Utah Film Center is excited to announce that artist and animator Jarom Neumann will be returning to our media education department to host virtual Behind the Animation presentations! For those who are not familiar, Behind the Animation is a free 40-minute interactive, virtual presentation for 3rd to 8th graders to learn about media literacy and visual storytelling.
Jarom has worked on a wide range of projects including unannounced Disney live-action sequences to storyboards and digital comics. His enthusiasm for the art of animation is infectious and he creatively bridges the gap between your imagination and a blank page.
We asked Jarom some questions so you can get to know him better, learn about his passion for animation, and hear more about his perspective on the importance of media literacy.
Utah Film Center: When did you know you wanted to work in animation and how did you get started?
Jarom Neumann: I’ve always loved art and drawing, but I was also pretty good with math and physics. When I was in high school I learned about animation, which seemed like a practical way to apply both things that I enjoyed learning.
UtFC: What are some of the animation projects that you’ve enjoyed working on?
JN: I loved animating for Studio C when I was at BYU. Every week there was a fun random skit that they needed art and animation for. I also love my job now. I get to animate monsters & explosions on a daily basis.
UtFC: What’s your favorite animated movie?
JN: This is a hard question because there are amazing films that come out every year. That being said, I think my all-time favorite movie is still The Iron Giant.
UtFC: Why do you think that media literacy is important?
JN: I love this question. Without media literacy, watching a movie is often just a brief, mindless, entertaining escape from reality. When you learn how to “read” a film’s language and the visual tools it utilizes, you begin to see the deeper messages beneath the surface. There is a dialogue about life and our human experience that can help us broaden our perspectives, strengthen our relationships and help us become more than who we were 90 minutes ago.
UtFC: What’s the best part of working as an artist and animator?
JN: It’s easy for the world to make you think that growing up and being an adult means that you have to be serious and have a boring job. When I work, I get paid to keep my imagination running wild, drawing cartoons and animating creatures in exciting new worlds. I get paid to not grow up, and that’s pretty amazing.
UtFC: Animated movies are a big part of kids’ lives, why do you think storytelling through animation is important?
JN: While I still think books and reading are a vital key to cultivating imagination, animation allows kids and adults to see imagination come to life, to experience ideas and ask questions they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise.
UtFC: What do you think animation allows you to convey that traditional films do not?
JN: Traditional films, to some degree, have to be based in some form of reality, while animation can tap into the limitless possibilities of the imagination. We can explore the world of the mind, like in Inside Out, or we can see how it might feel traveling to a world of spirits in Spirited Away.
Teachers, if you would like to have a professional animator present to your students the concepts behind animated storytelling, please sign up for our free Behind the Animation program. This is a fun, easy and interactive way to help your students gain a deeper understanding of the films they watch and may even spark them to create more stories on their own!
Sign up using our Behind the Animation calendar for Utah teachers: https://www.utahfilmcenter.org/education/in-your-classroom/