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A Collective Effort

A little introduction

A little over a year ago I joined the FLAAR Mesoamerica team, in the MayanToons division. This is a team that creates, develops and seeks to educate more people in Guatemala, to know and join a task that belongs to everyone: the protection of Mother Earth. The house that, for many generations, has been preserved by Mayan leaders and peoples, where I belong.

I am Laura Morales, I am K’iche’ and together with a small but skillful and capable team of illustrators, researchers and passionate about nature and the different Mayan temples in the territories that we know today as Livingston, Petén, and Las Verapaces, we began a journey where we set out to recreate and animate important members -both animals and flowers- of the ecosystems in Guatemala. It has been an arduous task and with trial and error, but one that has brought smiles and fundamental information about the native species of Guatemala to children, not only in this country but in different countries in the world.

 

Laura Morales, head director of animated videos team at MayanToons

The process-

To create an animated video, you need many people, many perspectives, and knowledge, both Western and ancient Maya.

The script is how we started. Our goal is to give soul to the characters but also to be able to inform new generations in an interactive way of how incredible these species are, who coexist in the territory that we know today as Guatemala. Then comes the animatics part – where we must achieve both the layout of the scenes, the correct timing of them, and the storyline in order to captivate our audience. Sounds and transitions must make our story magical. With the animatics comes different changes for better development of the story.

 

Josselyne Valenzuela, Maya’s voice on MayanToons animated videos

 

Then, the art: essential to make our videos. These are pieces that manage to capture that those amazing set of colors only found in the jungles, forests, and everything that lives in the different mountains and trees around Guatemala. The animation art team has the ability to provide us with the tools to bring illustrations that have been part of the MayanToons family to life. This task is quite a challenge, since the illustration team does not simply have to make a species, something credible and existent, but characters who inspire tenderness and empathy.

 

Valeria Avilés, head director of arts and illustrations for our animated videos. She is also the manager for other MayanToons projects.

 

Then comes a series of quite common terms for the community that is dedicated to creating animated projects: ¨blocking, acting, rendering tests, more acting and final renderings¨. Many of these words are important, but it is not essential to know them to understand and enjoy our stories. The MayanToons project is one that we want to continue developing and that increasingly has reached more people far away from Guatemala. That is why, since this year, we have included 2 more incredible 2D animators to take our project to the next level. Teamwork is what makes an animated video complete, but full of exciting challenges. Challenges inspire me to continue telling stories so that more children can learn.

I hope that soon we will have our episodes in different Mayan languages since in Guatemala the majority of the population is Mayan.

 

Paula García and Niza Franco are working together with Laura since 2021. They have being capable to coordinate their work to add the magic to every episode.

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