generateillustration1SCAD Atlanta students worked around the clock — 10 a.m. Oct 2 to 10 a.m. Oct. 3, to be exact — to “Generate” short films in SCAD’s annual competition. Generate is a 24-hour art challenge, sponsored this year by LEGO Inc.’s creative team and SCAD’s School of Film and Digital Media.

Adam Noonan, LEGO’s creative director, was on hand to offer feedback during the competition.

About 25 animation students participated, all divided into three groups: Team GoBots, Team Ogel and Team Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!

The concept stems from a sequential art event, the 24-Hour Comics Day, wherein sequential art students worked to produce a 24-page comic book in 24 hours.

Known as the 24-Hour Art Challenge in its first year, “Generate” has been the event’s name for the past two years, said Tina O’Hailey, the associate chair of animation at SCAD.

“Originally, it started with the international 24-Hour Comic by Scott McCloud. However, three years ago a couple of professors got together and made it a SCAD event. Then all the majors got involved,” O’Hailey said.

Using mostly LEGOs and with no advanced planning, participating animation students were challenged to create one- to two-minute stop-motion films within a 24-hour period. In the real world, such a task could take months, but the students said they pushed themselves through all phases of production.

“Generate is a good opportunity for students to work together in a real-world production environment,” said animation professor Gregg Azzopardi. “They are given the opportunity to work under deadline pressure … There are defining roles and people’s personalities really matter.”

Students were given smaller deadlines at the beginning of the competition, and the teams raced back and forth to meet them.

“It’s the pressure that galvanizes everyone together,” said animation professor Keith Ingham. “If you can stay focused and not let the pressure become a negative thing, it’s really cool.”

“I think that the biggest part of it is that you don’t want to let your peers down,” Azzopardi added. “So you really find out whose going to be the weakest link.”

For Matt Burge, SCAD’s associate chair of motion media design, the most exciting part of the event is “getting to see the energy of all departments and students; seeing that creative spark within that shallow moment of time. It’s like a pressure cooker.”

Ingham echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a challenge. Embracing the challenge is very exciting. Thinking on one’s feet.”

“Also the group dynamic,” Ingham added. “It’s not just about doing it yourself. It’s very exciting.”

Even more challenging: Only two of the students had prior experience in stop-motion animation. But that didn’t stop them.

“It’s all about what they know about animation and putting that into this new medium, which is very tactile and a lot of fun,” O’Hailey said.

At the end of the competition, students got to take home the LEGOs.

As the time of publication, winners had not been announced. But, to remember the event, the winning team will receive a LEGO trophy with members’ names engrave in it.

“You aren’t going to remember the extra shift that you pulled at your job, but you are always going to remember Generate,” Burge said.