2020 Student Academy Award Winner, Kate Namowicz, on “Mime Your Manners”

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“Mime Your Manners,” directed by Kate Namowicz and Skyler Porras, is an animated short film about an arrogant man who is given a taste of his own medicine when he’s transformed into a mime and in order to be freed must grow to be a better person. “Mime Your Manners” received the 2020 Student Academy Award in the Animation (Domestic Film Schools) Category at the 47th Student Academy Awards® competition.

Scene from "Mime Your Manners"

Can you tell us about the development and pre-production stages?

Kate Namowicz: Our film took us a year and a half to make. A few months was spent on writing the story, designing the characters and environment, and storyboarding the film. A year was spent modeling, animating, and lighting all in the computer. Skyler and I did everything together in the animation pipeline.

Scene from "Mime Your Manners"

Can you describe your process and collaboration with film composer Corey Wallace?

Kate Namowicz: We started talking with Corey Wallace because we liked his work on past Ringling College films and felt he would be a good fit for us. In our discussions, we expressed the feeling we wanted from the score, something similar to the French style of “Ratatouille” and charm of the “Good Omens” series. We let Corey watch the film and then collaborated on ideas. As this process continued, we knew Corey felt the film the same way we did, and that was important. In the end, Corey created for us a beautiful score that enhanced the film and helped evoke the right emotions through music. Exactly what a score should do!

Scene from "Mime Your Manners"

You also worked with voice actors. What was that collaboration like?

Kate Namowicz: We found our voice talent Kieran Flitton, Mariah Proctor, and Robert Krolczyk on Voices.com. The process was similar to the score in that we let them watch the film and in this case provided them with samples of the dialogue. To make a decision on who we would use, we wanted to see that they understood the characters, the emotion of the story, and could portray that with their voice. As with our composer, we also wanted them to have creative input around their specialty, and we collaborated as a team to get the final outcome.

What are your Top 3 Animation Tips?

Kate Namowicz:

Tip #1:  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice for your shot. Animators love to help each other, and your shot will improve significantly through others’ experiences and input.

Tip #2:  Know who your character is and what they are thinking, and you want to convey that without them having to speak.

Tip #3:  Appeal! Always animate your character with appealing emotions and poses. 2020 Student Academy Award Winner, Kate Namowicz, on "Mime Your Manners"

Kate’s Website and Reel: katenamo.com

Skyler’s Website and Reel: skylerporras.com

Produced at Ringling College of Art and Design

Cast and Crew

Musical Score by Corey Wallace

Sound Design by Bob Pepek

Julian’s Voice by Kieran Flitton

Celeste’s Voice by Mariah Proctor

Jacques’ Voice by Robert Krolczyk

Special Thank You to Heather Thompson, Billy Merrit, George Cwirko-Godycki, and Aviv Mano.


2020 Student Academy Award Winner, Kate Namowicz, on "Mime Your Manners"

Interview conducted by Jody Michelle Solis. Associate Publisher for StudentFilmmakers Magazine (www.studentfilmmakers.com), HD Pro Guide Magazine (www.hdproguide.com), and Sports Video Tech (www.sportsvideotech.com) Magazine. “Lifelines, not deadlines. Motion Arts. Fusion Everything.”

Jody Michelle Solis