmaker who went on to found the NFB’s Animation Studio and pioneer an entirely new conception of animation that won him tons of awards, including an Oscar® (Neighbours) and a Palme d’Or (Blinkety Blank), and a dedicated core of fans and disciples that thrives to this day. (McLaren died on 27 January 1987.)

So let’s talk about the app. Here are number of things you need to know about this thing of wonder:

  • it is free
  • it provides access to 51 (fifty-one!) McLaren films
  • and to 11 docs about McLaren’s animation techniques
  • and best of all, it lets you create your own films, using 3 techniques made famous by McLaren

To get you all excited about the boundless possibilities made available to you by this app, we asked some of our friends, like oh, you know, David OReilly and Don Hertzfeldt (among others), to make films with it. Check them out below.

I Am Alone and My Head Is On Fire, by David OReilly


Cyclop(e), by Patrick Doyon


Barcode Transmission, by Renaud Hallée

For more films made with the app (by the likes of Koji Yamamura and Regina Pessoa) head to our Vimeo channel. And because we love you and would absolutely hate the idea of leaving you in the dark, you’ll also find there a McLaren’s Workshop App demo to get you started and all revved up.

Download the app now, you beautiful geniuses!

Add a new comment
  1. This is a wondrous tribute to one of the great men of his generation and a great gift to us his acolytes. Your Grierson film is a gem as well. Now there was a giant.

    — Jamie Laidlaw,
  2. Year 1981. Fresh out of school. I applied to the yearly contest, to make an animated film at NFB. Unfortunately my submission came in second. No job. I was devastated. But hey, I have 2 iPads now. Guess I’ll head over to the App store and play!
    Grand merci à tous,

  3. I’d love to download this app. How you do that for Android?
    Oh riiiight. You can’t.
    It seems to me that a tax funded federal agency shouldn’t be playing brand favourites….

    — Jeff Lewis,
    1. It’s intended for the use of creative people.


      — Minicapt,
    2. Well played.

      (And agreed)

      — rambleonrose,

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