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McClatchy-Tribune  07/04/2014 10:35 AM ET
Rabbittransit, Art Institute of York collaborate on animated videos [York Daily Record, Pa. :: ]

July 04--A boy, short and bespectacled, is only just outpacing the taller boy who's taunting him: "Get back here, nerd!"

Unbeknownst to his bully, the first boy harbors two secret weapons. The first: A Rabbittransit bus that whisks him from the immediate danger posed by the second boy. The second: Plans to construct a freeze-ray anti-bully device that even Elsa of Disney's "Frozen" would covet.

The getaway bus and the device's blueprints set the scene for the first of five animated videos produced by Art Institute of York students and released by Rabbittransit in a collaboration that the public transportation provider's executive director says won't be the last.

"I think (the project) gives (the students) a more tangible kind of experience that they wouldn't normally get in just a classroom," Richard Farr, executive director of Rabbittransit, said. "And quite honestly, it gives us some cool, inventive, out-of-the-box aspects to our brand that we may not normally consider."

One video will be released every Friday, as part of Rabbittransit's "Five Fridays to Celebrate Summer" campaign. The first video, featuring the boy and the bully, was posted to the transportation provider's Facebook page on June 20.

See the videos on the company's Facebook page.

Rabbittransit business development manager Jenna Reedy offered the students a specific "full-story concept" for one video, but otherwise provided basic themes such as saving money, having a green footprint and using alternative forms of transportation.

"We have them some basic direction," Farr said. "We provided them with some big, overarching themes, but we did not paint them into a corner or pigeonhole them. We wanted them to be very creative."

Teams of three students worked on each video for the entirety of their 11-week-long Advanced 2D Animation class, faculty instructor Erick Hershey said. The class is the capstone of the 2D animation track that every student working toward a media arts degree must take, and Hershey said the sophistication of the videos is something he'd expect from his students even if they weren't producing for a client.

"They're not just working for the benefit of their own work and grades, but they're working for the benefit of their team and a client, which ups the urgency," Hershey said. "They're creating something that's actually going to be out on a website and going to be seen by the greater public, with their names attached."

As for the boy and his bully? The video can be seen in its entirety online, but suffice it to say that a fixed-route Rabbittransit bus helped save the day. What's next: Space aliens are in need of a certain public transportation provider's aid.

 

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