From Bullying to Drawing: A Story with a Happy Ending
Is it possible to stop bullying with drawing?
Having witnessed and been the victim of bullying, Odile Désaulniers decided to take a unique and original approach using stop motion animation, and her message has had an unexpected reaction.
Her video condemning bullying in schools was posted on YouTube on January 16, 2013. By January 23rd, her video had garnered over 12,000 views, and by September 2013, over 35,000.
She agreed to speak with me. “That was the first time that I had posted a video, and I received messages from people in France who were following me on Twitter, and my video was seen across the globe, if YouTube is to be believed.”
She admits that she was stunned by the extent of the reaction to her film.”I was quite surprised by the interest in what was originally a school project. I was especially happy to share this and make people aware of the problem. ”
Odile has been drawing since she was little, both video game characters and what she observes in her surroundings. Her older sister, who studies visual arts, produced a stop-motion animation project using paper cut-outs.
Interested in the technique, Odile decided to use animation but with her own drawings. A high school project gave her the opportunity to start what turned out to be a long-term endeavour.
“I started doing research into scriptwriting and the stop-motion technique in the summer of 2012. One scene is comprised of 50 or 100 drawings, requiring at least 20 minutes per drawing, and I did 492 drawings!” ”
Was it technically difficult? “I took photos with a camera on a tripod, and then I used Movie Maker to put it all together. It’s a fairly simple technique that anyone can use.”
Her film was screened at Quebec’s Student Film Festival, usually reserved for Cégep and university students. She thinks that her animated film has made an impact because “it did not deal with the topic theoretically; it was emotional, in order to affect people, and it worked.”
Bully Dance is part of ShowPeace, a series of lively, animated films designed to explore conflict and dispute resolution.
Odile uses social networking wisely. “I don’t think that it is necessary every day, but it’s very practical for communicating and sharing with people. That is also why I got on Twitter after broadcasting my video.”
But she acknowledges its importance. “Everything started with Facebook. I posted the film to get comments from my classmates, and they started sharing it because they liked it.”
She did not hesitate to get involved. “I spoke at a primary school and I took part in a teachers’ conference at my school about this topic.”
She concludes: “The school project got me started, but I dove right in. Even though some of my friends thought that it was a lot of work, I still wanted to deal with important topics that affect me.”
And what about you? What story or message would you like your young people to share using animation and new media?
Odile Désaulniers was a 5th-year high school student in the international education program at Rochebelle (Sainte-Foy region, near Quebec City) when she made the film.